BY: M. R. MORGAN
Sex and politics make a volatile combination in Sister-in-Law, a fast-paced romantic suspense novel that seems to echo today’s headlines. The ingenious plot is unique, yet it draws on mankind’s oldest story line.
A man’s sex drive is his terrible weakness. Or so Suzanne Dahlstrom learned the hard way. Sexually abused by men while growing up, Suzanne decides at an early age she will exact her revenge by exploiting that very weakness. She becomes a highly successful call girl, commanding thousands of dollars for services that were once taken from her by force.
Then one of Suzanne’s clients offers her a princely sum to seduce and marry the president’s younger brother. As the president’s sister-in-law, she’ll be in a perfect position to seduce the president himself, and when he is caught in bed with his own brother’s wife, he will be politically ruined. Suzanne accepts the challenge, and the bizarre plan begins well, until it suddenly goes terribly wrong, putting both Suzanne and the country in imminent peril.
If you’re a fan of J. D. Robb, Sandra Brown, or most any romantic suspense author, you’ll fall in love with Suzanne and find yourself unable to put her story down until the final, surprising twist.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Sister-in-Law by M. R. Morgan, Suzanne Dahlstrom is a child-incest survivor who grows up determined to never be at the mercy of men again. She learns quickly that men’s greatest weakness is sex, so she moves to New York and becomes a call girl, using this weakness to her advantage. Then one day she is approached by a client with a proposition. A group of conspirators wants to neutralize the new soon-to-be president. To do this, they want Suzanne to seduce and marry the man’s brother and then once the president has taken office, to seduce him as well, convinced that the resulting scandal of the president, a married man, being caught with his brother’s wife will effectively undermine any new policies he wants to put in place. They offer her a million dollars, and she reluctantly accepts. Everything goes according to plan—for a while—and then things get complicated.
The story is fast-paced, the storyline unique, and the characters endearing. This is one you will want to read again and again, just to catch what you missed the time before. Very well done.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Sister-in-Law by M. R. Morgan is the story of a young woman who was raped by her father when she was ten years old. The resulting trauma of that event, followed by her mother shooting her father to stop the rape, has given Suzanna some understandable mistrust of men, especially since her first foster father is not much better. When she grows up, Suzanne moves to New York and becomes a high-priced call girl, getting her own back against men. Then one day she is offered a million dollars to participate in a scheme to ruin the next president of the United States. Suzanne is apprehensive, but the million dollars makes it irresistible. She changes her last name, moves to San Francisco with the goal of seducing and marrying the president-to-be’s younger brother, and eventually, seducing the president himself. The group behind the scheme believes that the scandal, which would follow the president being caught with his brother’s wife, would neutralize him and thus he would be unable to make any significant changes while in office. But as usually happens, things do not go according to plan, and soon Suzanne discovers that she is in way over her head in a very dangerous game.
Sister-in-Law is well written, intense, fast-paced, and the plot has plenty of surprises. It will keep you turning pages from beginning to end.
Carl Bucholz, Jr., president of the National Rifle Association, looked out over the thousand or so member-delegates assembled from around the country at the Washington, DC Convention Center. He felt less than confident about how this unprecedented meeting might progress. But it was his job as president to move it forward, and that was what he was determined to do.
The meeting had only a single item on its agenda: What should be the NRA’s response to the anti-gun proposals that Patrick McNeil was certain to put forward once he was elected president?
The delegates assembled in Washington were intent on finding a way–any way–to prevent the catastrophe they believed McNeil’s election would represent.
Bucholz first welcomed everyone to Washington and to the special meeting. Then he got down to business.
“As you know,” Bucholz’s voice boomed through the microphone, the hum of a hundred conversations gradually diminishing, “the Democrats have nominated Patrick McNeil for president.”
At the sound of McNeil’s name, a chorus of boos and shouted obscenities threatened to drown out Bucholz’s remarks, and he again gaveled for order. He waited for relative quiet and continued:
“As you also know, Mr. McNeil is proposing several legislative and executive initiatives that would severely restrict our rights as citizens under the second amendment.” The volume of protest rose again, but Bucholz soldiered through it. “With congress about evenly divided between the parties, there is every chance that if Mr. McNeil is elected, those proposals will become law. And furthermore, because the Republican Party has seen fit to nominate a man who, while sympathetic to our cause, has little chance of defeating Mr. McNeil, we must assume a McNeil presidency is on the horizon.” More boos and shouts of obscenities. Bucholz ignored the din. “We are gathered here,” he said, “to decide how this organization should respond to that threat.”
Bucholz looked out over the assembly and hesitated–well aware this could be a messy business–before clearing his throat and announcing, “This matter is now open for debate and discussion. If you wish to speak, please so indicate by raising your hand and wait until a microphone can reach you.”
One after another, delegates offered their suggestions for consideration. Some were restrained (“Begin a new ad campaign”), others less so (“Filibuster the damn legislation to death”). But then a balding man in his early fifties, red-faced and angry, rose to his feet, grabbed the proffered mike, and offered his own remedy for Patrick McNeil’s anti-gun proposals.
“My name’s Lloyd Kilpatrick,” he began in stentorian tones that only barely penetrated the murmuring of the crowd, reflecting hundreds of private discussions. “I’m a delegate from East Tennessee. It’s my belief that when and if this asshole McNeil, in fact, gets elected and takes the positions and makes the proposals that President Buchholz here has suggested, it would be a direct attack on the Second Amendment of the American Constitution. That would amount to nothing short of treason!”
On Lloyd Kilpatrick’s shouting that last word, the murmuring in the hall suddenly ceased. He now had the delegates’ full attention. President Bucholz’s jaw dropped. It dropped farther as Kilpatrick continued. “Now, if someone in high office commits treason, there’s only two possible ways to deal with him. One way would be to convene the proper kind of tribunal, whatever that may be, and try him, convict him, and hang him.”
The murmuring began again, but this time its tone was quite different, excited rather than conversational.
“And the second way,” Kilpatrick went on, “the second way would be to skip the time and expense of such a trial, not to mention the possibility that some pantywaist court or jury might be suckered into an acquittal, and to shoot the sonofabitch now!”
The murmuring became louder and quickly turned into shouting, with several variations on both “He’s right!” and “He’s crazy!” To the delegates’ credit, most of the shouting was of the latter variety. Bucholz pounded his gavel for order, but to no avail.
Lloyd Kilpatrick’s voice rose above the general din to conclude, “Now I ain’t saying I favor one way or the other. I’m just pointing out the alternatives.”
But it was quite clear to Bucholz and everyone else which “solution” this fellow Kilpatrick favored. He just didn’t want to risk arrest for inciting a riot or conspiring to assassinate a–future–president.
President Bucholz did his best to restore order and to get the meeting back onto a more rational track. Whatever might be his personal opinion on Lloyd Kilpatrick’s two alternatives, he was smart enough to know the kind of public outcry that would result from headlines in the nature of “NRA Proposes Assassination of President,” or variations on that theme.
One just didn’t make such statements in public, at least not these days–the public was too skittish about that kind of thing.
So President Bucholz banged his gavel, shouted into his microphone for order, and finally as a last resort drew from a shelf on the lectern a small starter’s pistol and fired a blank round into the air. The pistol had been intended to be used as part of a demonstration later, but the president decided that there was a far greater need now.
That got everyone’s attention, even Lloyd Kilpatrick’s.
“That’s better,” Bucholz said when the crowd had quieted down and a semblance of order had been restored. “Now this is an open meeting, and we welcome comments and suggestions from anyone. But when it comes to the kind of thing that the last speaker suggested, I think we have to draw a line here, folks. We are not here to break any laws, or to propose that anyone else break them.”
Most of the delegates seemed to accept this, nodding in general accord with the president. Lloyd Kilpatrick, however, apparently was not through quite yet.
“I disagree, Mr. President,” he shouted. “When the laws are unjust, or they threaten to take away our freedom, our constitutional rights, the safety of our families, it is our patriotic duty to disobey those laws and to act in whatever way necessary to protect ourselves.”
The general murmuring began again, with Bucholz again gaveling for order, trying to shout over the din. The uproar was becoming louder, and it appeared a fight might soon break out between Kilpatrick and several other delegates near him.
Bucholz decided things had gone far enough. Again he could picture the headlines: NRA Meeting Ends in Brawl Over Assassination Proposal! He shouted into the microphone, “Would Security please escort Mr. Kilpatrick from the auditorium. He may return when he is prepared to keep his comments within the bounds of proper and lawful proposals.”
Two burly men dressed in military-style uniforms made their way toward Lloyd Kilpatrick. But the delegate from East Tennessee apparently recognized when he had made his point and should take his exit, so he walked out to the aisle, met the security men on their way to him, and left the hall quietly. Meanwhile, the meeting returned to its topic, with no one now willing to raise any issues that might suggest someone be shot, no matter how much they might agree with the theory that almost any problem could be solved at the point of a gun.
Next time I run for an office, Carl Bucholz, Jr. thought as the discussion continued, it’s gonna be for the damn Rotary Club.
© 2017 by M. R. Morgan
The Big Thrill Magazine:
“…a gripping thriller, written with care, skill, and a lawyer’s focus…[F]ast-paced and well knotted with plot twists and surprises…[T]he character development within the bildungsroman framework is enthralling…Sister-in-Law will enrich even the most discerning of nightstands before complementing a selective bookshelf.” ~ Azam Gill, in The Big Thrill, the Magazine of the International Thriller Writers.
The deck has always been stacked against Suzanne Dahlstrom. Born to alcoholic parents and raped by her father at age ten––her mother shooting him dead in a fit of rage before her eyes––Suzanne’s trust in men was shattered by the man she was supposed to be able to trust the most. Today, she’s out for revenge, taking whatever she can from every man she crosses. However, when approached by a powerful Washington insider with a scheme to take down the next president of the United States, she wants no part in it––that is, until she’s offered a $1,000,000 payday. Suzanne is an enchanting creature, neither black or white, enveloping all shades of gray. Boasting a distinctive storyline, well-conceived plot, and captivating characters, Sister-in-Law is an excellent read for the more mature reader. ~ Kris Miller, TopShelf Magazine
This is an excellent thriller, well worth the read. Mr. Morgan has conceived a fast-paced, highly engaging plot, with lots of twists and turns, intrigue and titillation to ensure that the reader does not want to put the book down. Moreover, this is a story that in today’s world of outing sexual harassment, and highly polarized, often vituperous, political debate, is very relevant. The writing is excellent, the chapters right-sized for easy reading. Sister-in-Law is the story of Suzanne Donahue, a beautiful woman who was sexually abused by men, including her own father, when she was growing up. Recognizing her effect on the opposite sex, she at first uses it to material advantage herself and get ahead in the world, but along the way comes to see her sexual charms as a way to take revenge on men. She moves to New York, where through third-hand contacts she eventually ends up working for a high-class escort service. She comes to the attention of a wealthy group of right-wing individuals who are very concerned that a progressive liberal candidate is likely to become the president in the upcoming elections. They concoct a devilish plot to discredit the President-to-be by maneuvering Suzanne to marry his younger brother, and then, as, the President’s sister-in-law, seduce him to create a political scandal to destroy him. Money is not an object: they offer to pay Suzanne a million dollars. Suzanne has a hard time deciding, and…but the reader must find out the rest for him or herself. I had great fun with this book. ~ Geza Tatrallyay, author of the TWISTED trilogy.
A. M. Potter:
First, full disclosure. I don’t follow US federal politics. Although I grew up in the US and Canada, I now live in Canada. However, none of that matters. Sister-in-Law is accessible to anyone and everyone. You don’t have to know US politics or love political/psychological thrillers to be captured by this novel. It draws you in—even if you’re oblivious to Washington DC. If you’ve shut out the Feds, disregard your past proclivities and dive into Sister-in-Law. Morgan’s plotline is clever without being unnecessarily circuitous. His prose is clear and precise; his characters’ motivations, easy to comprehend. However, he doesn’t spoon-feed you. He delivers exactly what you need. You fill in the rest. I’m not going to expand on the plotline (a troubled seductress becomes the president’s sister-in-law to get to the president himself—echoes of Marilyn Monroe, anyone), other than to say that the sister-in-law gets to her target. And that’s not a spoiler alert. It’s what happens along the way that counts. Enjoy the twists. Get your politics with a bang (double-entendre intended). You’ll be informed and entertained. What more could you want. ~A. M. Potter, Author of the Detective Eva Naslund Crime Series
“Morgan tells an intriguing tale of conspiracy and corruption at the highest levels and the innocent victims who get snared in their web. You can’t help rooting for Suzanne, a truly enchanting character. I couldn’t put it down.” ~ Pepper O’Neal, author of the award-winning Black Ops Chronicles series