As a novelist, Lawrence Sanders operates in three distinct genres. He produces conventional political thrillers such as THE ANDERSON TAPES, a classic example of the category, and psychological thrillers, in the shape of THE PASSION OF MOLLY T. and THE SEDUCTION OF PETER S., which produce short-term nightmares. Finally, in the mystery/detective genre he is responsible for the justly famous Deadly Sin series and the equally popular Timothy series. In all three cases the plots abound with twists and turns interspersed with careful and sometimes appetite-provoking descriptions of what the characters are eating. CAPITAL CRIMES, Sanders’ latest political thriller, is no exception.
The plot is easily outlined. The president of the United States falls prey to a self-proclaimed messiah who seemingly possesses the capability to heal the chief executive’s hemophiliac son while proclaiming to all and sundry that, “there is no sin, no guilt,” for all are created in God’s image and thus are incapable of error. Such a clear incitement to licentious behavior in a presidential intimate is political dynamite, but when Brother Kristos begins to influence the president’s legislative agenda and political appointments as well, catastrophe seems inevitable. In consequence, three men close to the administration resolve to terminate Brother Kristos with “extreme prejudice.”
CAPITAL CRIMES is an interesting and even plausible tale which is all the more convincing in that it all happened in another time and place. In 1903 a self-proclaimed holy man named Grigory Yefimovich Novykh, nicknamed Rasputin (Russian for “debauched one”),...
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