THE BOOKS

 
THE INNOCENT HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR

 

In this election caper from 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 LAST SEASON

 

Fathers, sons, and sports are enduring themes of American literature. Here, in this fresh and moving account, a son returns to his native South to spend a special autumn with his ninty-five-year-old dad, sharing the unique joys, disappointments, and life lessons of Saturdays with their beloved Ole Miss Rebels.

 

In the fall of 2012, after working on a presidential campaign that suffered a devastating loss, Stuart Stevens, having turned sixty, realized that he and his ninty-five-year-old father had spent little time together for decades. His solution: a season of attending Ole Miss football games together, as they’d done when college football provided a way for his father to guide him through childhood–and to make sense of the troubled South of the time.

 

Now, driving to and from the games, and cheering from the stands, they take stock of their lives as father and son, and as individuals, reminding themselves of their unique, complicated, precious bond. Poignant and full of heart, but also irreverent and often hilarious, The Last Season is a powerful story of parents and children and the importance of taking a backward glance together while you still can.

 
 
The  Big Enchilada

The surprisingly funny, adrenaline-fueled story of the Bush campaign the public never saw—from the Austin coffee shop where Stevens watched Karl Rove sketch out the Republican master plan on a napkin to the small Methodist church in Crawford, Texas, where the blue-jeaned future president prepared for the make-or-break debates that no one expected him to win.

 

Stevens turns the familiar political tale of disillusionment on its head. From the moment he arrived in Austin to join the campaign—"Stevens, get in here and let's bond!" the governor said—he discovered the peculiar pleasure of working with people who not only respected and admired their candidate but actually "liked" him. They faced formidable obstacles, but Texans, as Stevens learned, are a confident bunch, and the Bush crowd remained convinced they would win the biggest prize of all—even on the brink of losing. This is the story of what it was like as only an insider could tell it.

Malaria Dreams

The story begins when a "geologist" friend mentions to Stevens that he has a Land Rover in the Central African Republic which he'd like to get back to Europe. It's only later, when Stevens discovers that half of Africa thinks his friend is a spy and the other half is convinced he's a diamond smuggler, that the intrepid author begins to realize he should have asked a few more questions before leaving home.

 

Malaria Dreams takes readers along on close encounters with killer ants in Cameroon, revolutionary soldiers in the middle of Lake Chad, strangely frenzied Peace Corps parties in Niger, and near disastrous bouts with sickness and automotive malfunctions in the middle of the Sahara. Through it all, Stevens and his ex-fashion model companion battle the odds, and often each other, to return home to tell this unlikely, highly amusing tale.

 
 
Night Train to Turkistan

 

Author Stuart Stevens, accompanied by three American friends, including Mark Salzman who wrote Iron and Silk, retrace explorer and author Peter Fleming's legendary 1935 journey through Chinese Turkistan from capital Beijing to remote, unpopulated Kashgar. In this colorful, simple narrative, the difficulties outweigh the pleasures as the foursome continually battles the bureaucratic nightmare of government control in China, where purchasing train tickets requires the combined skills of a rug merchant, diplomat and spy. They ride crowded, unheated buses that move at a snail's pace along rough roads and planes that fly low, nearly skimming the ground. They find that their hotels do not have basic amenities like running water and working toilets, yet are also witness to and moved by flashes of individualism and rebellion, and by kindness. An aura of romantic adventure buffers the hardships he describes, linking the author and his literary forefather whose footsteps he followed across China.

 
Feeding Frenzy

 

Imagine having a month-long trip to Europe bankrolled for you, the only stipulation being that you must sample meals in every three-star Michelin restaurant on the continent. For Stuart Stevens and his friend Rachel "Rat" Kelly, this could either be a dream come true or cause to be more careful what they wish for. Stuart and Rat love to eat; in fact, their relationship is almost entirely based on their enthusiasm for food and exercise. When Rat's boyfriend, a lawyer, agrees to underwrite the trip as a kind of challenge, the two galloping gourmands find themselves doing 29 restaurants in 29 days to fulfill their end of the bargain. Feeding Frenzy is an account of their travels--and their meals.

 

Driving across Europe in a 1965 Ford Mustang ordered sight unseen especially for their excursion, Stuart and Rat--accompanied by an adopted golden retriever named Henry--masticate their way from England to Italy via three-star restaurants in France, Germany, Belgium, and Monaco.

 
Scorched Earth: A Political Love Story

 

From Publishers Weekly:

 

Ribald political satire and a mocking use of standard suspense themes like sibling rivalry, lust and the battle between the sexes distinguish this first novel from sometime travel-writer Stevens (Night Train to Turkistan; Malaria Dreams). Matt Bonney, a prominent political consultant, has agreed to mastermind a colorful Southern governor's campaign to represent his state in the U.S. Senate. Complications arise, however, when Matt's brother, Luke, a member of the House of Representatives, declares that he too will run for the seat. The brothers face off, leaving Matt's wife, Lisa, who's also a congressperson, and the brothers' father, a former governor, caught in the middle. Employing an iridescent supporting cast of political professionals and journalists, Stevens skillfully lampoons the lifestyles of politicians, professional campaigners and camp followers. Since he never indicates to which parties his characters belong, or to what ideologies they hew, their lack of all conviction appears absolute. Meanwhile, the deep South where the race takes place remains anonymous, enabling the author to create an orginal amalgam of Southern quirks and customs.

FOLLOW ME

  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic

© 2015 LC Senecal. lcsenecal@gmail.com