When the rumor that the recently executed prisoner was already dead before he received his lethal injection threatens the President’s reelection, Richard Michaelson conducts a secret investigation and discovers connections between the Pentagon, a Japanese computer firm, and Washington society.
Government jargon and covert action abound in this nicely detailed, intriguing tale about the possibilities of rigging elections via computer. Seeing surprise on the face of the doctor who administers the fatal injection to the first man put to death by the U.S. government in more than a generation, a reporter asks officials what was unusual about the execution. Her queries reverberate to the FBI, a special assistant to the President and a public relations consultant to a Japanese company that specializes in computer applications. Headed by former diplomat Richard Michaelson (last seen in Washington Deceased ), a commission is formed to determine if the execution was bungled and why. The investigation follows a circuitous route pointing to a secret Army study of computerized election results that involved the condemned man. In this briskly paced narrative, Bowen gives readers a highly satisfying peek at the machinations of bureaucratic Washington and the varied concerns of government leaders as they try to unravel a serious internal problem.