SPINNING DIXIE
Eric Dezenhall

 


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Thomas Dunne Books, Dec 2006
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

SPINNING DIXIE is the fifth installment in the Jonah Eastman series. In this smart and funny tale, Jonah Eastman is the newly resigned Press Secretary for the President of the U.S. He resigned as a favor to President Truitt. Someone had to take the heat off the President after his offhand remarks about a terrorist bomber caused a media frenzy, so Jonah reluctantly took the fall. As Jonah is packing his office to leave the White House, a beautiful woman comes to the gate of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to hand-deliver a letter. The letter is from Claudine Polk, a southern belle who was his first love. She needs Jonah's help to save her Tennessee Plantation, Rattle & Snap, from her soon to be ex-husband.

Jonah believes he was born to be in a sea of trouble and he has a talent for sorting it all out. In fact, he is at his best in a crisis. He is a Beltway pollster turned spin doctor and the grandson of a Jewish mobster, the late Mickey Price. His grandfather was the legendary owner of an Atlantic City casino. With his White House connections, Washington agency contacts and the negotiating skills learned from his gangster grandfather, he is a force to be reckoned with and Claudine Polk is counting on it.

SPINNING DIXIE opens in 2003 and alternates between flashbacks to the summer of 1980 when Jonah first fell in love with Claudine Polk. The time shifts make the story a bit choppy, but it is a necessary element to the story.

The author, Eric Dezenhall, has created a fresh and interesting character in Jonah Eastman---he isn't a reincarnation of other characters of popular series fiction. What motivates him and how he goes about in the world is...well, different. Being in Jonah's head is entertaining and a bit like being in an altered universe. He is a family man but the wife and children seem to be window dressing. This is the one issue I had with this book--Jonah is a vivid character but I was unable to connect with the other characters because they didn't feel as fully developed.

Eric Denzenhall is also founder and CEO of Denzenhall Resources, a crisis management firm.The Jonah Eastman series begins with MONEY WANDERS (2003), JACKIE DISASTER (2003), SHAKEDOWN BEACH (2004), and TURNPIKE FLAMEOUT (2005).

February 2007

 

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