Monday, April 27, 2015

Sequel to Murder on False River - Political Treason - by Martha Gabour Manuel... A Conclusion or Setup for More?!

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Political Treason is an interesting followup title to Manuel's previous novel, Murder on False River. Of course, it really isn't if you've read the first book, since it definitely took readers deep into the political arena, as does the sequel. 

The way the second book ended, however, I wasn't quite sure whether or not this really was an ending to the savvy  Senator Savannah Devereaux and her family... you'll see why when you learn what happens.

And speaking of family, it is her stepson who is shot in this second book, although thankfully he survives after critical care at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center... The shooting was cause for high visibility since there had not been a shooting in the Capitol since Governor Huey P. Long had been shot... It is rumored that this latest incident had the ghost of Governor Long roaming the halls of the building...

Political Treason

By Martha Gabour Manuel

You might say that Dylan had been exactly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Through an oversight by an employee, an important envelope had been left in a conference room; but just as he was going back to retrieve it, it had been stolen and the thief was fleeing. Although he chased after, by that time, the thief was coming out a door and ran directly into Dylan, shooting him before Dylan even realized what was happening...

While all the attention was on getting Dylan to the hospital, rushing him into surgery, contacting Senator Devereaux and all other needed activities, another man named Sydney Fairchild had been traveling in his RV to meet a trusted
friend and contact. He was just about to turn onto the Audubon Bridge when he was hit by a huge truck and also rushed to the same hospital. Travis, his contact, had been waiting, anxious to know what new information Sydney would be sharing, only to later learn it had been completely destroyed in the fire that also destroyed the RV...

All five men ordered drinks. They they began
looking over the menus while Patti left to fill
their orders.
The band of men had been formed many years
ago. Each member that was invited into their
elite circle was discussed at great length and
chosen only after much deliberation and soul-
searching...Senator Lansing was the first man
to speak. From his take charge attitude he
appeared to be the ringleader. He was by far
the oldest...
I thought we agreed that there would be no
violence in any actions that we undertook...
What happened..."
That's, plus the fact that I'd
like to know how the word got out about the
envelope," stated a third man. "Everyone's
talking about it. The only good thing is that at
least we got the envelope before it got to the
governor."
"Well, yes and no..."
"I have the envelope we got from our two
messengers. You can look for yourself and see
the information we recovered that we were
led to believe was being forwarded to the
governor."
"It means that someone is on to us," said
Senator Lansing.
"What do you mean?" questioned the fifth man.
"There's nothing but blank paper in the
envelope. What was supposed to be in it?"
"I hate to admit it, but it's very possible we
have an informant either in our group, or
someone that has access to what we are doing...
!!!
Emile sat quietly by himself in an office down the hall from where Dylan had been shot...His mind started retracing the day's events...
The special meeting called by the governor's staff for the press corps earlier in the day had been a highly contentious one, and consequently kept Emile working later than usual. Throughout the State of Louisiana, the news media had once again latched on to the continuing saga of the Bayou Corne Sinkhole. It was the first reported failure of a brine cavern sidewall, which made its collapse unprecedented.
At the end of the press conference different members of the governor's staff had him running paperwork back and forth and delivering messages. Still, that was no excuse for leaving highly confidential information unguarded on a table in the conference room...
He knew the meeting had been necessary, but it was a difficult meeting for him to sit through...Many people, including some of Emile's family and friends, had been forced to evacuate their homes almost two years ago. 
Regardless of all his other attributes, Emile's most valuable asset to the office was the fact that he never questioned authority...
"At first I though I just didn't understand how the system works," Emile confessed to Rose. "From the beginning there have been things going on that bothered me. I didn't want to call you, because the walls in the capitol have ears. Somehow or another they know everything you say or do. When I first started working in the governor's office, I was told that I had to have a private email account. That was in case anyone needed to send me information that they didn't want the general public to know about. They said that everything that is sent through regular email is a matter of public record that the press can have access to. I told them I understood, although I'm not sure I really do.
Since I have been in the governor's office, I have started seeing multiple contracts being given out to close friends of the governor and his staff. They were contracts that should have been on.
Often when contracts were about to expire, the individuals who were responsible for the contracts suddenly left their contracted jobs and were moved into top level government positions...I can't even begin to tell you about the cover-ups that I've seen go on in state government in just the short time that I've been there.
Somehow, word has gotten out about a few of the contracts that have been given out illegally. I'm beginning to wonder if they may think that that's my fault too, since it looks like the leaks have started since I was hired."
"Oh, Emile, that's horrible. Sure they can possibly think it was you have was responsible for telling anybody."
"I didn't think so at first, but now I'm not so sure. I don't know what to do
Rose. They longer I'm there, the deeper I'm getting involved...
~~~

Savannah and Dana had become close and she spent as much time as possible at the hospital while he was recovering.  At the same time, we get into an interesting subplot when the other man who had entered at the same time, Syndey, is taken to a retirement home and develops friendships with another older man and a young male employee. What these three get into certainly adds a bit of fun and warm feelings as they grow closer to each other. Part of a climatic ending, one of them shows just how much they meant to him...

One mystery slowly evolved as it was realized that key people in government were dying--usually through some type of accident. Savannah was shocked when one of them was a good friend, Senator Tom Bickman. But it got worse, when she learned what they were saying...

"I guess you know what they're saying," Ruth Anne came back.
"No what?" asked Savannah somewhat confused.
"The talk is that he was on his way back to Baton rouge after the Easter holidays. He stopped at a store in Marksville to get coffee and got shot by a man trying to rob the store. He died before they could get him to the hospital."
"Oh yes, I know that."
"But that's not all. They say it was a setup," Ruth Anne continued.
"What?"! a horrified Savannah exclaimed.
"That's true," said Shirley. "You know he had that legislation he wanted passed to ban those bath salts. That's gotten to be a big business around here. I know for a fact there were some people that were really mad at him for that."
~~~

And now she was wondering if whether Dylan's being shot was also a setup...

Perhaps even what had happened to her was a followup to her husband's accident... Or was it just two criminals who were trying to prevent her from testifying against them... Well no matter what, she was going to make sure nothing stopped her from putting those men behind bars!




While a later twist was not too surprising, it did pull the whole story together, while at the same time, Savannah had an opportunity to take a cruise and had a wonderful time! And with this hint, I'm closing with a high recommendation...


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About the Author



Martha Manuel retired from state civil service in 2007 to run for state senator. While unsuccessful in her bid for office, the experience offered her an opportunity to view the electoral process firsthand. Martha's eminence as a registered representative with a major Wall Street investment firm; director of the EBR Parish Health Unit; and executive director of the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs only highlight a few of the varied and coveted positions she has held, adding an unusual degree of credibility to her stories. Martha Manuel is also the author of Murder on False River.