Synopses & Reviews
Sharp elbows, professional mischief, and ribald double-talk abound in this novel about the mad scrambles and the inglorious ends that enthrall our nation's capital.
It is Washington in the autumn of 1987, a tranquil time in America. As the Reagan era ends -- and prospects appear bright for a Dukakis administration -- the lawyers, publicists, strategists, and lobbyists of the city are making plans for the year ahead. Among them is a cast of players whose fortunes prove to be intertwined in unexpected and not always pleasant ways.
Charlie Dingleman, a former congressman, finds himself pursued by an increasingly unsavory rumor, while Judith Grust, an associate at Charlie's law firm and the source of this rumor, has a few dark secrets of her own. Hank Morriday, who feels trapped inside a think tank, keeps trying to finish a book on social policy in which he's lost interest, and Candy Romulade, a public relations executive paralyzed by her meager client list, is losing heart. Then there is Reynolds Mund, a veteran local anchorman, who has formed some very peculiar theories about the news business.
On the eve of a new administration, their hilariously savage ambitions and reversals of fortune test the idea that there's no such thing as bad publicity. The result is a pitch-perfect, often poignant, novel in the classic Swiftian mold.
"Publicity is a nefarious look at the barbaric underworld of D.C. politics and the egos that are forever clashing. And although not every plot point is wrapped up, Frank's Wolfe-ish wit will keep you wanting more." Nicholas Thomas, USA Today
"The novel is broad satire in the Christopher Buckley vein, with a loopy story line featuring plenty of misunderstandings and near misses. Desperate people behaving desperately in other words, a whole lot of fun." David Pitt, Booklist
"Once again, Frank portrays Washington as a handful of power brokers circled by an enormous population of opportunistic has-beens and never-will-bes. That rings true, but none of the main characters are strong enough or bad enough to give the picture real bite." Publishers Weekly
"[W]ickedly funny....Though his tale runs out of steam as completely as the Dukakis campaign toward the end, the delight Frank takes in skewering his crafty nincompoops is infectious, evergreen." Kirkus Reviews
"[Frank's] prose is spare and vivid, with scarcely a wasted syllable; every sentence has a pop to it....The gears of his plot engage with a well-honed click." Andrew Ferguson, The Washington Post Book World
"Frank makes frightening points about the toxic side effects of political life in the nation's capital. Released in an election year, this satiric tour de force should enliven collections of political fiction..." Library Journal
Frank's last novel, The Columnist, was called "A lusty, witty novel of Washington" by Newsweek. This is his latest story of what makes news and why there is no bad PR.
About the Author
is a senior editor at The New Yorker
and is the author of The Columnist.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Diana.