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The next president
Flynn, Joseph.
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Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
356 pages ; 25 cm
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Joseph Flynn's critically acclaimed novel Digger was a People magazine Page-Turner of the Week and was hailed by The Denver Post as being "as clever as...any John Grisham work." Now, with The Next President , he has set a new benchmark for suspense. This is no simple cat-and-mouse story, but a nonstop thriller in which you'll never guess who's the cat and who's the mouse until the shattering conclusion.

J. D. Cade was trained to kill by his country. To kill without leaving the slightest suspicion as to who pulled the trigger. He did his duty and put the past behind him. Or so he thought. Now someone is blackmailing him to use his deadly skills one more time. Someone is using his only son as a pawn to force him to do what he swore he'd never do again: kill a human being. And this time the target is Franklin Delano Rawley-the first African-American on the verge of becoming the president of the United States.

As J. D. penetrates the inner circle of the Rawley campaign and gets to know the man he must kill, the more he realizes how difficult it will be to pull the trigger. But in order to spare Rawley's life while saving his own son, J. D. must somehow find out who is behind the conspiracy that could change the fate of a nation.

It won't be easy. J. D.'s every move is being watched by his blackmailer. He has already drawn the attention of a suspicious Secret Service agent. And he has met an old army "friend" working in the Rawley campaign. Just as troubling is J. D.'s attraction to Rawley's beautiful campaign manager. If J. D. does have to kill the candidate, he will have to betray her, too.

Time is running out. When J. D. finally pulls the trigger, who will live and who will die? Rawley? J. D.'s son? Or J. D. himself? And who will be the next president? You won't find out until the explosive conclusion of Joseph Flynn's totally unique thriller, one that defies you to guess the answers.

Author Notes

Joseph Flynn is the author of Digger and The Concrete Inquisition . He lives in central Illinois, where he is currently at work on his next novel. Visit his website at

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Just in time for the presidential election season comes this nonstop thriller about the 2004 campaign. J. D. Cade was trained as an assassin for a covert Army unit in Vietnam. Upon his return from the war, he used that training to put a subtle but fatal end to a family feud. Thirty-four years later, he finds himself being blackmailed in order to force his cooperation in a plot to assassinate Franklin Delano Rawley, the first African American presidential nominee. Flynn is an excellent storyteller with a well-tuned ear for dialogue and a gift for creating memorable characters placed in believable settings. The opening scene, in which Cade methodically prepares to shoot Rawley in Chicago's Grant Park during a Labor Day rally, grabs the reader by the lapels, and Flynn doesn't let go until after the climax, during a debate in the Hollywood Bowl. Reminiscent of the finest political potboilers of the 1950s and 1960s, The Next President bears favorable comparison to such classics as The Best Man, Advise and Consent, and The Manchurian Candidate. --George Needham

Publisher's Weekly Review

The latest entry in the election year tradition of political thrillers from the campaign trail is this tough, stylish tale about a reluctant assassin who can't bring himself to follow orders to kill the Democratic nominee for the White House. The assassin is successful businessman J.D. Cade, a former army sniper who is being blackmailed into killing Franklin Delano Rawley, the black senator from Wisconsin who's engaged in a tight battle with the incumbent in the 2004 election. Cade knows neither the identity of his blackmailer nor why he wants Rawley eliminated. All he knows is that his nemesis has threatened the life of Cade's 21-year-old son, Evan, if Cade refuses to do his bidding. The blackmailer's leverage is a secret in Cade's past: three decades ago, Cade killed a man named Alvy McCray, the last death in the great Cade/McCray blood feud. Cade fears that revealing the secret will reignite the family vendetta, which has been simmering for more than a century on the Illinois-Kentucky border. Although Cade attempts to kill Rawley in Chicago, his long-range rifle shot just misses. His next step is to ingratiate himself with the Rawley campaign, posing as a major donor. Although he then gets several opportunities, he still cannot liquidate his target. In desperation, Cade decides to try to discover the identity of his blackmailer, whom he plans to murder instead. Flynn (Digger) propels his plot with potent but flexible force, using just the right mix of pressure and release to maintain suspense deep into the story. He also shows a patient touch with his characters, allowing Cade and several others to develop well beyond the status of simple role players. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this latest from Flynn, whose debut, Digger, was named "Page-Turner of the Week" by People, a former Vietnam vet is blackmailed into agreeing to assassinate the African American who will likely become President. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Labor Day Monday, September 6, 2004 Upward of half a million people filled Chicago's Grant Park chanting for the appearance of the man they believed would be the next president of the United States, blissfully unaware that the lectern at which he would speak was already targeted in the telescopic sight of an assassin. For most purposes, the day was perfect. The sun shone from a cloudless sky, Lake Michigan glistened sapphire blue, and a breeze off the water moderated a temperature of eighty-two degrees. Streams of people continued to arrive on foot from all directions. Traffic on Michigan Avenue, Lake Shore Drive, and all the east-west streets from Randolph to Jackson was at a standstill. Most motorists simply turned off their engines, stood outside their vehicles, and listened to the coverage of the event on their radios. But no help was needed to hear the chant of the crowd. It rolled across the lakefront as if the city itself was calling out. Demanding the man who would make history. "FDR, FDR, FDR . . ." The throng pleaded for the appearance of Senator Franklin Delano Rawley of Wisconsin, who was already a historic figure by virtue of becoming the first black man to be the presidential nominee of one of the two major political parties. Presently at the lectern, the city's mayor was doggedly doing his best to finish his speech. A ripple of laughter raced through the crowd as a gust of wind almost carried off the final page of the mayor's oration. Sitting behind the mayor on the stage of the James C. Petrillo Music Shell were the candidate's family and an elite selection of local, national, and party dignitaries. They looked out at the immense, expectant gathering with undisguised joy. The polls said their man was ahead of the incumbent by only five points, scarcely more than the margin of error, but many of the pundits said this was an election year that would be unlike any other. Two hundred and sixteen years after electing George Washington as its first president, the United States was electrified by the possibility that it might elect Franklin Delano Rawley as its first black president. "FDR, FD--" The chant seemed to catch in everyone's throat for a split second and then it changed to a roar as the candidate appeared. Like rolling thunder, the multitude's shout of approval reached the fifteenth-floor room at the southwest corner of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. It was all the easier to hear because the small floor-level window panel to the left of the room's heating and air-conditioning unit had been carefully removed. The rectangle of thick safety glass and the fat black rubberized seal that had held it in place lay nearby, ready for quick replacement. J. D. Cade lay in a prone shooting position just back of the empty window frame in the shadows of the darkened room. He'd registered at the hotel the day before under the name of Jack Tenant with his hair colored silver gray by a wash, brown contact lenses over his blue eyes, a well-groomed but newly grown beard, and two-inch lifts in his shoes. He'd checked out via the TV fifteen minutes ago, but a do not disturb sign hung on the outside of the safety-latched door to his room. Now he watched through the scope of his McLellan M-100 sniper rifle, the barrel steadied by its tripod, as Senator Rawley arrived on the stage of the music shell some 2,950 yards away. It had been almost forty-one years since John F. Kennedy was killed by a sniper. The Secret Service hadn't forgotten the lessons it learned from that tragedy, but in the manner of their counterparts at the Pentagon, they had prepared for the last war. The helicopters, the agents on rooftops, the entire security cordon were all positioned on the assumption that no current sniper rifle had an effective range beyond two thousand yards. The exception to this limit was the .50 caliber McLellan M-100, which was used by the navy SEALs and had an effective range of three thousand yards. The round it fired was powerful enough to shoot down a large aircraft, not to mention kill a man. But the special agents protecting Senator Rawley--Orpheus, by his Secret Service code name--operated under the assumption that this weapon was the exclusive, tightly guarded property of the military. Nevertheless, J. D. Cade had one, and the hotel room he'd obtained was beyond the security cordon. A picket fence of high-rise buildings on Randolph Street stood between the Hyatt and the park, but he had a clear field of fire, between the BP-Amoco Building on the east and the Prudential Plaza Building on the west, to the northeast-facing stage of the music shell. Senator Rawley, known as Del on all but the most formal occasions, had just stepped onto that stage and was waving to the adoring crowd. He was already in J. D.'s crosshairs, but at the moment the flags on the stage showed that a swirling wind was blowing. Over a distance of almost three thousand yards, a strong wind might move even a .50 caliber round far enough to kill someone walking along Michigan Avenue or sitting on a boat in the Monroe Street Harbor. J. D. had to be patient. When the wind died, so would his target. Del Rawley was not a classically handsome man, but even seen through the narrow field of vision of his scope, J. D. could recognize the intelligence in the man's eyes and the star power in his smile. Having studied his target, he knew that Rawley was a vet like himself, a former combat medic. He had earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, had been an educator and an author, had served in the House of Representatives and now the Senate, was a devoted husband, father, and grandfa-- The wind died, the flags went limp, and J. D. Cade squeezed the trigger. The .50 caliber round flew at a speed of 2,500 feet per second, but it had to cover a distance of 8,850 feet. Travel time was 3.54 seconds. Given the intervention of fate, that was long enough for the course of history to be changed. What J. D. Cade couldn't see outside the lines of his crosshairs was the man in front of the music shell stage lifting his young daughter, who in turn proffered a rose to the candidate. Del Rawley pricked his finger on a thorn, but bending over saved his life. The round that should have torn his head off passed over him, streaked between the mayor of Chicago and the governor of Illinois, who were seated behind him, smashed a hole the size of a beach ball through the back of the music shell, and expended its lethal energy by cutting down a six-inch-thick maple tree at its base. Excerpted from The Next President by Joseph Flynn All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. 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