Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Review: A Time to Run by Barbara Boxer

Personally, I like Senator Boxer but that has nothing to do with my review. Again, it is one of those books that I get sent by the Joe Bob Briggs folks that I don't feel fits the 'thriller/suspense' genre I'm supposed to be reviewing.

Oh, and in case you're wondering I'm rooting for the Detroit Tigers.

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A TIME TO RUN by Barbara Boxer with Mary-Rose Hayes
Published by Chronicle Books; ISBN: 0-8118-5043-9

The first novel by Senator Barbara Boxer is set in a world she knows very well, namely the insider world of Washington, D.C., with the usual suspects. You have the ‘good’ liberal Senator from California, first-timer Ellen Fischer and her staff, up against the ‘evil’ former GOP member whose seat she won, long-time political wheeler-dealer Carl Satcher. This takes place during hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, the ultra-conservative, Frieda Hernandez who just may be the one to swing the Court votes over on a number of issues.

Senator Boxer, aided by Mary-Rose Hayes (who has several romance novels to her credit), certainly knows what it’s like in the nation’s capital, but we can only hope that political decisions there are not made in the fashion described in this book. Frankly, it appears that the authors really wanted to write a straight romance novel about three people who meet in college and become friends. Since there is one gal and two guys it is evident that both men will fall in love and when the lady chooses one guy the other spends the rest of his life trying to win her back. After they got that part down, Boxer & Hayes probably figured that throwing in a bit of politics would help, given the Senator’s name on the cover.

The novel begins in 2001, several months before 9/11 and sets up the plot of Fischer being given documents showing that the Associate Justice nominee may be guilty of child abuse against her own daughter, going back years. It doesn’t take long to discover that the ‘evidence’ may not be all it appears and that the Senator is being set up by old foe Satcher. We then jump back to 1974, where Ellen meets Josh (who would become her husband) and his friend Greg (who would become a muck-racking journalist and eventual cause of Josh’s death), all of whom are attending Berkeley at the same time. The rest of the story weaves through the next several decades following the lives of the three characters until we get back to the current situation.

The story of whether Ellen falls into the trap set by her enemies, or is able to rise above it, sort of disappears while Boxer & Hayes spend most of the book in a Harlequin Romance tale of love & betrayal. Not badly written and actually more interesting than I would have expected, still not the political novel that folks would seem to be looking for given the well-known author.

Two and a half stars.
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