The Patriarch: A Novel of Corruption and Terrorism, Love and Loss by G.N. Buffington

The Patriarch: A Novel of Corruption and Terrorism, Love and Loss
G.N. Buffington
iUniverse (2008)
ISBN 9780595448814
Reviewed by Nikki Pringle for Reader Views (6/08)


Jacob Sellars is a newspaper reporter in New York City who is looking for the story that can break him into the big time. While memories from his Midwestern upbringing on a farm with an abusive father and passive mother still haunt him, and cause him trouble in his romantic relationships, he is focused on finding the lead that can launch his career into overdrive, and his personal life takes a back seat.

When the patriarch of the Crane Oil Corporation, Joshua Crane, passes away, Jacob is sent on assignment by his paper to do a story on the funeral services being held for the man. Crane’s lengthy obituary hinted at scandal, corruption and murky government ties, both personally and professionally. Sellars decides that delving into the rumors to expose whatever truth may lie beneath them could be his ticket to  bigger and better things, and decides to do a freelance story on the Crane Corporation and uncover all of the skeletons in the company’s, and family’s, closets. While the family is notoriously out of reach to journalists, stories of their infighting are rampant and widespread, and Jacob has a friend, Mitch, who is related to the Crane’s and can get him access to the family.

When two of the Crane family members decide to help Jacob with his article to expose what they see as corruption and greed that has been swept under the rug, Jacob is launched head-long into the middle of a familial power struggle, and he is met with brutal resistance by the rest of the family and company members strongly opposed to his story. Is Jacob just a pawn being used by Emily and Yvonne to bring the company to its knees, or do they really care about the illegal activities that the Crane Corporation has been involved in for far too long? Is Yvonne, a liberal left-winger in the staunchly Republican clan, using his romantic interest in her for her own gain, or is the attraction Jacob feels mutual and meaningful?

When a terrorist attack in Europe kills some of the people important to his research, Jacob fears the story will die along with them. An offer from an organization not associated with the United States, delivered to Jacob through Yvonne by a Saudi prince who disagrees with his families principles, could be the silver bullet to the hearts of those intent on burying whatever Jacob uncovers, but it may be more than the American people can handle.

G.N. Buffington has created a tale of political intrigue, and mixes in just the right amount of romance and family strife with a tale of the struggle over oil in the Middle East, the war in Iraq, and terrorist activities here and abroad that will ring true with many American’s today. “The Patriarch” is thoughtful, thought-provoking and very relevant to our times. Readers with an interest in political corruption and scandals will find “The Patriarch” to be right up their alley.

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