The Solomon Scandals by David Rothman

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Love the gritty depictions of Washington power players in the stellar House of Cards series?

Then you might also check out the The Solomon Scandals. Like so much of the series, as well as the classic novel All the King’s Men, Scandals is about the conflict between friendship and duty

The Solomon Scandals mixes tragedy, suspense and satire in an unblinking look at at life in Washington and its Northern Virginia suburbs. A President blackmails and corrupts. A building may fall. A Latin-American dictator launders his money with help from the D.C. elite. Spies and journalists court each other in a moral or not-so-moral mist, and lines can blur between the two occupations.

Although on the surface a fast-paced beach read or airplane book, The Solomon Scandals has plenty lurking below. The author, a columnist for the Georgetown Dish, grew up on the outer fringes of the D.C. elite (a future Watergater lived almost next door), and Scandals offers the nuances and passion you would expect from a Washington-area native.

The Seymour Solomon in the title is a massive ex-bricklayer with two fingertips missing. He leases acres and acres of office space to the federal government. Tens of thousands of bureaucrats work in his buildings. An immigrant's son, Solomon has managed to break into the highest reaches of Washington society, not so coincidentally befriending his share of politicians, judges and building inspectors.

Jonathan Stone, the reporter protagonist, discovers that Solomon has stinted on construction of the huge Vulture's Point complex on the Potomac River. In researching the story, Stone is aided by Margo Danialson, a spirited young medieval studies graduate trapped within the bureaucracy Solomon has bought off. By the end of the book, thanks in part to Margo, not just the scandals, Stone is a different person.

During the investigation, Stone must struggle with resistance from his editors and even his own father, who works for a PR and lobbying firm representing a bank that has financed Solomon's projects.

So does Vulture's Point collapse with IRS and CIA workers inside, and what comes to light about it and the people involved? Does George McWilliams, the top editor at Jon's paper, have any connection with the building, beyond his friendship with Solomon? And how closely is the romantic life of Wendy Blevin (the much-loved, much hated gossip columnist) linked to the related scandals?

If you're familiar at all with Washington and its ways, you'll nod at the observations in Scandals.

This D.C. is not the mystical city--of white stone monuments and secret ceremonies--that one reviewer saw in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Instead it is the city of lawyers and lobbyists, strategically targeted campaign gifts and other "practical" concerns.

At the same time, Scandals offers hope in a funny afterword different from anything else you are likely to read in Washington fiction.

About David Rothman

See more books from this Author
Published January 15, 2009 by Twilight Times Books. 266 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction

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