Life is good for Kit Marshall. She’s a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Circumstances back Kit’s claim of innocence, but her photograph has gone viral, and the heat won’t be off until the killer is found. Well-loved though the senator was, suspects abound. Langsford had begun to vote with his conscience, which meant he was often at odds with his party. Not only had the senator decided to quash the ambitions of a major military contractor, but his likely successor is a congressman he trounced in the last election. Then there’s the suspiciously dry-eyed Widow Langsford. Kit’s tabloid infamy horrifies her boyfriend’s upper-crust family, and it could destroy her career. However, she and her free-spirited friend Meg have a more pressing reason to play sleuth. The police are clueless in more ways than one, and Kit worries that the next task on the killer’s agenda will be to end her life.
What does politics, Washington intrigue and an everyone-for-herself outlook on life have in common? They all come together in the suspenseful, thrilling debut novel by Colleen J. Shogan titled Stabbing in the Senate.
You've heard the expression 'stabbed in the back'? Well the first thing Kit sees when she arrives at work one morning is her boss - stabbed in the front - with a small metallic helicopter replica. She's obviously too busy to keep up on her mystery reading, or police procedurals on tv. I wanted to holler at her, "Don't take the helicopter out!" I mean, Congressman Langsford was dead anyway, but if he had not been, most mystery lovers would know that taking the weapon out only makes the bleeding worse.
I give the congressman props for wanting to do the right thing, which is not a common occurrence in our nation's capital. Probably not a lot of that going on after his murder, if that's what people thought you got for trying to do your job. Paraphrasing Mike Douglas in the movie The American President, "I was too busy keeping my job to do my job." That's not good in any field, but dangerous for the rest of us when our 'representatives' represent themselves instead of us.
There's no shortage of suspects. Kit herself, thanks to being found with the murder weapon in her hand (after she extracted it from her boss), the widow - who did not seem to be too upset about her husband's demise and who would rather stay in Washington as a congressman's wife with all the status entailed. The person who most likely would finish out the congressman's term was the very person he obliterated in the election that got him the job in the first place. Oh, and Langford's political party was none too happy with him, because the actions he was planning on taking in Congress were not exactly in tow with the 'party line'.
Luckily for Kit, surveillance in the congressional office building proves she could not have been the one to kill the Congressman. But a phone-snapped picture of her before being interrogated by the police goes viral on the internet, causing her all sorts of embarrassment. They're funny things - the digital age and the internet. The very thing that nearly killed her reputation worked for her when another video taking on a staffer's phone caught her acting like everyone hopes their representatives will act.
It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, but then Ms. Shogan has been a professor and works for the Library of Congress and obviously has some skill
with a pen with a keyboard. Put her book on your shelf or ereader, and her future on your radar.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Colleen J. Shogan is the deputy director of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. She is a former Senate staffer who started reading mysteries at the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American government at George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. Stabbing in the Senate is her first novel.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review. Post may contain affiliate links.)