A former one-term Congressman named Chubb Dunjee takes center stage in The Mordida Man. Dunjee is one of those larger-than-life characters who found their way into the novels of Ross Thomas. Once a captain in the Special Forces as well as a Congressman and UN official, he later became a cab driver. Later still, he hired himself out to take on “special projects” overseas. A stint in Mexico, when he spread around enough bribe money to spring 62 Americans from jail, earned him the moniker in the novel’s title. Now, retired to a villa in Portugal, Dunjee is approached by an old political acquaintance representing the White House on a curious mission. The ex-Congressman is broke now, so he has little choice but to take it on.
The President has a big problem
Yes, there’s a problem. A big one. And President Jerome McKay thinks only Chubb Dunjee can fix it. Under truly mysterious circumstances, the president’s brother, Bingo McKay, has been kidnapped — and it’s clear that the Libyan government is involved. Thomas introduces a seriously unbalanced Moammar Gaddhafi lookalike to underline the threat.
The Mordida Man by Ross Thomas ★★★★★
The solution is more complicated than you can possibly imagine
With this setup, Thomas is off and running in one of his typically fast-moving and suspenseful political thrillers. He’s funny from time to time as well. The book is full of colorful characters, among them assorted international terrorists, a criminal hacker, clever Arab officials, a distinguished Gambian UN delegate, a corrupt former CIA officer, and two crafty American political operatives. As in all of Thomas’ novels, the plot twists and turns, offering up plenty of surprises. Somehow, it all works. I’ve long found Ross Thomas‘ books to be among the most enjoyable on the market. It’s a pity that he died more than twenty years ago.
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