Book Review: Dead Politician Society: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel by Robin Spano

After the mayor falls down dead in the middle of a speech, a clandestine student society claims credit for his demise.

Clare Vengel is given her first undercover assignment: to pose as a student and penetrate the society. A streetwise amateur mechanic, Clare finds university a foreign land, and has trouble creating an in with the suspects. She quickly alienates a popular professor and loses the respect of police superiors.

When another politician is killed, Clare kicks herself into high gear. She forges friendships with students and makes inroads into the secret society.

As the body count rises, Clare realizes that the murderer she has to unmask is someone she has come to consider a friend. She only hopes that the friend doesn't unmask her first.

Release Date:  September 1, 2010
Publisher:  ECW Press
Age Group:  Adult Fiction
Pages:  240
Source:  NetGalley

Have you ever changed purses for the season and unexpectedly found a twenty dollar bill in the bottom of your old purse?  Whenever that happens to me I immediately spend the money on something totally frivolous like Godiva chocolate or a manicure.  It's the best guilty pleasure, isn't it?

I had that same feeling reading Dead Politician Society.  This was an unexpected find and I really enjoyed it.  I discovered this book when I read an interview with Robin Spano on Daisy Chain Book Reviews and left a comment.  Robin then responded to my comment and told me that her book is available for free on NetGalley.  Yay!  The summary really intrigued me so I requested the title and then started reading immediately after approval.

Dead Politician Society is written in the third person and alternates point of view from chapter to chapter.  We follow several characters throughout the story, with the main character being Clare, the undercover cop.  Clare is a real fly-by-the seat of your pants type of girl.  I like living vicariously through these types of characters, since I am so Type A that I could never live so moment-to-moment.  Clare's new to the force and this is her first undercover assignment.  Politicians around Toronto have been dying due to what police think is poisoning and the police suspect a popular political science teacher.  Clare goes undercover as a college student to learn more.

Clare bumbles her way through the investigation, being constantly castigated by her unappreciative boss.  She narrows the list of suspects and does some good police work in the process, which is wholly unappreciated by her superiors.  Clare figures out who the killer is but the reader is left in the dark until the very end of the story.  When we do discover the culprit, it makes perfect sense; however, it was the person I was least expecting.  I like being left in the dark like that---it kept me turning the pages until the very end.

Overall Dead Politician Society was a lot of fun.  Despite the heavy subject matter, it was a light-hearted read.  I'll definitely be on the lookout for Robin Spano's next book!

Just One Gripe: 
The characters were my favorite thing about this book.  However, until I got to really know them all, it was a little confusing just because there were so many characters featured in each separate POV chapter.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The well-developed cast of characters: Matthew the cad, Johnathan the lovesick computer geek, Susannah the liberal, and Annabel the intrepid reporter; these are just a few of the characters followed throughout the book.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Setting/Imagery: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Ending: 4/5
Total Score:  21/25


  1. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've only just stared it since I have to read it on my PC and I hate reading books on my PC! Hopefully I'll finish it soon. :)

  2. This one is new to me so thanks for sharing. I love a good bumbling heroine, I always relate to them for some reason:) Nice review Kelli!

  3. Well comparing it to Godiva chocolates sold me! I haven't heard of this one, but I am scampering to check it out!

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  4. Funny how sometimes those unexpected finds can turn out to be favourites. I must say I like both the look (a great cover) and sound of this, thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Thanks for the honest review. I love this cover but I'm still on the fence.

  6. Excellent review! I wouldn't normally pick this up based on the cover alone, but this sounds so so good! I will, however, admit that the characters sound confusing :)

  7. I read some really positive reviews and I think I'm going to add this one next. The cover is great and I'll just have to keep a notebook to keep up with all the characters.

    Another great review :)


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