Political Fiction overbooked.com

Fiction about politics & government.

Annotations are used by permission from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine.

Current Canidates:

  • The Burying Field: Danny Chaisson
    Author: Abel, Kenneth
    Publisher: Putnam $ 26.95 ISBN: 0399147969 Date: 2002
    starBooklist
    Abel returns to Louisiana politics with a mystery that pits the Old South against the new, as a racist crime drags up a murder that is 30-years-old, involving a few powerful men who have an interest in keeping it secret. With compelling characters and dead-on dialogue, The Burying Field is an enthralling crime novel.
    Suggested Reading: Cold Cases
    Updated 3/26/02
  • Cold Steel Rain
    Author: Abel, Kenneth
    Publisher: Putnam $ 24.95 ISBN: 0399146628 Date: 2001
    starBooklist
    A gripping mystery set in New Orleans features an idealistic attorney reduced to political gopher who's set up to take the fall--posthumously--to ward off a breaking political scandal.
    Updated 8/18/00
  • Politically Inspired
    Author: Elliot, Stephen (ed)
    Publisher: Macadam Cage $ 21/13 ISBN: 1931561583/1931561451 Date: 2003
    starKirkus
    An anthology of original short fiction inspired by the news and current events. Includes stories by twenty authors, including Stewart O'Nan, Charles Baxter, ZZ Packer and Anthony Swofford.
    Updated 8.25.03
  • Potomac Fever
    Author: Horrock, Harry
    Publisher: Little Brown Price: $ 24 ISBN: 0316354724 Date: 1999
    starPW
    A high-powered thriller set in Washington, D.C., features a pair of cops in a fiendishly clever plot that involves everything from kinky sex to shady real estate development.
  • The Tyrant's Novel
    Author: Keneally, Thoams
    Publisher: Delacorte $ 25 ISBN: 0385511469 Date: 2004
    starKirkus starPW
    In a work that evokes the classic cautionary tale Fahrenheit 451, Keneally masters the gripping perspective of a man caught between the unconscionable demands of his government and the meager prospect of running for his life.
    Updated 5.24.04
  • The Incumbent: A Washington Thriller
    Author: McGrory, Brian
    Publisher: Pocket $ 24.95 ISBN: 0743403509 Date: 2001
    starPW
    In the bestselling tradition of Absolute Power and The Tenth Justice, a veteran Washington press insider delivers a timely, gripping first novel about an attempt on the president's life 12 days before the election.
    Updated 8/7/00
  • Going Postal: A Novel of Discworld
    Author: Pratchett, Terry
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060013133 Date: 2004
    starPW
    The newest entry in Pratchett's internationally bestselling series is a splendid send-up of government, the postal system, and everything that lies in between.
    Updated 9.6.04
  • Balance of Power
    Author: Patterson, Richard North
    Publisher: Ballantine $ 27.95 ISBN: 0345450175 Date: 2003
    starKirkus
    The #1 New York Times bestselling author confronts one of America's most emotional and divisive issues--gun violence--in this novel of politics, law, and power.
    Suggested Reading: Legal Stars
    Updated 7.28.03
  • The Confirmation
    Author: Powers, Thomas
    Publisher: Knopf $ 25.95 ISBN: 0375400206 Date: 2000
    starPW starLJ
    This novel about the power brokers in Washington D.C. revolves around a nominee for CIA director who is forced to confront a dangerous secret from this past. Among those caught up in the ordeal are an idealistic CIA analyst, an old bull of the Senate, an unprincipled investigative reporter, and two disgruntled war veterans.
    Updated 7/20/00
  • Mark of the Assassin
    Author: Silva, Daniel
    Publisher: Villard List Price: $ 25 ISBN: 0679455639 Date: 1998
    starKirkus
    From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy comes a contemporary Washington-based thriller set in a new arena; the White House. Silva, a veteran newspaper and television reporter, puts his insider's knowledge of the nation's capitol to powerful effect, as he spins an all-too plausible and frightening tale of a president targeted for destruction by a cabal of business executives.
  • Number 10
    Author: Townsend, Sue
    Publisher: Soho $ 24 ISBN: 1569473498 Date: 2003
    starKirkus
    In Townsend's riotously funny new novel, Edward Clare, prime minister of England, has a problem. For five years, since his landslide election, he has been universally viewed as the perfect leader and representative of the working man. But then something happens that turns the public against him.
    Suggested Reading: Humorous Fiction
    Updated 9.08.03
  • Citizen Vince
    Author: Walter, Jess
    Publisher: Regan $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060394412 Date: 2004
    starKirkus
    From a highly acclaimed young novelist comes a story of witness protection, petty thievery, local politics and murder set against the turbulent backdrop of the 1980 presidential election.
    Updated 8.25.04
  • Put a Lid on It
    Author: Westlake, Donald
    Publisher: Mysterious $ 23.95 ISBN:0892967188 Date: 2002
    starBooklist
    The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The Ax and The Hook is back in rare form as he introduces Meehan, a character who keeps the lid from blowing off Washington politics.
    Updated 3/14/02

Recent candidates:

Gideon by Russell Andrews
Writer Carl Granville is hired to turn old diary pages, articles, and letters--in which all proper names and locations have been blacked out--into compelling fiction. For this task, and for his sworn silence, he will be paid $250,000. But as his work progresses, Granville realizes that Gideon's book is more than just a potential bestseller.

Saving Faith by David Baldacci
In this of suspense, the bestselling author of The Simple Truth and Absolute Power presents a thrilling tale of Washington influence peddling, CIA turncoats, and uncover schemes.

Deep Background by David Corn
Getting to the truth behind a presidential assassination, aide Nick Addis faces a decision that imperils his own future - and that of the nation. "A page-turning thriller from first word to last."-- Jim Lehrer.

Smokeout by V. S. Date
A tobacco bill has been introduced into the Florida legislature, on its passage rests the livelihoods - and in some cases - the lives - of many of the state's finest denizens. Soon, ruthless executives, venal politicians, sexy lobbyists - and a few honest citizens - reach critical mass in this novel filled with razor-sharp characterizations and pinpoint observations. - Publisher marketing.

Big Government by Ev Ehrlich
In the spirit of Wag the Dog, and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, a former Clinton Administration official pens an uproarious and wicked satire of the American political process.

If Men Were Angels by Reed Karaim
A searching and powerfully written novel about a dark-horse presidential candidate who seems to be the answer to the hopes of the American voters. Is he, perhaps, too good to be true?

Holding Out by Anne O. Faulk
Updating the story of Lysistrata - who persuaded the women of Athens to withhold sex from their husbands to end a war - Anne O. Faulk has written a headline-grabbing tale for the '90's that strikes at the heart of male-female relations. Clever, informative, timely, sexy, and romantic, Holding Out will have people talking.

The Abduction by James Grippando
The bestselling author of The Informant and The Pardon is at his best in this thrilling portrait of die-hard politics when a young girl's kidnapping leads to the unearthing of a network of lies, blackmail, and betrayal.

A Firing Offense by David Ignatious
What's the worst mistake a journalist could make? Acclaimed novelist and award-winning journalist David Ignatius has written an authentic news thriller about a reporter who dances too closely with his sources at the CIA.

The Woody by Peter Leftcourt
The most outrageous, inside-Washington satire since Primary Colors, "The Woody shows just how hard it is to run for office. It has my vote" (James Carville).

Purple Dots by Jim Leher
Following the enormous success of his bestselling novel White Widow, Lehrer's new book is a funny, savvy, irreverent political mystery about power plays and favor swapping at the highest levels of government.

Spin by Tom Lowe
Gulf War vet Jim Asher gets a crash course in politics - and life - when he decides to join the Senate campaign of a California business magnate, in this steamy debut novel which mixes an exhilarating cocktail of sex, money, and high-stakes Republican powerbrokers.

Lucky Bastard by Charles McCarry
The break-out book by one of America's best political novelists. John Fitzgerald Adams, the bastard son of President Kennedy, runs for president with the help of political friends, in this darkly entertaining study of sex and power.

No Safe Place by Richard North Patterson
It is the year 2000, and youthful Senator Kerry Kilcannon is surprising everyone with his showing in the presidential primaries. But California will be the most important and most meaningful race: twelve years ago, Kerry's older brother was assassinated in California during his own run for the presidency.

The Confirmation by Thomas Powers
This novel about the power brokers in Washington D.C. revolves around a nominee for CIA director who is forced to confront a dangerous secret from this past. Among those caught up in the ordeal are an idealistic CIA analyst, an old bull of the Senate, an unprincipled investigative reporter, and two disgruntled war veterans.

Scandalmonger by William Safire
Exploding any notion that political sex scandal is a recent phenomenon, our press-hounded Founding Fathers star in an outrageous - and fact-based - novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. Safire demonstrates how media intrusiveness into private lives and politicians' manipulation of the press are as old as the Constitution in this entertaining and thought-provoking historical novel. Illustrations throughout.

An American Killing by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith
A smart-mouthed, fast-paced tale of marriage, murder, and double-dealing in the bestselling tradition of Olivia Goldsmith. When her lover - a high-profile D.C. insider - dies under mysterious circumstances, after urging her to look into an old murder case in his home district, Denise Burke soon fears she may next on the hit list.

Presidential Deal by Les Standiford
Called "the unassailable new kingpin of the south Florida crime novel" (James Ellroy), Standiford shows how richly he deserves such praise in his most intricate, white-knuckled thriller yet, in which reluctant hero John Deal gets kidnapped - along with the First Lady.

Face-Time by Erik Tarloff
A gripping, undeniably plausible novel of a top White House aide whose girlfriend is having an affair with his boss, the president of the United States - and who refuses to give up this once-in-a-lifetime "privilege".

Mackeral By Moonlight by William F. Weld
Combining suspense and a hilarious inside view of American politics, Mackerel by Moonlight tells the story of a disgraced D.A. who gets bitten by the political bug, and, just as he is on the brink of election to the Senate, takes drastic action against those who would stand in his way.

 

Incumbents from previous years:

Absolute Power by David Baldacci
Set in Washington, D.C., this fascinating thriller of unparalleled suspense dares to explore the unthinkable abuse of power and criminal conspiracy - a vicious murder involving the president, his mistress, and a coverup orchestrated by his zealously loyal chief of staff and the Secret Service. Unbeknownst to the president and his lackeys, one unlikely witness saw everything.

Father's Day by John Calvin Batchelor
In 2003, President Ted Jay has invoked the 25th Amendment to the Constitution - Presidential vacancy, disability and inability - temporarily transfering power to his Vice President, T.E. (Shy) Garland. But five months later, when the Chief Executive attempts to reclaim the reins of power, Garland refuses to step aside, setting in motion a bloody and ruthless plot that will tear America in two.

American Hero by Larry Beinhart
Impassioned in its anger, lethal in its aim, American Hero paints a scathing portrait of the strange place this country had become in the Reagan-Bush years - and shows how only Hollywood could have taken full advantage of the demise of the Old World Order. The film Wag the Dog was based on American Hero.

Prime Candidate by Gordon Cotler
Jock Caprisi, until recently a columnist for a sleazy New York tabloid, has signed on to a job he's much more comfortable with - media consultant to the highly respected liberal senator form New York, Morton Beaufoy. Beaufoy is being challenged in the primary by a reprehensible congressman, but the prediction is that the senator will easily win the nomination for what he plans to be his final term. That's until a honey blonde Beaufoy admits to knowing is found dead in his garaged automobile - stabbed in a manner that defies explanation.

The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion
Creating a "menacing world where the reader is held hostage" (Los Angeles Times), the legendary author of Slouching Toward Bethlehem now trains her eye on the far frontiers of the Monroe Doctrine, where history dissolves into conspiracy - Dallas, 1963; Iran Contra in 1984 - and fashions a moral thriller as hypnotic and provocative as any by Joseph Conrad or Graham Greene.

A Thing of State, Advise and Consent, Preserve and Protect by Allen Drury
Classic political novels from the man who practically invented the genre.

Sounding the Waters by James Glickman
This impressive first novel calls to mind All the King's Men - tales of private drama played out in the public arena. Through the eyes of characters who are absorbing, complex, and all to human, we see a telling picture of an election campaign in which all politics are not only local, but personal.

Good as Gold by Joseph Heller
Hailed as "one of the important books of our generation" by the Chicago Sun Times, this hilarious story of middle-aged English professor Dr. Bruce Gold and his encounter with White House politics takes readers into the heart of the Jewish experience in contemporary America.

Echo House by Ward S. Just
An epic chronicle of American political fortunes, Ward Just's 12th novel is his masterpiece, realized through the minds and pulses of men and women who strive to save the nation - or themselves. Echo House takes readers through a maze of furtive power alliances and misalliances, involving two dozen characters from one Washington, D.C. family, over nine decades of history.

Primary Colors by Joe Klein
A brilliant and penetrating look behind the scenes of modern American politics, Primary Colors is a funny, wise, and dramatic story with characters and events that resemble some familiar, real-life figures. When a former congressional aide becomes part of the staff of the governor of a small Southern state, he watches in horror, admiration, and amazement, as the governor mixes calculation and sincerity in his not- so-above-board campaign for the presidency.

Deadspin by Gregory Michael MacGregor
High-powered litigator Christopher Lang has the case of a lifetime - a lawsuit against tycoon and presidential contender Russell Lindstrom, the man who designed the recreational jet, the Stormtree. The problem is that the plane has a fatal tendency to go into a deadspin. In the wrong hands, it is guaranteed to crash and burn. Believing he can nail a man like Lindstrom in the courtroom, Lang has no idea that he himself is a pawn in a larger battle, a fight with implications for national security.

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O' Brien
The author of The Things They Carried offers a riveting novel of love and mystery. When long-hidden secrets about the atrocities he committed in Vietnam come to light, a candidate for the U.S. Senate retreats with his wife to a lakeside cabin in northern Minnesota. Within days of their arrival, his wife mysteriously vanishes into the watery wilderness.

Happy Endings by Sally Quinn
The acclaimed author of Regrets Only returns to the place she knows best - Washington, D.C.'s dazzling arena of power, politics and passion - to write a story that only and insider could tell. A former first lady and a dynamic reporter cross paths with a dashing journalist and a pioneering AIDS researcher in a sizzling tale of sex and scandal among Washington's elite.

 

And, of course:

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
Victories by George V. Higgins
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey
The Election by Tom Perrotta (high school politics, but still...)
Full Disclosure by William Saffire
Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

Also: FictionL Reading List - Political Fiction (1996)

Seeing Stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

2012 Lists

more stars lists...

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

 

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