“The Coyotes of Carthage,” by Steven Wright, is a contemporary, character-driven, political novel dealing with timely issues. The narrative was inspired by the 2010 Supreme Court landmark decision, Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission that permits corporations to anonymously finance campaigns, now known as dark money.
Toussaint Andre Ross, who goes by the name Dre, is an African American political consultant. When readers are introduced to him, Dre is being given his last chance by his boss and mentor Mrs. Fitzpatrick. She is a founding member of the Washington D.C. consulting firm Martin, Fitzpatrick and Deville.
Dre has a questionable past, having spent two years in juvenile prison for a crime his older brother committed. Mrs. Fitz saw potential in Dre, tucked him under her wing when he was 20, and has been his second mother for the past 15 years. Dre now has a myriad of problems—his fiancé has left him, his brother is dying and he embarrassed the firm during his last campaign.
Mrs. Fitz is giving him one last chance to right his ship by sending him to Carthage, North Carolina to run a dark money campaign for a mining corporation. He has $250,000 and 13 weeks to get the residents to vote in favor of selling 1,000 acres of public land. Dre must figure out a way to get the residents to vote in favor of selling the land even though it is not in their best interest.
The first obstacle for Dre is to find a straw man, someone who would be willing to collect signatures. He settles on blue-collar worker Tyler Lee and his religious wife. The sale of the land is disguised as a righteous fight for faith and liberty. A “yes” vote would be God’s will and the American thing to do.
“The Coyotes of Carthage” provides a behind-the-scenes look at the scheming, cut throat techniques some campaign consultants might utilize. It illustrates how dark money will twist things so politicians get what they want. The story ends on Election Day and leaves you hanging. It is a very abrupt ending, which many may like, but I prefer more closure. If you enjoy politics you will like this novel.