Book Review: Dead Politician Society: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel

Author: Robin Spano

Publisher: ECW Press, 2010

Genre: Mystery

Format: Kindle

I’ve been in the mood to read good mysteries. After reading Burying the Hatchet by Chris Well (my review is here), where the main character was an amateur sleuth, I was looking for a mystery with a bit more action, a bit more spice. I knew from the first paragraph this one would work.

Clare Vengel tossed a leg over her Triumph and kicked it into gear. The sun was shining, the mayor was dead, and Cloutier wanted to meet with her. As she sped along Dundas Street, weaving a bit too quickly through traffic, visions of her first undercover assignment played in her head.

Clare is a rookie cop working a normal beat but she longs for undercover work. She gets her chance when the mayor of Toronto is killed. A student group at the university claims credit for the murder. Since Clare is young, her assignment is to pose as a political science major, become acquainted with students and penetrate the secret society.

Although Clare has never been a university student, she’s sharp and is able to adjust. She manages to make friends with many of the poli-sci students and works to get closer to the inner circle.

Although Clare is the main character, there are many other characters involved in this story. The chapters alternate between all of them so the reader sees the story from multiple viewpoints. When more politicians are killed, Clare and the reader, become concerned that the killer is probably someone we’ve come to care about.

What I Liked:

  • The story is told in short chapters, making the story go quite fast. It also sets the tone for the fast paced plot.
  • I liked the character of Clare. She had all sorts of flaws which made her believable. She was young, liked riding motorcyles and tinkering with car engines – not your typical fashion princess. I liked that.
  • The story played around with various political ideas but nothing heavy. The student’s talk was reminiscent of my own university days.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Although I liked the short chapters told from the point of view of each character, in the beginning it was confusing. I had to go back and write down the names and who they were. Once the story really ramped up, I began to remember and I was okay.
  • The language is that of today’s university student, which seems to mean a liberal use of the f-word. Do they all talk that way? As I got into a rhythm of reading the story my eyes flew past that, but I thought I should warn you.

My Rating: B+


Definitely, if you like a fast-paced crime story with no violence. It’s what people would call hip and edgy. This is Book One in a series that is going to revolve around Clare and her undercover work. Book Two is coming out in the Fall and involves high stakes, competitive poker. It sounds like fun.

About the author:

Robin Spano is a crime writer and, like her main character, is a motorcycle enthusiast. She grew up in Toronto, studied physics in New Brunswick, and dropped out to explore North America on her motorcycle. And then she met her husband, Keith. She writes full time, plotting murder and living vicariously through her undercover protagonist. She lives in Steveston, British Columbia.

Visit the author at her website:

Check your local library for a copy of this book. Dead Politician Societyis also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

This entry was posted in B Plus Book, Cozy Mysteries, Criminal Plots, Kindle, Mysteries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Book Review: Dead Politician Society: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel

  1. Pingback: Joyfully Retired » Book Review: Dead Politician Society: A Clare … | ReviewTica

  2. I should read this. I used to pretend to be a political science student too! (at least, everyone ELSE thought I was pretending! ha ha)

  3. I finished this book last week (my review is on my blog). I enjoyed it but I didn’t find it “thrilling” enough. Clare is a great girl, though. I wonder what she’s up to next…

  4. Martha says:

    I like the sound of this one. I’m going to see if my library has a copy.

  5. I’m afraid to tell you, but they start using the f word like that when they’re in high school. I think the word has lost its shock value for young people. I’ll have to remember to make a chart of the characters when I read this book.

  6. Tami says:

    Unfortunately yes, “that word” seems to take the place of all adjectives, most adverbs and the occasional verb for high school/college students. They no longer have a vocabulary or any immagination. Other than that, this book sounds great. I love a no-blood thriller.

  7. Beth F says:

    I have a hankering to get back to mysteries too … The language wouldn’t bother me and story with a young female cop who rides a motorcycle sounds like a good read.

  8. Staci says:

    This truly sounds fun and I too loved that first sentence. I think the “f-bomb” is used all of the time now, both by high school/college/and ADULTS everywhere!! I like the idea of a girl who rides a motorcycle. I’m too chicken to learn even though my husband has tried several times to teach me….I’d rather ride on his!

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