Blackie Ryan in the White House? Yes! Sent there by his estimable but irascible boss, the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, Sean Cronin. Blackie gets a call from his friend, the newly elected Democratic president, Jack Patrick McGurn -- whom the media has seen fit to call ""Machine Gun McGurn"" -- but of course the call is interrupted by the autocratic Cardinal Cronin who, without consulting Blackie, sends him off to the White House to solve a poltergeist problem. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Fun is the word for bestseller Greeley's latest, lively Bishop Blackie (aka Blackwell) Ryan thriller. It's not a whodunit, but a hoodoo-done-it, the mystery being Who's the hoodoo A poltergeist is stalking the corridors of the White House, threatening to embarrass the president, who's already confronting a fiercely divided Congress, accusations of sexual harassment and the threat of civil war in China. The press has dubbed President John Patrick McGurn "Machine Gun McGurn" and accused him of being a tool of the Chicago Irish Mafia. The far right view him as no less than Satan himself, being an Irishman, a Catholic and a liberal Democrat. There are rumors (which are true) of conspiracies to discredit McGurn and plots (also true) to take his life. Blackie receives an invitation to the White House from the president, who's an old friend. His cardinal orders him to go: "I baptized him, I officiated at his marriage, and I baptized his kids. I said his wife's funeral mass. Now that he is also president... it is unfitting, offensive, and intolerable that he be haunted by ungodly spirits." Known for his psychic gifts, Blackie has nine possible candidates for the intrusive spirit, including the president's daughters. Most likely the poltergeist is a young, troubled woman in need of love. Greeley dedicates the book to Bill Clinton, an obvious model for McGurn. Republicans may grumble, but plenty of others will appreciate the well-drawn characters, swift action and logical resolution. (July 25) FYI: West Wing and its star, Martin Sheen, receive mention, along with a not unsubtle hint that Sheen would make a good Blackie Ryan. Greeley is also the author of Irish Stew! (Forecasts, Feb. 18) and other novels in the Nuala Anne McGrail series. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 14, 2003
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Excerpt from The Bishop in the West Wing by Andrew M. Greeley
"Your good friend was on the phone earlier this evening."
Cardinal Sean Cronin leaned casually against my doorframe as though he was posing for a fashion magazine shoot, in light blue pajamas and royal blue robe. He had never appeared at my doorway in such array. I noted with some pleasure that he did not wear his cardinalatial ruby to bed at night and that his slippers were also royal blue, not crimson.
"Ah," I said as I turned away from the purgatorial task of catching up on my e-mail. Naturally I had no idea who the friend was--a beautiful but troubled woman, a penitent Mafioso, a haunted priest, someone from Rome, a mystic with revelations that must be passed on instantly to the Pope. The rhetoric of Chicago discourse, however, required that he begin with such an indirect approach, as though all the rooms of the Cathedral Rectory were wired by hostile law enforcement agencies.
"The Megan thought I should talk to him since you were not around."
It was therefore a serious matter. None of the four porter person Megans who presided over the entrances to the Cathedral Rectory from after school to 9:30 would dream of disturbing the Cardinal Archbishop (whom they adored as "extreme cute") unless some important game was afoot.
(One must understand that for the younger generation "extreme" has become an adverb.)
"We have you on the 6:00 flight. Your friend Mr. Woods will pick you up at 4:30."
"P.M.?" I said, knowing full well that it was not.
Milord Cronin permitted a frown to furrow his handsome brow.
"The monks get up a lot earlier, Blackwood."