Capital Crimes
by Lawrence Sanders
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Jacob Christansen is running quite a scam. He claims to be a preacher, delivering small, powerful sermons in a run-down tent in Virginia. His unkempt appearance and hypnotic eyes only draw believers closer to "Brother Kristos" as Jacob is called.

It doesn't take long for the wealthier women in the DC area to fall under the spell of this so-called prophet. Through word of mouth, President Abner Hawkins and his wife, Helen seek Brother Kristos' powers to heal their seriously ill son. Coincidence or not, the young boy recovers under Brother Kristos' care. Everyone present thinks it is a miracle.

There are many non-believers, however. Vice-President Samuel Trent thinks the President may have finally flipped his lid. He decides to use these developments to further his own political career. If the country loses confidence in Abner Hawkins, then Trent is willing and ready to step up to the plate.

Assistant to the President, John Tollinger, isn't too crazy about the preacher, either. Of course he thinks the guy is a quack. However, seeing that his ex-wife, fellow White House staffer Jennifer Raye is attracted to Brother Kristos just adds fuel to the fire.

Capital Crimes details Brother Kristos' ascent into the inner circle of the Presidency. The more Abner Hawkins relies on the preacher's word, the more worried the insiders get. Brother Kristos must be stopped, but just who will do it? As an added element, Brother Kristos can foresee his own demise. He eerily waits patiently and calmly for the event to occur.

Ok, I've kept quiet this long, but I just can't do it anymore. Lawrence Sanders is one of my favorite authors. I love his McNally series. However, Capital Crimes is a really bad book. It's hard to believe the President of the United States could follow the teachings of a bogus faith healer. However, to expect me to believe several characters fell for the man is just silly.

Brother Kristos is described as being a drunk addicted to vodka and sex. However, he also has this magic power that has the female characters dropping their drawers left and right for him. Puh-leeze.

Out of the several hundred books I have read in recent memory, this is the first one where I have disliked every single character. The President and his wife are such ninnies that can't believe they were ever elected to office. The Vice-President is typically power hungry, yet does some pretty stupid things to get what he wants. The Vice-President's wife, Jennifer Raye, John Tollinger, and the rest are no better. All political jokes aside, I can't believe people this stupid would actually be running the country.

Capital Crimesis so bad that I can't even find anything else to write about in this review. I originally wanted to give the book a two-star rating, but the ending is just as bad as the plot. It's very weak, very silly, thus the single star. What irked me most was that everything was conveniently tied up in a 1½ page epilogue.

If that's not enough, I'd say that the suspense level rates about a three on a ten scale. I just couldn't seem to get swept up in the mayhem (though I did roll my eyes quite a lot). The pacing of the book itself is really pretty level until the very end as well, but by then I didn't even care what happened.

Of course, I can't recommend Capital Crimes to any reader at all. However, I do like to point out Sanders' McNally series, as I think those books are great fun. Keep in mind, I am recommending the series written by Lawrence Sanders himself, and not those books written under his name by Vincent Lardo. Nobody can replace Lawrence Sanders. Fortunately, his work lives on. Skip this one and enjoy the rest.

Also by
Lawrence Sanders:
McNally's Dilemma
The First Deadly Sin
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