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When a gorgeous woman appears at the gates of the White House bearing a mysterious letter, disgraced Presidential Press Secretary and professional spinmeister Jonah Eastman knows that his past has finally caught up with him. Raised by a Jewish mobster in Atlantic City, Jonah was only seventeen when he met Claudine Polk, an unabashed Southern belle, and placed her on an unshakable pedestal for one glorious summer of reckless youth and first love.
Now Claudine desperately needs Jonah's help to save Rattle & Snap, her family's plantation in Tennessee, from the hands of her crooked soon-to-be-ex-husband. Jonah must use all of his connections, from shady undercover agents to the President himself, to engage in Operation Dixie Knish and save his Southern belle's ancestral home.
A perfect mix of "The West Wing," "The Godfather," and Gone with the Wind, Spinning Dixie is an epic novel full of adventure, romance, and unforgettable characters that will have readers laughing out loud.
Dezenhall's recurring narrator, Jonah Eastman (last seen in 2005's Turnpike Flameout), has risen from his Jersey mob upbringing through the pollster ranks and is now President James Lee Truitt's press secretary during a time of upheaval: it's 2005, and the war on terror rages (a suicide bomber attacks a Phillies game), though the war in Iraq is noticeably absent. After a string of irreverent comments about terrorism, Jonah is given the boot, and as he's packing up his office, his high school love, Claudine Polk, asks for his help in saving her family's Tennessee plantation. Jonah, propelled by a looming midlife crisis, launches a massive spin campaign involving the president, political focus groups, thousands of Civil War re-enactors, the National Guard and the Air Force in order to help Claudine, though her motives for seeking him out become suspect. The characters tend toward stereotype there's a Southern belle, a Southern eccentric, a good ol' boy and a good-humored-and-wise black servant and the writing is littered with pop culture references that aren't always accurate. Jonah's absurd campaign will keep readers piqued, but the backstory the mob, Freemasons and Khe Sanh figure in is unnecessarily convoluted.