3 out of 4 stars
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When U.S. Senator Beth Davenport dies in a helicopter crash, her son, Troy, is left with conflicted feelings. She had been highly respected by her colleagues and her country as the longest-serving independent female senator in U.S. history. Publicly lauded as being above reproach, Troy had always seen a different side of her at home. While their relationship was amicable, they had never been close, even when he was a young child. She had been secretive about many aspects of her past, and he had never been able to understand the strange family dynamics between her and his business tycoon grandfather. After her death, Troy stumbles upon even more secrets about her, one of which leads him to a storage locker and a briefcase containing over five million dollars in cash. Now Troy really needs answers. He sets off on a mission to find out where it came from and who his mother really was. Was she as ethical as everyone believes, or was she just another corrupt politician after all?
The Senators’ Suitcase by Mitch Engel is a fiction novel that is part mystery, part family drama. The book is divided into three sections. The first part is told from the first-person point of view of Troy following his mother’s death, as he tracks down information about her and draws his conclusions. The second part goes back in time and is told from the 3rd person point of view of Beth herself, as she looks back over her life. In the final part, the book revisits Troy several months after his mother’s death and shows the effects his search has had on his life. I really enjoyed the changing perspectives of the book. I particularly liked getting Beth’s perspective, as I was able to discover whether Troy had come to the right or wrong conclusions about his mother.
I found all the characters in this story to be realistic, complex, and likable. They each come with their own interesting backstory that carries into their outlook on life and relationships. They all make good and bad choices and live with the consequences. I particularly liked Beth’s character, as the book gives a complete view of her from childhood on, showing how she grew as a person over the course of her life.
The book was well-written and cleverly told. I noticed just a small handful of typos that did not distract from the plot. Although the book delves into some heavy topics, such as abuse, sexual harassment, and prejudice about sexual orientation, the author uses wit and humor to engage the reader and lighten the feel of the book overall. There are many heartwarming moments that made me smile and a couple of scenes that brought tears to my eyes.
My only complaint about the book was that it was a bit slow-moving, especially in the beginning. The part of the book following Beth’s perspective picked up a little bit for me, but I never felt like I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, and I didn’t have any trouble putting the book down.
Overall, I think this is a 3.5-star book, but since I can’t award half stars, I will rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed the characters and the storyline, but I wish it had been a bit more of a page-turner. This is not a book that would be appreciated by action fans, but those who enjoy character-driven stories or family dramas would enjoy it. There are some references to abuse that may be triggering, and I would not recommend it to anyone who does not enjoy reading about LGBTQ themes.
The Senator's Suitcase
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