Pretty Fast: Stranglehold by Ed Gorman, 2010. 9780312532987.
One of Gorman's political novels featuring Dev Conrad, campaign consultant.
Dev gets a panic call from his staff in Illinois. They are running a re-election campaign for a Congresswoman who is keeps disappearing and ignoring their advice. They are also clashing with the money behind the campaign: the Congresswoman's dragon lady stepmother.
Dev. leaves Michigan and lands in Central Illinois. He starts working and keeping his client happy. Too bad that keeping Dragon Lady happy can conflict with running a winning campaign. While in town Dev runs into a competitor from another firm. That firm is run by an unscrupulous man and woman with background's in yellow journalism; the two are happy to sling mud and slurs on opposing candidates.
Dev finds out the Congresswoman's secret - a long lost son put up for adoption twenty years ago - and the slime slinging female mentioned above is murdered. Well, scandal strikes and Dev has to manage the secret son secret, deal with Dragon Lady, deal with all the relatives under Dragon lady's thumb, and try to keep Congresswoman from under suspicion of murder.
A fun story with good characters and brief looks into campaign management. Gorman doesn't lay on heavy details about campaign polling and press relations. He gives enough to teach the reader something and keep them interested.
I read another Dev Conrad book before, Sleeping Dogs, and enjoyed this one more.