Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Book Review & Giveaway: Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano.

Product details:
Publisher: ECW Press.
Paperback, 325 pages.
Release date: September 1st 2010.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: Adult.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

After the mayor falls down dead in the middle of a speech, a clandestine student society claims credit for his demise.

Clare Vengel is given her first undercover assignment: to pose as a student and penetrate the society. A streetwise amateur mechanic, Clare finds university a foreign land, and has trouble creating an in with the suspects. She quickly alienates a popular professor and loses the respect of police superiors.

When another politician is killed, Clare kicks herself into high gear. She forges friendships with students and makes inroads into the secret society.

As the body count rises, Clare realizes that the murderer she has to unmask is someone she has come to consider a friend. She only hopes that the friend doesn't unmask her first.

You might not know this, but along with my often documented obsession with reading about secret societies and universities, I also love a good murder mystery. With Robin Spano’s debut novel combining all of these elements, I knew this would be my kind of book. This is a fast-paced, sassy debut that will both entertain and intrigue. I loved Robin’s writing style, and the characters she created. Let’s just say I became a fan of Clare Vengel pretty early on.

That’s not to say that Clare is entirely perfect. In fact, she’s far from it. She’s an undercover cop and her first assignment is to infiltrate a prestigious secret society of students suspected of murdering some high-profile politicians. Clare settles into University life pretty well, although her early classes can be a problem due to her almost constant hangovers. Clare is not a good girl. To say that she has an edge is an understatement, and I am not going to even mention how far this girl will go to gain evidence for her undercover assignment. Clare is a complex character for sure.  She’s a cop with a chip on her shoulder and at times she seems to have a problem with authority, which makes for some interesting reading. She’s fun, she breaks the rules, and she has a complicated love life that I just loved reading about.

Robin Spano uses a multi-person viewpoint to tell the story here. Along with this the book contains a vast cast of secondary characters, and I admit that this did confuse me at first. I think this is a tricky style to get right, and it doesn’t always work. In fact, I’ve read books where this style falls flat on it’s face mainly due to a lack of contrast in tone between narrators.  However, Robin Spano  excels at this style, and it’s quite a talent. As I read on, I got to know the characters, and each had quite a distinctive personality and voice.  Also, even though I am not all that interested in reading about politics, I found the subject matter here to be appealing and very topical.  Despite the serious subject matter though, this is a quick, fun read. It’s not steeped in political jargon, and the prose flows at an exciting pace.

As an avid murder mystery fan, I will admit that I figured out the culprit here pretty early on, but with numerous plot twists throughout the book, Spano definitely kept me second guessing myself. I would recommend this one as it’s an accomplished debut with an entertaining storyline and a great heroine to boot. I know that Robin is already planning the next book in the series, which will see hard-drinking, chain-smoking Clare undercover as a trust fund princess.  Now this is going to be one funny read.  I can’t wait to check it out! 

To be in with a chance to win a copy of Dead Politician Society!

-Just leave a (meaningful) comment on this review. 
Competition closed! Winner announced soon!

      *Competition is open internationally and ends November 23rd.
      ** If you want to leave a comment but don't want to be entered to win the book, just let me know!


      1. I like tough women, but I don't like politics. It sounds like a great mystery, though. and the cover is brilliant!

        How nice that the giveaway is international. Thanks.

        Judith - jh303015 at gmail dot com

      2. I do love me a good mystery, but I have to say, I'm a little over the female cop with-a-chip-in-the-shoulder. I suppose it's such a fight -- within and without -- that female cops might really be that cynical/bitter but I feel like it's a trope. However, it sounds from your review it wasn't just shorthand for character development.

        Thanks for the giveaway!

      3. I like mysteries, and it sounds like this one has some interesting characters. I would love to read it.

      4. ooh! I love mysteries!How come I never heard of this book?!! Thanks a lot for the review!
        I would love to enter.

      5. I am a follower and email subscriber. I love mysteries and suspense to. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

      6. I enjoy a good "fish out of water" story and it sounds fun for a bad-girl cop to try to fit in with snooty uni students. Count me in!

      7. Hi! This sounds like a fun book to read. I like books that make you wonder if certain characters will catch on to what's really going on with other people or events. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

      8. I love mysteries and would love to read this book!

      9. See, I don't mind if I can spot the killer right away - as long as the plot twists keep it interesting. That being said - this looks awesome - so please enter me in the contest! Thanks! :)

        (I also left a comment on the interview page, thanks!)

      10. It sounds like a good thriller although the chance in the heroine from being almost useless to splving things sounds a bit far fetched.

        Still te author is a new one and I would like to see what she has dome with the characters.

        Please enter me in the giveaway.

        Thanks you.

        Carol T

        buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

      11. I am not a huge fan of murder mystery..but I do love Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly series and its that way. so I bet this will be good. just gotta give things a chance right?
        enter me up for the contest!

      12. this sounds very interesting. I do love mysteries. thanks.

        lauren51990 at aol dot com

      13. I like the idea of students rebelling against authority, but seriously, murdering them? Sounds interesting, I wanna try this one out. :)

      14. Thanks so much Leanna, and everyone for commenting. A cool news item this week: I got to meet the mayor who inspired the novel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jupKRUwOrAc

      15. @Robin -- So pleased to hear that -- I voted for you! Can't wait to watch the vid!

      16. +JMJ+

        Ooooh! I love detective stories that involve the hero going undercover in a student society. It has something to do with my own school days, when I didn't fit in with the cool kids. =P The detective, of course, is the real "cool kid," and so with these stories you get the best of both worlds, aye? =)

        On the other hand, this society isn't just there to be cool. They seem to have a sinister place in the world . . . and that sounds even better!

        It's also good to hear that in the next book Clare will be undercover as a trust fund princess. LOL!!! Too funny, really. This does sound like a series worth trying.

        Please enter me in the giveaway, Leanna. Thanks!

      17. Great review. I enjoy a good mystery too. Honestly the cover doesn't speak to me but it sounds like a great read.

        BookNoise @ gmail.com

      18. @Robin - That's very cool! I voted for you too! :)

      19. Ha ha! Thanks for helping me win, Audra and Leanna. It was totally the retweeting kindness of strangers (or if not strangers, people I have yet to meet in real life) who helped me pull into the lead in the last 5 minutes! Gripping cyber drama.

      20. I do enjoy a good story , and if the main character is undercover ..the better :)


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