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Drawing on his experience as a high-profile media consultant, first-time author Ellis spins a potent political thriller that deftly conveys the superficiality and shrewdness of life on Capitol Hill. When renowned image-maker Frank Miles is hired to wage a no-holds-barred advertising blitz for Mel Merdock, a senatorial candidate with deep pockets and few morals, Frank's primary concern is to win the race, even if his client isn't the best man for the job. Three weeks prior to election day, Frank's longtime business partner and friend, Woody, is murdered during what appears to be a botched robbery. Unable to shake the feeling that Woody's death was no accident and aware of the considerable enemies his sometimes sleazy media schemes have earned him, Frank does some investigating of his own and uncovers a shocking trail of corruption that leads all the way to the White House. Ellis writes in crisp, punchy prose, mirrored by the novel's short, sound bite-like chapters, which are skillfully woven to form an absorbing narrative. A side story involving a romance between Frank and an associate is a pleasing touch, and Ellis's painstaking attention to character development, pacing and detail will ensure that this hard-hitting debut will leave conspiracy buffs hungering for more.
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