As a political reporter I get more than enough federal politics at work and from the nightly news, so my first choice when it comes to sitting back, kicking up my feet and getting into a good book is usually a novel that has nothing to do with Canadian politics.
But when a colleague of mine brought his copy of political reporter Stephen Maher’s book, Deadline, into the office and asked who else wanted to read it, I surprised myself when I volunteered to be next in line to take it home. I didn’t really know what the book was about, just that it was a political thriller, but was encouraged on by my colleague who said it was a real “page-turner.”
Let me tell you, once I got into the plot of political intrigue, sex and attempted murder in Canada’s quiet capital, I was hooked. I looked forward to coming home from work every day for a week so I could find out what happened next to reporter Jack Macdonald as he tried to uncover what happened to his friend and political staffer Ed, who was found one morning floating almost dead in the Ottawa River after one particularly drunken night of debauchery.
There is something fun about reading a story that takes place in the very city you live in, where conversations are set in bars and restaurants you’ve frequented yourself. It makes the story more believable and in turn, draws you into the characters’ lives, as they could very well be people – and possibly politicians, staffers or journalists – you know.
I ran into the author himself at a book launch recently for Shopping for Votes, a non-fiction work by another federal political reporter, Susan Delacourt. I told him his characters were just too juicy and asked him if they were based on any real politicians, staffers or journalists in Ottawa.
But like any good journalist knows, sometimes you have to protect your sources and he wouldn’t divulge to me any hints as to who his characters might be based on.
Maher has done a truly great job of taking his vast knowledge of Canadian federal politics and using it as the backdrop for a great story that’s fun to read.
I would give this book a 3 out of 5 for it’s sheer entertainment value. It’s certainly not one of the best books I’ve ever read and it’s not going to win any literary prizes any time soon, but it’s a fun story with lots of twists and a perfect quick read for any political junkie.
And if you’re like me and you know some die-hard followers of federal politics, here’s a list of a few other political books published this season, and just in time for your holiday shopping!