Verdict: THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE is a lively and entertaining thriller which manages to engage disturbing political issues without losing its vigorous energy or falling prey to unthinking partisanship.
A journalist finds evidence of possible election fraud in this taut political thriller.
Jack Sharpe was startled when his old friend and Congressman, Lee Kelly, unexpectedly lost a race he was expected to win, in an even-more-unexpected Republican sweep. He was even more disturbed when Kelly died suddenly in a car accident. But then he gets evidence that Kelly’s death might not have been an accident after all. Before his death, Kelly had found information suggesting that the election might have been stolen by the use of fraudulent voting machines – leading Sharpe to what might be the story of his life, with terrifying implications for American democracy. But can he prove the theft, find out who was behind it, and figure out what they were after, before he ends up sharing Kelly’s fate?
THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE is a carefully-crafted thriller, a cat and mouse game between a determined, gutsy hero and a clever, manipulative villain. The book plays on fears many citizens have after the 2000 elections and their aftermath, but manages to keep partisan vitriol out of what is normally a very partisan topic, to a truly impressive but not unrealistic degree. The opening paragraphs are beautifully written and designed to draw attention and interest into the story. The villain’s identity is not hidden – the book alternates between his perspective and the hero’s – but the book still maintains its suspense and unexpected twists nonetheless. And while there is a clear villain – or two – and a clear hero here, the book does not make the mistake of ignoring moral ambiguity or of giving too easy and pat a victory to the hero. There are some remaining questions left hanging at the end, some ethical judgments which are left not entirely made by the book – and that makes the story more realistic, if perhaps less satisfying. Some parts of the tale are less believable than others, but on the whole the book holds up very well.
THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE is a lively and entertaining thriller which manages to engage disturbing political issues without losing its vigorous energy or falling prey to unthinking partisanship.