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The Incumbent

McGrory, Brian

190 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0743403509 / ISBN 13: 9780743403504
Published by Pocket Books, New York, 2000
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Brazos Bend Books, IOBA (Houston, TX, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing of first edition. Near Fine in a Very Good+ dust jacket. Inscibed "To Paul (no last name)", and signed by the author. Production crease on front paste-down. DJ a little frayed at top front corner with some crinkling overall along top edge. Bookseller Inventory # 36224

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Incumbent

Publisher: Pocket Books, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


For Jack Flynn, Washington correspondent for the Boston Record, it's a chance for the type of exclusive story about which most reporters can only dream: a round of golf with President Clayton Hutchins just days before he stands in front of voters in what has been the closest race for the White House in decades.
But events on the links take a surprising turn. On the tenth tee, the president, confident of renewing his mandate, offers Jack the job of press secretary in his new administration. Minutes later, shots are fired. The president is wounded. Jack is caught in the hail of bullets. And the gunman lies dead nearby, taken out by the Secret Service.
As he recuperates in the hospital, Jack receives an anonymous telephone call about the shooting, warning him that "nothing is as it seems."
Using his considerable journalistic skills, Jack sets forth on an investigation that takes him from a remote militia compound in Idaho to the inner sanctums of the federal government - and which forces him to face a devastating personal tragedy he has been unable to confront for a year. Along the way, with his bosses at the newspaper hounding him for daily scoops, the White House urging him to accept the president's job offer, and a fetching female FBI agent breathing down his neck, his anonymous source continues to contact him with new clues - and new warnings.
But just as he seems to be getting close to the truth, Jack Flynn unwittingly becomes front-page news himself.


Author Brian McGrory's experience as a veteran in Washington journalism ought to serve him well in this insider's take on presidential politics, which has been thoughtfully timed for pre-election publication. The premise is a good one: an assassination attempt just days before Clayton Hutchins faces his first national race for the White House, witnessed by a reporter who's been invited to join the campaign as press secretary. But there are too many holes in the back story to make this thriller credible, as McGrory should know. The plot turns on a secret any self-respecting reporter would have tumbled to at the time Hutchins, a self-made millionaire who was elected governor of a Midwestern state in a last-minute landslide, was appointed to replace a vice president who died in office. It strains credulity that by the time Hutchins ascends to the presidency (just a few weeks before the election, when the incumbent also dies in office) that his entire life has not been so thoroughly scrutinized that there are no skeletons left in his closet.

A warning by an anonymous caller that "nothing is as it seems" sets reporter Jack Flynn on the trail of the truth, a trail that takes him first to a militia compound in Idaho and then to a workingman's bar in Boston before he realizes that the answers are hidden much closer to home. The flaws in the plot are even more glaring considering the paeans to investigative journalism and its heroes with which McGrory seasons his narrative. It wouldn't have taken Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein 10 minutes of telephone research to conclude what the author requires three-quarters of a novel to figure out. But in an election year when the candidates compete to see who can put the voters to sleep first, The Incumbent may whet the appetites of a few political junkies. --Jane Adams

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