MYSTERY

The Big Lie

Harper. (Jack Swyteck, Bk. 16). Feb. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780062915047. $27.99. THRILLER
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When Democratic presidential candidate Evan Stahl wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College by five votes, he refuses to concede. Since the Electoral College votes six weeks after the popular election, he hopes to persuade five electors to change their vote, their ability to do so open to varying legal interpretations. Florida elector Charlotte Holmes is the first to declare herself a “faithless elector” and switch from Republican incumbent Malcolm MacLeod to Stahl, unleashing a smear campaign from MacLeod as well as a hearing to determine Holmes’s fitness as an elector. She hires Jack Swyteck to defend her at the hearing, which is rife with innuendo, supposition, and fake news. When she fatally shoots a belligerent man threatening a friend, the stakes become higher. Throughout, MacLeod pressures the prosecuting attorney to get Holmes declared unfit by any means necessary and tweets up a storm.
VERDICT This 16th Swyteck political thriller (after The Girl in the Glass Box) parallels the current political climate with a tweet-happy president and a system in which a majority popular vote no longer means a win. A ruthless candidate might use this engrossing and scary book as a how-to manual. [See Prepub Alert, 7/29/19.]

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