FICTION

The Coyotes of Carthage

Ecco: HarperCollins. Apr. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780062951663. $26.99. F
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DEBUT Andre Ross is an African American ex-con–turned–political consultant for a Washington firm specializing in running dark money–funded campaigns for corporate clients. Overly aggressive tactics on his last assignment, which caused the initiative to fail, have put him on the outs with the firm’s founder and his former mentor, and he is given one last chance to redeem himself, running a small-time campaign in rural South Carolina to convince the local population to sell their public lands to mining interests. With a miniscule budget and the founder’s grandson as his only assistant, he recruits a local couple, good-ole-boy Tyler Lee and his devout wife, Chalene, to be the spokespeople for the initiative. They amass the necessary signatures to get the initiative on the ballot and build support among their neighbors while Andre strategizes a campaign to disguise a corporate land grab as a fight for faith, freedom, and family.
VERDICT This is an archly comic and ultimately chilling political novel on the effects of the dark money unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on the American political soul as well as on the souls of individuals. Thoughtful, sharp-edged fare for the upcoming election year. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]

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