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Gathering String by Mimi Johnson
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May 27, 12

Read from April 24 to May 26, 2012

You don’t have to care about the future of news or the machinations of election-year politics to enjoy “Gathering String’ by Mimi Johnson. But if you happen to be a news or politics junkie, you’ll take special delight in this gripping tale of love, adventure and one big secret that, if uncovered, could change the fate of the Presidential election. It’s Republican primary season and popular Iowa Governor “Swede” Erickson is a last-minute entrant into the race. Ace newspaper reporter Sam Waterman—now at the Politifix website—is assigned to cover Erickson and he’s itching to see behind the too-perfect façade: “Nothing’s better than finding the… skeleton… in a candidate’s closet,” he says early on, adding: “News is telling people what they need to know, but don’t.” But heading to Iowa means running into Sam’s ex-love Tess Benedict. Tess is a former news photographer whose earlier passionate relationship with Sam is recounted in an engaging and at times highly dramatic flashback. She’s now married to local newspaper editor and publisher Jack Westphal—a man with a close personal connection to Swede Erickson. Johnson has a lot of fun with the political backdrop—the “Minutemen” Party is a big influence in this fictional election season, as is a Sarah Palin-esque potential VP candidate—and Johnson also weaves in great details about the challenges facing the news business at companies large and small, online and off. But ultimately this is the story of Sam, Tess and Jack—and Swede—and as the stakes are raised and loyalties are challenged, this exciting tale builds to a powerful and satisfying conclusion.
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