Alan Russell has written noir private detective novels, comedic crime fiction, an outstanding police procedural, a fascinating psychological thriller and a thriller from the world of entertainment. He now takes a turn at a political thriller.
Political Suicide features private investigator Will Travis, a different kind of "hotel detective". With his near photgraphic memory, Travis evaluates restaurants and hotels, reporting on service issues and employee theft or neglect to his clients. During one of these evaluations he witnesses a man slipping something into his woman companion's drink. Travis rescues the woman, Claire Harrington, inserting himself into a twisted plot of suicide/murder and presedential politics.
One of Russell's hallmarks is to educate his readers on any number of subjects. In past novels he has written about teaching ASL to gorillas, papparazzi, fencing as a true blood sport, redwoods and environmentalism, and any number of other topics. In this book, Russell takes us into the closed world of a military academy, West Point, as well as dueling.
Will Travis, who can trace his family tree back to Colonel Travis of Alamo fame, leaves West Point because of a violation of the honor code. His life has been one of always seeking redemption and forgiveness. A rich, complex character.
This book is a fast read. Entertaining, tightly plotted, with a cast of strong characters. As to the tree...well, I'll let discover that one for yourself.