The Good Lie

Mysterious Book Report No. 372

by John Dwaine McKenna

The Good Lie, (ECCO/ Harper Collins, $27.99, 354 pages, ISBN 978-0-06-247539-8) by Tom Rosenstiel, is an electrifying, dark and twisted thriller that could only have been conceived and written by someone who’s intimately familiar with the contentious and Machiavellian deus ex machina that operates behind the scenes in Washington, D.C..  And, what makes it so alarming is that it’s so authentically real.  It could have come from today’s headlines or . .  . it might be next week’s news.

The novel begins with an attack on an American diplomatic complex in North Africa, where a decorated US Army Brigadier General is killed.  The General, who was a highly-regarded and forward-thinking risk-taker, was there on a covert mission of some sort, and his death is quickly followed by rumors and conspiracy theories that become more outrageous by the day.  The White House is assailed by accusations of incompetence and corruption, and the President, worried that he’s being misled, lied to or kept in the dark by his own advisors, turns to an outside consulting firm for answers.  Peter Rena and Randi Brooks are political fixers.  Their firm is apolitical; they work for both sides of the aisle, where he leans right, while she’s more left.  But they’re soon deep into the murky world of foreign intelligence, covert activity and national security.  It’s an environment where lies abound, truth is elusive and war is always just a heartbeat away.  Their back channel investigations convince them there’s a cover-up going on . . . and that’s when the leaks begin, the press blows up with rumors, speculation and allegations.  Congress opens investigative hearings, while venal politicians of every stripe, scratch and claw for advantage, with an eye on the upcoming Presidential election.  The Good Lie is the best-written, spot-on and timely political thriller to come along since Robert Penn Warren wrote All the King’s Men.  If you like well-written and intelligent thrillers that’ll make you think and entertain you at the same time, don’t miss this one . . . it’s the truth and the real-deal, all wrapped up in one!


John Dwaine McKenna