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A book review by Grace Cavalieri
January 28, 2014
by Grace Cavalieri

Senate Magic by Jeanne Mozier

I admit it. I already read this once in manuscript when it weighed more than my cat. It still does but it’s prettier now and you can judge this one by its cover because it portends mystery, intrigue, and magic. Author Mozier actually did run a campaign for a Congressional candidate. She’s also been a CIA analyst, expert in tourism, and author. Her last book Way Out In West Virginia sold 50,000. And best of all, she’s a world class astrologer –previously a syndicated columnist, political adviser, arts activist and has spent 40 years making Berkeley Springs WV into one of the best small arts city in the nation

Since I knew the book I thought I’d skim through. After all I spent all those weeks the first time. But you can’t just scan this. You can try, but it pulls you in. The agenda of the book is politics. Glamorous Kiley “Kat” Tomasso is running for U.S. Senate, and Roxy, her best friend is her speech writer. These two are the protagonists who make their way through love, betrayal and crime. Max the Magician is one of Kat’s allies and here is where the book veers from the norm. The plot centers on struggles along the way to election day, pivoted by powerful men, notably crime chief Race Scarlatti and a conservative senator from Virginia, T.J. Stuart. The action takes place in Rhode Island and that small state better brace for a big book.

To write a novel is to know where to look for the heat; Mozier has been there and has been trained to know what to find in a labyrinth, and then better still how to decipher a political campaign to fiction. It’s the author’s job to open a door to a world and populate it with fascinating people. Politics is about policy but it also lives out our values, so with humor and mischief Jeanne Mozier takes moral issues and weighs how they will be judged in the strive for power— with Tarot cards and potions along the way. The writer also has a point of view about what is important beyond personal aggrandizement but she prefers to show human history in its weirdness. The management style of our author is to care about the color of undergarments as well as paneled conference rooms. Mozier gets the job done both places because she deals with interior conflict (a growth industry) and its effect on the public at large.

The book is knowledge based— well take a rainbow --we know where it comes from but we can’t believe the audacity of its colors.

How much difference is made by political candidates we may never know. How humanitarian? That’s up for grabs, but the only imperative here is how much do we want to turn these pages and find out. The book is readercentric. And that fact does not depend on the polls.

Senate Magic by Jeanne Mozier. High Street Press.603 pages.

Grace Cavalieri produces “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress” for public radio, now celebrating 37 years on-air.

Jeanne Mozier portrait photo by Misty Higgins.