The Senator’s Suitcase
Outskirts Press (2020)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (1/2021)
“The Senator’s Suitcase” by Mitch Engel, is an engrossing political drama with heart. Troy, the son of respected senator, Beth Davenport, finds something unusual in his deceased mother’s personal effects–millions of dollars in cash in her suitcase. He thought he knew her so well. He thought she was the same woman she presented to the world, and to him. How could she live two lives? As he delves into the mystery surrounding his own mother, he falls in love with the amazing woman who is helping him through all this. Uncovering family secrets and understanding his mother becomes Troy’s sole focus, and in the process, he finds some universal truths and some personal revelations about the past.
This isn’t the average fill-in-the-blank political intrigue novel. Really, at its core, is a story about family, character, and truth. They say the truth shall set you free, but is it a truth that Troy wants to know? Engel crafts this story with the right balance of drama, suspense, and mystery, putting you in the main character’s shoes from the beginning, wisely choosing first-person POV. The writing is compelling, and you can trust that the author will lead you through this winding path of events and into the satisfying destination. The plot will hook you, but the writing will make you an instant Engel fan. The romance is done in a fresh way, and there is some cynicism and wry observations that are refreshing. These characters are alive with personality, unique personal habits, and ideas, and you find yourself completely invested.
One thing among many that I admire about this book is the character of Troy, a guy who has to question himself, his relationship with his mother, and what it all means. Melanie is another great character. And then there is Beth. Though not perfect, Beth is the kind of politician and person who could inspire and lead a nation. We’ve all heard of politicians going into that world for the right reasons, only to find themselves compromising their values and making disastrously wrong decisions. Beth is the kind of woman you like to hear about in politics. Engel’s use of symbolism is appreciated here as well, the intricate details add depth and texture, and the dialogue propels the story forward in an energetic way. I can’t recommend this book enough. “The Senator’s Suitcase” by Mitch Engel, will have fans of political intrigue applauding.