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While in the throes of the US presidential election, what better way to “escape” all the mud slinging, the pundit commentary, and the sometimes tired, sometimes scary rhetoric, than by reading a story about—what else?—a presidential campaign. Anyone who has read Tracey Richardson’s first installment about then first-time Vice-Presidential candidate Jane Kincaid (The Candidate) will love The Campaign (Bella Books), about Jane’s second-term run alongside President Dennis Collins. If you haven’t read the first offering, don’t be concerned. The Campaign stands on its own with the relationship between Jane and her Secret Service agent wife already well established during the first story.
As The Campaign opens, Jane’s run for the Democratic ticket of Collins-Kincaid is well underway. The nomination is a sure thing for the unchallenged incumbents. In this installment, Richardson introduces us to another member of the small but close-knit Kincaid family. Jane’s sister Corey, who was previously ensconced in a teaching position in Paris, France, has now returned to the US to become a senior advisor to her VP sister. Also introduced is someone from Alex’s past, when Julia Landen is assigned to the press corps for the current campaign. Julia is an old flame of Alex’s. Even though the relationship has been over for years, no one is happy about Julia’s addition to the media contingent. Even Jane’s sister and campaign manager wants to know what Julia’s motives are for accepting the assignment. Julia swears she’s just there to do her job, but her job turns into something more when she receives an anonymous package, exposing a potential problem that could ruin the whole second-term bid for the White House. Then complications abound when Corey finds herself dealing with feelings that could prove to be a big problem in the ethics category.
Some minor characters become proverbial thorns in Jane’s side by trying to take political matters and personal liberties into their own hands. Jane certainly doesn’t need the problems the Governor of California presents, and she takes the near-vindictive political tactics of the rich and powerful as a personal affront. It’s a good thing Jane gets her support from strong, devoted people like her partner, her mother, and an unlikely behind-the-scenes party boss. Otherwise, she might not be up to the daunting task of overcoming the problems she might have to face to get re-elected this time around.
Deviousness, dishonesty, and some hanky-panky abound and, when Jane finds out about it, she is appalled. When the powers in the party suggest a way to counteract all the negative doings, she’s surprised. This could be a whole new turn of events for the intrepid VP and her decision could affect her life, her party, and the entire country.
Richardson gives us strong, yet individual characters in this story and examines how personal principles, desires, and ambitions sometimes clash. Each person has a role to play in the telling of this dramatic story, and some even have a love tale to tell. The Campaign is a timely story, more personal than political, although couched around the events of a potentially muddled campaign. The characters move the story along with ease and turning page after page will be a must.
Live through the awkward moments of Corey’s coming out as the story progresses. Witness the steady, loving emotions of the relationship between Jane and Alex. Struggle through the sometimes awkward, sometimes frustrating relationship that Jane has with President Collins. Join the mystery and try to solve it along with Julia and friends. Discover the bad guys along with the good. Get out your Collins / Kincaid banded straw hat and join The Campaign.
By Tracey Richardson
Paperback, 9781594932823, 247 pp.