Capital Crimes by Lawrence Sanders

 

Suspense

Capital Crimes Capital CrimesLawrence Sanders; Berkley 2000WorldCat

The U.S. President’s young son has hemophilia. Nothing has worked on the boy and he is weakening. The President and his wife are worried about the boy. So the President’s work is suffering because of his personal stress. Then they hear about Brother Kristof, a faith healer south in the Virginia farmland. The First Lady, desperate, approaches the “preacher”. When he meets them at Camp David, the “Miracle of Camp David” occurs and the boy starts getting stronger. The President is so impressed that Brother Kristof is brought into Washington to be near the boy. Soon Brother Kristof is able to give the President political advice from a religious point of view.

John Tollinger is Chief Aide to the Chief of Staff, Henry Folsom. The two men can see a schism coming. Many members of the party will not stand for the combination of religion and politics. Many American voters won’t, either. They try to minimize the damage.

When Tollinger has Brother Kristof investigated, their misgivings deepen. This holy man preaches that he is Christ’s brother and that no one sins – especially in their feelings or sexually. While in Washington, Brother Kristoff has multiple personal visits from numerous women, including Tollinger’s ex-wife. His two “assistants” fare no better and are obviously there to please him. The Vice-President resigns to take on the next presidential run himself. The mid-term elections bring a large hit to the party balance in Congress. Something has to be done about Brother Kristoff and his influence in the White House.

This is the first Lawrence Sanders novel I can recall reading (that doesn’t mean I haven’t 20 years in the past…) and was pulled in by the man’s writing. I found the President unbelievably naive for a man in such a high position and that women fell into Brother Kristoff’s bed much too easily (including some slightly vulgar descriptions). Brother Kristoff himself is a crass character who is the perfect picture of the “Christian” who is in the religion racket for the money and prestige rather than true belief. Tollinger’s solution of the problem was unusual and, again, unbelievable. Yet Sander’s writing kept me reading for a while. The end, by then predictable, fell flat.

Will I read more of Sander’s work? More than likely, but I’m not going out of my way to find any of his numerous novels. I have heard good things about his work. Would I recommend Capital Crimes? Probably not as a place to start. There are many suspense novels out there that will not only keep the reader’s attention, but satisfy at the end as well. Capital Crimes catches half of that formula for part of the novel.

Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations

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