The secret: Skip and skim.
At the same time, Robinson weaves an engrossing tale of a small town councilman, Richard Thompson, who aspires to the congressional seat in Kentucky's 4th district; fending off corrupt politicians along the way.
The young congressional hopeful learns the ropes at the hands of his mentor, an elderly senator, but ultimately, uses that rope to hang him.
The public sees front page articles on politics daily. But Robinson reveals the policy battles that rage beneath the headlines and beneath the sheets. For better or worse, the earnest young candidate cavorts with his sarcastic sidekick, a political humorist, thorough the urban side streets and suburban byways. Suddenly, life on the steamy summer streets of Washington and Newport take on a new meaning, becoming both human and understandable.
The strains that the protagonist's position puts on his marriage and the ethical dilemmas raised by his conflicted loyalties, as well as the seductiveness of power, make the novel more than just a good bedtime read. The graphic passages of seduction and domination with the red-headed stripper he calls "Honey," let the reader know Rick Robinson has been there. He has fathered!
Anyone who has served at the highest-levels of northern Kentucky politics will recognize much of their own experience woven into the book. And Robinson names names! Several character's names are anagrams of a real life politicos; thus a careful reading reveals secret predilections that Gary Moore, Jim Hamberg, Ruth Eger, Jim Bunning, Pat Crowley and Roxanne Qualls would have preferred remained secret.
The tensions between diplomacy and "hard power" play out in the bedrooms of Burlington and Ludlow, where "maximum contribution" takes on a completely new meaning.
Righteous by day, hungry by night, Robinson describes political entanglements with hyper campaign manager, Michael Griffith, and the gun-toting union officials, that cross party lines, lines of cocaine, and suspect line-ups.
I can't wait to actually read this book.
In Robinson's soon-to-be released first book, "The Maximum Contribution,'' the protagonist, Thompson, finds himself running for the 4th District seat, as well as fending off corrupt politicians and gun-toting union officials, and trying to explain how he wound up in bed with a red-headed stripper.
And then there are the pork chops, evident in chapter 49, when Thompson dines with a friend:
"Thompson turned and faced the man behind the bar. 'Jimmy, send over the regular.' Jimmy Gilliece and his wife Pati were the owners of Chez Nora and he didn't even have to take their order. It was always the same. Both men judged a restaurant on the quality of its pork chops, and Chez Nora served up the best pork chop in town, a thick cut presented on a bed of mashed potatoes and covered in a warm mango salsa."
O'Rourke and Robinson met 18 years ago when Robinson was working on Capitol Hill and O'Rourke was in town working on a book on government that would eventually become "Parliament of Whores."