Date, S. V.

Political Fiction
Cover Image Smokeout (2000)
From Publishers Weekly
In this edgy, ripped-from-the-headlines novel, there's a crucial vote on Big Tobacco coming up in the Florida legislature, and the outcome will decide whether or not tobacco companies can be legally sued for damages. At the center of this legislative hurricane is State Senator Dolly Nichols, whose principled stand on individual rights has always prompted a pro-tobacco voting record. But that's not good enough for Bartholomew Simons, president and CEO of Roper-Joyner Holdings (RJH), who wants to make sure that his tobacco company in particular comes out the winner. He also needs to save his own buttDthere's an incriminating memo circulating with his name on it, and he wants it destroyed. The search for the memo is played out against an orgy of arm-twisting, backstabbing, blackmailing and backroom lobbying, involving a cast of media hustlers, a female lobbyist with Playboy pictures in her past and libidinous legislators. A baker's dozen of subplots converge in a wild and woolly finale that teeters on the edge of farce. But thanks to Date's animated characters, who are quirky without being cartoonish, and impeccable narrative timing, the fast-moving plot never veers out of control. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Cover Image Black Sunshine (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
After skewering Big Tobacco (Smokeout) and the Disney empire (Deep Water), lefty journalist Date takes on Florida Republican election dramas past and present, vying with fellow Sunshine State satirists like Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen in this thoroughly over-the-top novel of political intrigue. A gubernatorial candidate dies in what appears to be a fishing accident and is replaced by a former governor's son, Bub Billings, a George W.-like clown who "can't read a TelePrompTer" but surges ahead in the polls anyway. When the GOP bosses find out Bub has a mind of his own, particularly on environmental matters, he gets pushed off a yacht (appropriately named Soft Money) and is replaced by his envious, conniving younger brother, Percy. Murphy Moran, a down-on-his-luck political consultant enlisted by the Democrats to get incriminating photos of Bub frolicking with half-clad "Victory Hostesses" on the Soft Money, ends up fishing him out of the water instead. The two then piece together the convoluted GOP plot and try to get the information to the proper authorities. Other characters include the slatternly secretary of state, Clarissa Highstreet, a dead ringer for Katherine Harris; conflicted state finance director Toni Johnson, who helps Murphy and Bud by exposing some major GOP corruption; and eco-friendly vigilante Randy Romer. Along with the politicians, big business (especially a shady company called Petron), a gullible media and a clueless electorate get what's coming to them in this timely farce. Though at moments alarmingly sexist, it should have Michael Moore fans cackling with recognition and glee. (Oct. 14) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Cover Image Speed Week (1999)
From Publishers Weekly
Set on Florida's Racing Riviera during "Speed Week"Athe celebrated annual running of the NASCAR Daytona 500Athis zany hardcover debut by a veteran Florida journalist (Final Orbit) is an unabashed ripoff of fellow journalist Carl Hiaasen's razor-sharp spoofs on life among the high-rise condos and titty bars of South Florida. Here, the action turns on the plight of sleazy Nick Van Horne, middle-aged speedway heir, and his widowed stepmother, Joanna (one year his junior), who are scheming to build a Raceworld theme park on the beach. Nick's estranged wife, Barbie, a former nude poster girl now a self-styled bunny-hugger, is suing to stop them from defiling nesting grounds of endangered sea turtles. Stepmom gives Nick 50 Gs to have Barbie bumped off, but dimwitted Nick decides to find a cut-rate hitman. This ill-considered plan escalates into a Monty Python fiasco as Nick and his money-grubbing girlfriend try to contract a biker Neanderthal and a dopey beach bum pornographer. Factor in an opportunistic crystal-gazer, assorted pool-hustling babes in thong bikinis, a state legislator on the take and good-neighbor Nolin, a lawyer who has a voyeuristic fixation on long-nippled, long-legged Barbie. Date brazenly (but respectfully) pays tribute to the character of Skint, Hiaasen's memorable character, in the persona of chimerical Randall Romer, a former state attorney, ex-navy SEAL war hero who metamorphoses into an avenging crusader, using a trained mako shark named Bruce to exact retribution on eco-despoiling tourists. Taking on Hiaasen's domain is a bold move, and Date's version of dystopic Florida isn't as masterfully styled, though readers may enjoy the plentiful erotica and the antics of these goofy gold diggers.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Cover Image Deep Water (2001)
From Publishers Weekly
Corporate America takes a beating in Date's latest tale of free enterprise run amok (after Speed Week and Smokeout), and anyone familiar with Carl Hiaasen will recognize the caustic, over-the-top, sometimes slapstick fallout. In an alternate-universe Orlando, Whipple World is Disney, where, as David Bowie once famously sang, "Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow." Only here the Mouse, in roman … clef fashion, takes the form of a cartoon muskrat named Morty. Ernest Warner, disillusioned reporter, and Emma Whipple, the park founder's great-niece, know something fishy is going on at the amusement park and its attendant "resort community," Serenity, but aren't sure what. They just know that anyone asking questions seems to quietly disappear. Date wants to tackle everything at once in this extended polemic: the marketing machines of big business, which through merchandising create phony needs; the acquisition of the media by conglomerate interests and the subsequent replacement of reportage with Chamber of Commerce-friendly fluff; the dangers of spin and propaganda in a culture that relies increasingly upon the media to tell it what to believe. The result is a plot weighed down by didacticism and a cast of villains and rogues who lack dimension. At their worst, characters revert to stereotype, as in the offensive case of the novel's sole Asian character, who says "l" instead of "r" in hackneyed fashion. Wading bravely into the deep end of satire, the narrative may sometimes seem about to founder, but Date's hero and heroine are eminently likable, and his writing is crisp throughout.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Non-Fiction - Government & Biography
Cover Image Quiet Passion: A Biography of Bob Graham (2004)
From Publishers Weekly
Veteran Florida journalist and novelist Date (Final Orbit) details both why Graham, a two-term governor and three-term senator, has been such a popular politician in the Sunshine State-and why he has not fulfilled expectations for higher office. While Date emphasizes Graham's reserved, deliberate nature, what also comes through is the senator's ability to succeed using unconventional methods: e.g., while running for governor in 1977, he devised the idea of "workdays," when he would spend a day doing an ordinary job, a campaign strategy that, Date explains, Graham took seriously-and one that he has continued while serving as senator. He's also known for singing at campaign rallies. Date is generally positive about Graham's career, emphasizing his environmental record as governor and his important role as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee after September 11. But Date casts a critical glance at Graham's support for the death penalty and his stance against returning Elián Gonzalez back to Cuba-both positions that Date surmises might have been taken less out of conviction than with an eye toward Florida voters. Date also devotes a chapter to Graham's notebooks-in which the senator dutifully records his every move. It's an unexplained quirk that the media has jumped on whenever Graham has been considered for national office. Graham was the first Democratic candidate to drop out of the 2004 presidential race. Tarcher is hoping for a vice-presidential slot for Graham; otherwise it's hard to see a national market for this well-done bio.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cover Image Jeb: America's Next Bush (2007)
From Publishers Weekly
Love Jeb Bush or hate him, Dáte writes, but "if you want to see what he would do with the nation, take a good look at what he did here in Florida." Though the Palm Beach Post reporter admits he has a bit of an axe to grind after covering the younger Bush for eight years, he says it's on principle alone, as a critic of Jeb's autocratic ruling style, not his policies. As Dáte portrays it, Jeb Bush for president is less a question of "if" than "when." Yet the book is worth close attention regardless of what Jeb decides. Bush's personal story—his youth; his business relationships in Miami before taking office (which weren't always savory); his years spent running a highly secretive administration, obsessed with tax cuts and school vouchers—is a masterful lesson in political ambition. Most compelling is Dáte's examination of the constantly evolving history of the hypercompetitive, hyperpowerful Bush family dynasty; how the family has amassed, wielded and abused political power and entitlement; and how it has evolved after that power and entitlement have been transferred from one generation of leaders to the next. B&w photos. (Feb. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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