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Book Review: 'Father's Day'

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To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, here we go again. Yet another cabal of ruthless thugs schemes to get rid of the President — this time by means of the 25th Amendment. For those who dozed through civics, that’s the one about who takes over if the Chief Executive is incapacitated by gunshot, heart attack, tumor, or stroke or otherwise loses his marbles. The year is 2003. American troops under U.N. command occupy Egypt and much of Eastern Europe. In Washington, Democrats control both houses by huge majorities. President Teddy Jay, hospitalized for depression after the First Lady took the six kids and left him, feels fit and wants his job back. Acting President Shy Garland, a Texan ”less truthful about love and more covetous of power than any manchild who’d operated in Washington since Lyndon Baines Johnson,” means to keep it — either by political machinations or by as-sassination and military coup. Only heroic GOP governor Jack Longfellow of Maine and his wife, Jean Motherwell, minority leader of the U.S. Senate, can stop Gar- land. Though ingeniously plotted and better written than most entries in the superheated-political-thriller genre, Father’s Day never quite convinces. Too many indistinguishable characters, too many subplots, and far too many coincidences. B