Our Lady of Greenwich Village by Demot McEvoy, Skyhorse Publishing, October 2008
Someplace in every campaign manual there’s a section called “Don’t Mix Religion with Politics”…probably without the caveat, “unless you’re writing a novel.” But that’s what Dermot McEvoy has done and if you’re looking for a quick fun read on your end of summer vacation, I recommend you put this novel in your travel bag.
Our Lady is constructed like a 3-act play. In the “first act,” we meet the protagonist – Wolfe Tone O’Rourke. How to describe him? A financially successful political consultant? Yes. A Vietnam veteran? Yes. A bachelor? Yes. The kind of guy you might sit down next to in an Irish bar in NYC who will tell you his troubles without your having to ask? Most definitely!
So, in Act I we meet a character who’s got a hold of life by the horns who won’t let go even though he’s much the worse for wear. A crowd of slimy bad guys who rule the roost are also introduced to set us up for Act II.
In “Act II,” Wolfe Tone sticks to his guns and life gives him a break. He finds his woman, stops drinking and starts to take on the bad guys. But look out! Here comes the inevitable monkey wrench. At the end of the “second act,” life is back on top and Wolfe Tone is in a quandary.
In the final act, things work out just like Will Shakespeare showed us how to do it. The solution includes a little religious mysticism, which would be a no-no in real life politics. But this is fiction after all and because it’s skillfully and tastefully accomplished we’ll grant McEvoy the license.
In the end do the bad guys get vanquished? Does the “speak truth to power” approach work out for once? Does the guy get to keep his gal? You can probably answer those questions yourself by now, but knowing how it comes out won’t spoil the read. McEvoy keeps the story moving at a fast clip (until “act 3”) and we’re dutifully entertained by references to people real (Bobby Kennedy) and barely disguised (“The B-man”).
Our Lady of Greenwich Village is the perfect book to read before the start of the fall political season. It’ll remind you why following politics is so much fun and also point out what today’s political world is missing.