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Second District, by Jerry Banks

1 rating: 3.0
1 review about Second District, by Jerry Banks

Making politics interesting!

  • Dec 16, 2010

“Something is rotten in the state of Oregon,” says the back blurb on Jerry Banks’ novel Second District. Since I live in said state, I was definitely intrigued. The story is set in the 1960s, back in the days of walk-in rather than mail-in votes, when politicians in DC were polite and welcoming, and when a corrupt Oregon congressman might have had many chances to force things to go his own way. Unfortunately I suspect corrupt politicians might still have their chances; I have to confess in the earlier part of the book I found myself more annoyed than interested in the tale. That was before I realized just how good Barry O’Shea was at his job—a sensible lawyer with a calm and logical mind and the knowledge to match. Then the pages flew and I was glued to them to the end of the tale.

Hollywood actor Arch Sinclair falls in love with the Oregon countryside so he buys a run-down ranch and prepares to build it up. The scenery is evocative, and the details of business transactions and paperwork are clearly and believably drawn. But trouble looms when the Bureau of Land Management assigns grazing rights to Congressman Justin Yarbrough, refusing Arch’s attempt at renewal.

Soon Arch is challenging his neighbor in a run for Congress. The details of his campaign ring very true, from early newspaper ads to threatened disaster and accusations of mob affiliation. It’s a testament to how well the author portrays these characters that I almost stopped reading, feeling so annoyed that the system could be so misused. But Barry O’Shea wins through for Arch and I found myself suddenly caught up in the excitement of a possible win. Of course, the system is misused again, and each page has me wondering how problems will be solved. The author keeps the tension tight right up to the final page, fine drama and suspense in the civil court.

The system does work, and so does this tale. Despite my earlier doubts, I really enjoyed it. Kudos to Jerry Banks for making civil law so thoroughly exciting.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

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