Sampler: Political Dirty Trick by James R. Callan

Review: It reads like a fast-paced James Patterson cliffhanger.

Not a political book. But a tense, suspense novel, played out during an election campaign.

Crystal Moore’s good friend Ron Drake is running for governor of Texas. Polls show he has 70 percent of the votes.

But, fake news begins pouring out, and with two weeks left before election day, his numbers are now below his opponent’s.

Only Crystal believes that an art theft at Ron’s house is related to the election.

She begins to search for clues which might tie the theft and a dead man to a political dirty trick and the fake news.

She finds the first clue, and quickly she is attacked and almost killed. But a pair of red boots changes everything.

Two more attacks land her in the hospital.

It looks like Ron may lose the election.

And Crystal may lose her life.

“Powerful in its characterization, plot, and narrative interactions, Political Dirty Trick is the item of choice for thriller readers who like their stories steeped in realistic scenarios and possibilities.” From a review by Midwest Book Review Senior Reviewer Diane Donovan.

James R. Callan

Sampler: Political Dirty Trick

She crept into the room, a mere shadow. No sound. No trace of her presence. The small flashlight she pulled from her pocket produced only a slight glow, hardly noticeable from across the room, invisible from outside. But it revealed the major objects in the room: a desk, two chairs. And the Mondrian. She studied the painting for a moment. Why would anyone pay big bucks for this nonsense? Given a canvas, a paint pallet and a bottle of vodka, I could produce a similar one in an hour or two. Would anyone pay me three hundred thou for it? Not a chance.

No one was in the house, yet she moved with care to lift the painting off the wall. Lighter than she expected and only about two feet square. She turned and glided out of the room. Except for the missing painting, nothing had been disturbed, not even the dust. She made her way down the short hall and into the kitchen, headed out the way she came in.

She froze.

A noise, ever so slight, came from the back door. A key slipped into a lock.

The owner, at a campaign rally, shouldn’t be home for another hour. Light flooded the entry room and she heard footsteps coming toward the kitchen, toward her. The room was still dark, but her eyes had become accustomed to the low light. Her mind raced as fast as her heartbeat. She started forward, then stopped. Back toward the study would leave her exposed in the hall.

The only other exit was a door on her left. She opened it. A pantry. She slipped in, and eased it shut just as the kitchen lit up.

The person walked as if familiar with the house, confident of the surroundings. Leather soles. Heavy. Probably a man. He hesitated. She held her breath. What if he opened this door? Her flashlight was too small for a weapon. The muscles in her body tightened like a boa constrictor.

The person moved on, headed down the hall. She waited, mentally counting off the number of seconds she had taken to reach the office. Please let him go into the living room.

She waited ten seconds, eased open the door. Light spilled from the study. She stepped out of the pantry, picture in hand. Before she could close the pantry door, she heard leather shoes pivot on hardwood floors. Now the steps had more purpose, as the man started back. She looked at the lights and the distance to the back door and took the only safe route: back into the pantry. She had just closed the door when the man reentered the kitchen.

The bright lights had destroyed her night vision and now she could see nothing. But she could hear. The man stopped, and began punching numbers into a telephone.

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