THE INNOCENT HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR

 

In this election caper from Stuart Stevens, a leading political operative and commentator, a cynical campaign manager finds his family skeletons coming out of the closet on the eve of the convention.

Summer in New Orleans: It's hot and sticky and JD Callahan is fighting the campaign of his life. His candidate, the sitting vice president, is neck and neck with an anti-immigrant, right-wing populist as the Republicans head into their first brokered convention in decades. Callahan, a New Orleans native without much affection for his hometown, is frantically trying to coordinate the convention and round up delegates when his estranged brother shows up, asks for an inconvenient favor, and threatens to reveal embarrassing family secrets if JD says no. Soon after, a series of bombs sets off a mass panic and tilts the convention toward the vice president's law-and-order opponent. As JD scrambles to contain the damage, he finds himself contending with a sexy, gun-toting local gossip columnist, an FBI agent convinced that JD is cynical enough to set the bombs himself, and a host of family secrets.

The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear is a hilarious, sharply entertaining whodunit and a knowing satire of our political culture--the perfect summer read for everyone who says he's sick to death of the 2016 campaign, but can't stop reading about it.

PRAISE FOR STUART STEVENS' THE INNOCENT HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR.

"That title may be the biggest of this satiric thriller's red herrings, since, as far as this book is concerned, there are no innocents in the political process. A charismatic right-wing Republican populist with a hectoring anti-immigrant riff is running for president, and the only person who can slow his roll is a woman moderate with ties to the outgoing administration. No, this book is not about the 2016 presidential campaign. But the fact that even these aspects of the novel are in sync with current events validates its author's credentials as a cagey veteran political operative. That description applies to crafty, cynical J.D. Callahan, who normally would find a million reasons to avoid going back home to New Orleans except that it happens to be the site of a wide-open GOP convention pitting his candidate, incumbent Vice President Hilda Smith, against Colorado Gov. Armstrong George, who's running on a platform powered by anti-terror paranoia as exemplified by what J.D. characterizes as "the crazy train of his wacky New Bill of Rights." These and other characterizations are as quirky as J.D.'s rueful, acerbic commentaries, which make up the best part of this fast-paced carnival of bile, guile, and blow-ups. In an era as politically mercurial as our own, even the most far-fetched events depicted here sound utterly plausible-except for maybe one thing: moderate Republicans? Really? What are those?."   Kirkus Reviews

 

"Stuart Stevens—author, pundit, sage, and true Renaissance man—has one of the savviest, shrewdest minds in the politics-media game, and he’s put it to excellent use in The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear. The story of J.D. Callahan, a canny presidential campaign operative grappling with personal and professional crises smack in the middle of a brokered convention, is vivid, fresh, and funny. The characters are nuanced, the dialogue zings, and the bracing breeze of authenticity gusts from every page. Callahan is a deeply likable and engaging protagonist. Stevens knows a heck of a lot about a lot of things—politics, the press, T.V., D.C., New Orleans, love, lust, ambition, family ties, and the pressures and promises of the world’s most powerful job. It all comes together in this terrific book. Smart, crafty, spot-on timely, entirely refreshing and hugely entertaining,The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear is a great read and a total winner."    Mark Halperin

 

"Stuart Stevens is that rare authorial animal: a political novelist who actually understands politics, who appreciates how the ambition to run the country both shapes and warps character, and who can lay it all down on the page with verve and aplomb. Gimlet-eyed, mordantly funny, and staggeringly well-timed, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear is the perfect fictional echo of the savage surreality playing out in real time on the national stage.     John Heilemann

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