Fiction Tom Lowe Spin: A Novel

ISBN 13 : 9780671019242

Spin: A Novel

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9780671019242: Spin: A Novel

Book by Lowe Tom

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Extrait :

Chapter One
I had just returned from a summer in Europe and had no idea what the hell I was going to do with my life. After four years on my own, with little to show for it, I was back living with my parents. But with Disneyland ten minutes away, Hollywood just up the 405, and the waves pounding the shore right off our porch, Newport Beach was my kind of town -- larger than life, self-mythologizing.
I came in from the beach one weekday afternoon and hosed off my surfboard. My mom was reading on our back porch.
"How's the water, sweetheart?" she asked.
"A little chilly," I said. "Nothing like the Mediterranean in June." I draped a towel over my shoulders, sat down at the patio table, and poured myself an iced tea. "Why are you home from work so early, Mom?"
"I had a parent conference this afternoon. One of my kids is having some emotional problems; he's been kicking other students."
"Fun."
My mom was a counsellor for severely handicapped kids at the local high school. I had worked as an aide in her classroom when I went there. Of course, she always gave me great recommendations. I loved my mom more than anyone; she seemed perfect in all respects.
"Have you given any more thought to what we were talking about?" she asked.
"Yeah, I guess. I mean, I like kids, and being a teacher sounds pretty good, but there's no money in it."
"Well, that's true. But, Jim, you wouldn't have to do it forever. I could help you get your credentials in about two months, and then you could just teach until you decide what you really want to do. You'd have your summers off."
"I guess. I'm still thinking about it. But I don't wanna live at home forever. I need to make some real money, so I can get out on my own."
"You know you're welcome here as long as you need a place, sweetheart. Another thing is, a lot of politicians get their start by teaching, if you're still thinking about that for a career. Mayor Preston was a teacher for ten years before he ran for the city council. I'll bet the mayor would even let you volunteer in his office during your summer breaks. That could be your foot in the door."
"I'll think about it. Thanks, Mom."
I walked inside and sat down to watch TV with my brother, Jake.
"So, what's up for this weekend, bro?" he asked.
"There's a big party Friday, down on Forty-second. I heard they're getting two kegs. I don't know what's up Saturday. I'm getting kinda sick of the same old parties, though -- same chicks, same brawls, same stupid conversations."
Jake nodded. He was a sophomore in college, so he was still in full party mode -- every Friday and Saturday night, every weekend, guaranteed. But to me the weekends had all been blurring together lately. Sometimes it felt like I was just going through the motions, acting out the role expected of me, waiting for something real to happen in my life.
"Hey, wanna go backpacking next weekend?" Jake asked. "Hit the Sierras?"
"Maybe. Let me see what's going on with all these job applications. I'm pretty much broke. My ATM is more like a slot machine these days. I put my card in and I have absolutely no idea what's gonna come out. I'm always like, 'Come on, baby, twenty for daddy!'"
Jake smiled. "That's why we should go now, before you get stuck working."
"True. A few days trekking through Yosemite does sound pretty good."
I kicked my feet up on the coffee table, dusting its top with sand from the beach. I leaned back and relinquished my brain to the television, ready to burn away a few hours. Just then, a clever political ad came on for Edward Winston, labeling his opponent, California Senator Dana Steadfield, as "the liberal Democrat who loves to spend your money."
I was a political junkie, so I always kept up with everything in politics, but my time in Europe had put me slightly out of the loop. "Who is this Edward Winston guy?" I asked Jake.
"He's some rich guy running for the Senate. He has like four hundred million dollars. He's been destroying Senator Steadfield with these attack ads all summer. I think she's starting to slip in the polls."
"Good. It's about time someone stepped up to the plate. Steadfield is such a big, liberal bitch. I'd love to see her get booted out of Washington."
"Dude, you'd be amazed at all the ads Winston is running. You can't even turn on the TV without seeing one. I heard he's gonna spend whatever it takes to win."
Now that would be a cool place to work. I walked into my bedroom and dialed information.
"Hello, what city, please?" the operator asked.
"Uh...I don't know," I said.
"What listing, please?"
"Winston Senate campaign."
"Hold, please..." A few seconds passed. "I don't have anything for that."
"Okay, give me the Republican Party's phone number in Orange County."
"Hold, please..."
I called the GOP headquarters and got the address for the Winston campaign office in Santa Ana, only ten minutes away. I threw on some cheap slacks with suspenders and a tie -- I wanted to look like Michael Douglas in Wall Street -- and drove to Santa Ana. I was feeling spontaneous. What did I have to lose?
Once I found the correct address, I parked my Ford Probe and strolled up to the three-story building, which looked like any other mirrored office complex. I went through the lobby and up to the third floor. My heart was pumping. An engraved gold plaque on the door read: EDWARD WINSTON, US SENATE. When I walked through the door, I saw all kinds of commotion -- everyone was running around talking to at least two or three people at the same time; dozens of fax machines were whizzing and screaming; a camera crew from Channel 4 was setting up to interview someone; and the beautiful young receptionist was staring at me, as if to say, Do you have any idea what you're getting into?
After sitting around for an hour, I was shuffled into the volunteer coordinator's office. He was a short guy named Ted. Pictures of Ronald Reaganwallpapered his office. I was very nervous as I sat down.
"So," he said, "the receptionist tells me you want to volunteer, huh?"
"Well, actually, I'm looking for a job."
"We don't hire people off the streets. Um, that's not to say you're a street person...uh...how did you hear about the campaign?"
"I saw one of those ads you're running on TV."
He grinned. "Pretty awesome, aren't they. Did you see the illegal alien one?"
"No. I saw the 'Democrat who loves to spend your money' one."
He laughed out loud. "That one's great! God, do I love that one!"
He had me smiling. This Ted guy, sitting there in his Ralph Lauren shirt, flanked by images of Reagan, was the real deal: a big-shot political player. But at the same time, I was keenly aware that I could do his job better than him. Not to brag, because there are extreme downsides to being a highly intelligent and lucid thinker -- Dostoyevsky called it a curse -- but since my earliest memories, I had always been aware of my abilities, and I always believed that if I was given a fair chance, in any situation, I could excel past everyone.
"Well," Ted said, glancing down at my résumé, "Jim...Well, Jim, it says here you were in the army."
"Four years."
"You're a Persian Gulf veteran, eh?"
"Yep."
"Well, you guys did a great job over there, I gotta tell you. I used to stay up all night watching CNN. Amazing. So, anyway, what other campaigns have you worked, Jim?"
"Actually, this will be my first. But I've been into politics ever since I can remember. In fact, when I was a kid, I would always skip Voltron or Tom & Jerry to catch Brinkley or Face the Nation. My neighborhood buddies thought it was a little strange."
"I know what you're saying. Great. And I see you have an English degree. Where do you picture yourself ten years from now, Jim?"
"Probably in the White House."
"What, as president?"
"No, no. I'm not exactly sure; maybe a spokesman. I've just always wanted to work in politics, especially at the White House."
"We have several people on this campaign who've worked at the White House."
"Really?"
"Really. So, Jim, why are you a Republican?"
"Well, my parents are Republicans. I've always been a Republican. I grew up here in Orange County. I hate high taxes, gun control, illegal immigration, welfare..." Not very eloquent so far.
"What do your parents do?"
"My pop works for UPS and my mom's a schoolteacher."
"That's respectable. Well, you seem bright. I think our issues director, John Griggs, could use some help. Are you interested in that?"
"Sure," I said, not really knowing what an issues director was.
Ted led me through the bustling hallways like a safari guide. The campaign took up the entire third floor. "That's Jeff," he said, pointing to a short, nerdy guy. "He does Edward's and Mariella's scheduling."
"Who is Mariella?" I asked.
"You don't know Mariella?"
"No."
"You will," he grinned. "She's the candidate's wife."
"Oh."
Ted pointed out everyone along the way. There were advance people, media people, field people, mail people, advertising people. Everyone looked at me when I walked by. Not friendly, not mean. Yet not too busy to stare.
"Where is the main campaign headquarters?" I asked.
"This is it, buddy. You're in the eye of the storm here."
Wow, I thought. This was exactly the opportunity I had been waiting for.
We found our way to the issues office. The place was a wreck, with newspapers, coffee cups, three-ring binders -- there was shit everywhere. Sitting behind the desk was a man in his late twenties, moderately good-looking, about six three, built like a football player a few years after playing football, with messy hair and a friendly smile.
"John Griggs," Ted said to him. "This is Jim Asher. He wants to volunteer."
I trampled across the cluttered floor and shook John's hand. He had a pen behind each ear, hundreds of highlighted books and magazine articles scattered on his desk, and a purple juice stain on his shirt.
"Nice to meet you," I said nervously.
"Hey," he said. "How's it going."
Ted seemed eager to get back to his work. "You guys hang out and get to know each other. John here does all the issues and some of the speech writing for Mr. Winston. Come see me before you leave, okay, Jim?" Then Ted was gone.
"So," John said. "You want to do issues?"
"Sure."
"Good. I can really use the help. This campaign is kind of crazy. The candidate is spending millions of dollars, but you'll notice that things are a bit disorganized. Sometimes the elbow isn't talking to the hand, if you know what I mean."
I nodded. I didn't know if now was the time to ask, but I did anyway. "Is this a paying job?"
"Um, I don't think so." He paused. "But let me give you some advice. A smart guy once told me this, and one year later I was working at the White House -- "
"You worked at the White House?"
"Three years, for Bush."
"What did you do?"
"I was in the White House communications office. I wrote the president's news summary every morning."
"So you must have worked under Marlin Fitzwater, then?"
"That's right," John said. He looked pleasantly surprised that I should know such a thing. "So, anyway, here's the advice: make yourself useful and you'll make yourself indispensable."
"Who told you that?"
"Bill Bennett."
"Impressive. So, when do I start?"
"Six o'clock tomorrow morning," he said. "I'll start you out going through newspapers, searching for clips. You'll cut out and photocopy any article about this campaign, or any issues that might be relevant -- crime, welfare, illegal immigration, whatever. It's not that difficult, just time-consuming. And who knows, if you work hard and show up on time every day, they might even hire you to do the clips full-time."
"That'd be great. Thanks a lot, Mr. Griggs. I'll be here at six."
"Just call me John."
I drove home singing. I felt high and full of energy. It wasn't a paying job, but it was a foot in the door, and I knew that was all I needed. The 55 freeway was bumper to bumper with traffic. Some asshole in a Lexus cut into my lane, but I didn't even flip him off. Normally, when someone snaked me on the freeway, I would dream of hanging out through my sunroof with a rocket launcher. I would push the trigger, and the rocket would streak through the air and slam into their trunk, tearing through the sheet metal, then ripping through the backseat before the secondary charge exploded and turned the entire luxury car into a two-ton fragmentation grenade, blasting the discourteous driver into hundreds of flying scraps...but not today. No. Instead, I smiled and turned up the radio. I had something new and exciting in my life.
When I got home I told my mom about the campaign and everything I'd seen.
"That's great, Jim. How much does it pay?" she asked.
"Nothing at first. It's kind of a volunteer thing for now. But if I work hard, my new boss, this guy named John Griggs, who worked at the White House, said they might hire me full-time. And then, who knows..."
"That's terrific, sweetheart. Your father and I figured you'd probably find your way into politics sooner or later. Why don't you call him at work and tell him the good news."
"It's not that big a deal, Mom. I'll just wait till he gets home."
"Well, I'm proud of you."
"Thanks. I think I'm gonna hit the mall and start reading some newspapers and magazines. I need to get up to speed on politics if I'm gonna be a big wheeler-dealer."
My mom smiled.
"By the way, could you spot me a twenty until I can pay you back? My car's out of gas."
"Sure." She got her purse and gave me the money. "Just add it to the tab. You can pay me back when you're rich and famous."
"Thanks, Mom." I hated asking, but I was flat broke.
***
Fast-forward a month to a Thursday night in Hollywood. I was now working full-time for the Winston campaign. The candidate's lovely and ambitious wife, Mariella, had moved m...

Revue de presse :

U.S. News & World Report Get ready for a Republican Primary Colors.

Los Angeles Daily News An absolute thermonuclear bombshell! Tom Lowe has written a sizzling, humorous, sometimes dark and deeply disturbing portrait of American politics and culture. This novel could certainly rock the country.

George magazine Sex Conservative Style: Republicans, take cover.

New York Post The glitter of the political machine is as fascinating as it is revolting -- and the heady, booze-and-cash fueled rush of Asher's rise to stardom, and fall from it, is mesmerizing.

Los Angeles Times The political realm is abuzz over Spin. Tom Lowe paints a frenetic view of political campaigns bulging with egos, cash, and compromises....The thrill ride along the way is a universal rush.

Kirkus Reviews [A] delightfully trashy morality tale....[A] frothy, sex- and caffeine-fueled how-to exceed-in-politics adventure...[with an] ingenious antihero....and clever jabs at high-living conservatives that charms and scandalizes with disarming ease.

Chicago Tribune Jim Asher is a postmodern Great Gatsby, naive at heart, wending his way toward political status in California politics. And the book asks a serious question: Can one play the political game and remain honest?

Los Angeles Daily News Spin's Jim Asher is Jerry Maguire meets Dirk Diggler of Boogie Nights, and from the first page, he won't loosen his frantic grip on you.

The London Times Tom Lowe is preparing himself for instant celebrity status.... Spin is certain to amaze.

Denver Post [A] political potboiler.

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Description du livre SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2000. Paperback. État : New. Revised ed.. 232 x 155 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Plunging into California politics armed with a lethal tongue and a taste for power, Gulf War veteran Jim Asher lands a plum role in Republican Edward Winston s bare-knuckle Senate campaign. Learning spin control from the master -- Bud Raper, the crude hired gun who catapulted both Reagan and Bush into the Oval office -- Jim quickly becomes the hottest new political consultant west of the Washington Beltway, an Armani-clad Machiavelli who snaps up the perks of a six-figure salary and illicit liaisons with everyone from loyal party girls to roving celebrity reporters. Through it all, Jim keeps his eyes on the ultimate prize -- Washington. But when the stakes of the game are raised, Jim comes face-to-face with an unexpected nemesis: his own conscience. With more than one shark prowling the waters, Jim is forced to risk everything -- a choice that threatens to trigger a political shakedown of epic proportions. An unforgettable chronicle of political seduction, Spin is a whip-smart look at a world of thrilling excess, raw power, and utter ruthlessness -- laying bare the American democratic process in action, and in the flesh. N° de réf. du libraire AAV9780671019242

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Description du livre SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2000. Paperback. État : New. Revised ed.. 232 x 155 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Plunging into California politics armed with a lethal tongue and a taste for power, Gulf War veteran Jim Asher lands a plum role in Republican Edward Winston s bare-knuckle Senate campaign. Learning spin control from the master -- Bud Raper, the crude hired gun who catapulted both Reagan and Bush into the Oval office -- Jim quickly becomes the hottest new political consultant west of the Washington Beltway, an Armani-clad Machiavelli who snaps up the perks of a six-figure salary and illicit liaisons with everyone from loyal party girls to roving celebrity reporters. Through it all, Jim keeps his eyes on the ultimate prize -- Washington. But when the stakes of the game are raised, Jim comes face-to-face with an unexpected nemesis: his own conscience. With more than one shark prowling the waters, Jim is forced to risk everything -- a choice that threatens to trigger a political shakedown of epic proportions. An unforgettable chronicle of political seduction, Spin is a whip-smart look at a world of thrilling excess, raw power, and utter ruthlessness -- laying bare the American democratic process in action, and in the flesh. N° de réf. du libraire AAV9780671019242

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Description du livre Gallery Books. Paperback. État : New. Paperback. 304 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 0.8in.Plunging into California politics armed with a lethal tongue and a taste for power, Gulf War veteran Jim Asher lands a plum role in Republican Edward Winstons bare-knuckle Senate campaign. Learning spin control from the master -- Bud Raper, the crude hired gun who catapulted both Reagan and Bush into the Oval office -- Jim quickly becomes the hottest new political consultant west of the Washington Beltway, an Armani-clad Machiavelli who snaps up the perks of a six-figure salary and illicit liaisons with everyone from loyal party girls to roving celebrity reporters. Through it all, Jim keeps his eyes on the ultimate prize -- Washington. But when the stakes of the game are raised, Jim comes face-to-face with an unexpected nemesis: his own conscience. With more than one shark prowling the waters, Jim is forced to risk everything -- a choice that threatens to trigger a political shakedown of epic proportions. An unforgettable chronicle of political seduction, Spin is a whip-smart look at a world of thrilling excess, raw power, and utter ruthlessness -- laying bare the American democratic process in action, and in the flesh. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. N° de réf. du libraire 9780671019242

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