Running by Patrice Fitzgerald is a political thriller that reminded me of books of yore, except this one had a female lead. With the recent run up to the elections, series like Political Animals and the Netflix news maker House of Cards have focused on plots around those who aspire to be in the White House. Ms. Fitzgerald’s Catherine Young is already in the West Wing, and is forced to step in to some big shoes.
Catherine Young is a widow with two grown children and enjoys being Vice President. She is preparing for the ultimate role and is the Democratic candidate for next term. She relies on her assistant Zane Zarillo, and has taken on her opposition, blonde and beautiful Jerusha Hutchins. A medical emergency causes her to be the temporary acting President, taking away precious time from her campaign efforts.
Like almost everyone, Catherine has a past. Only her oldest friend is aware of it, and the relationship is strained when Catherine starts receiving blackmail letters. When her attempts to resolve them on her own fail, she reluctantly involves the authorities to investigate. Will the charity work she did for the Peace Corps in Africa come back to haunt her? Will her kids understand her actions after all these years?
Running is fast paced and the plot keeps you on your toes. Along with the typical background necessary for a White House setting, Catherine’s personal life is woven in well. The questionable past angle is played well. On the one hand, some might agree that every person is human and entitled to feelings and passions in their personal life. On the other hand, some of the aspects of Catherine’s past appear far fetched, especially in light of the way they manifest themselves in the present. There is a slight, very slight movie like feel which never lets you forget that this fiction after all.
Running might as well be a movie, or perhaps will be made into one. I won’t be surprised to know that. Now, who would play Catherine Young? Hmm!