I was excited to get my copy of The Candidate by Paul Harris since I can be quite the political junkie. And reading a book about a presidential campaign during our real presidential campaign seems remarkably fitting, ya know? Make it a political thriller where a presidential nominee deals with an assassination attempt in the first couple of pages and I’m hooked.
While I’d love to dish all the plot goodiness with y’all, I’ll restrain myself to the above mentioned assassination attempt which opens up a can of worms and a dangerous journey to discover the secrets of candidate Jack Hodges’ past, present, and future. You’ll travel throughout the US – Iowa, New Hampshire, D.C., South Carolina and into the bowels of Guatemala. It’s a fast-paced journey to discover just who this murderous woman really is (that’s right – a woman wants the maybe president dead!) and one that I highly recommend.
The characters were fun to read and many seemed very realistically written. I loved the campaign manager, Dee, and campaign lackey, Mike Sweeney. The politics are downright dirty which I suspect is also heavily grounded in reality and something Harris has much real life experience with. And the pacing is pretty spot-on. I read the final 200 pages in a couple of hours. This is a book you’ll sit down with and not get up for quite some time. So make yourself some coffee and prepare for a long night!
But obviously, no book is perfect. I think Harris is a great plot-driven writer and story teller, but he needs a new editor. I know the average reader may not notice some of the sloppiness I did, but getting the characters mixed up more than once is just not good. I also thought that the candidate, Jack Hodges, was way beyond too good to be true. Harris should have really dirtied him up a bit more to make him at least resemble human. And the outcome, the unveiling of all the answers, was so obvious it bordered on cliche. I wasn’t too bothered by this since I enjoyed the journey getting there, but how awesome would it have been to have a truly shocking ending?
I definitely recommend The Candidate to anyone who enjoys a good political thriller and is looking for some fluffy intensity during the next couple of months counting down to the election. The best praise I can give Harris is that I’d definitely read another novel he writes and hope he continues to fine tune his talent.
One lucky reader will get the chance to win their very own copy of The Candidate by clicking here and filling out the form. I will be selecting a winner on Monday October 8th. U.S. and Canada residents only, please.
Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the opportunity to receive a copy of The Candidate in exchange for my honest review. Check out the other book tour blogs here!
PAUL HARRIS is a US Correspondent for The Observer, a British weekly that is the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, and also its sister daily paper The Guardian. He has been based in the US for the past nine years covering all aspects of American political and cultural life from Hollywood stars to Washington politics. He is currently covering his third presidential election having previously reported on George W. Bush versus John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain versus Barack Obama in 2008. His experiences covering those races, especially the epic battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic nomination, were the inspiration for The Candidate.
Prior to his posting in the US, Harris was a journalist based in Britain and Africa. He has covered wars and conflicts in Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, South Africa and Sierra Leone. His first novel, The Secret Keeper, was set in Sierra Leone against the backdrop of that country’s brutal civil war. He lives in New York (but fantasizes about living in France).