Dark Money: Larry Thompson
“The political arena is one whose members operate without morals and scruples.” Their primary goal is getting as many votes from their constituents in any manner possible. Money, campaign donations and fundraising is at the head of the list and no matter what they have to do the more they get the more they hope they will win enough votes and have enough money to fund their elections. But, not everyone is above board and although candidates can get money from organizations, individual donators and voluntary campaigns, they have to state in their taxes the amounts they get but never have to divulge the donors. Dark Money takes us inside the political minds of several whose primary concern is to get billions as a result of a fundraiser that will leave one dead and two wounded. Why would anyone risk danger by having a fundraiser where those attending can carry guns and wear masks to hide their identities? Why would this same candidate not listen to his security detail when they claim this is dangerous and someone might get killed? A fundraiser that will change it all for some and enlighten you the reader to work with our main character Jack Bryant to follow the money and catch a dangerous killer.
A phone call will start of the action and a prologue that sets the stage for the drama that unfolds as Sergeant Jack Bryant and Corporal Walt Frazier form a lifetime friendship when the author takes us deep into the war zone in Saudi Arabia and one man is severely injured and another makes sure he lives. Jackson Bryant is a millionaire plaintiff attorney who never charges his clients. He works with those that are less fortunate, live in shelters and have little or no money. A phone call from Walt Frazier will not only connect him to one man who he is about to defend but rekindle a friendship when asked to help with the governor’s detail during a fundraiser that will prove deadly.
Governor Rob Lardner from Texas, Oscar Hale the man who opened his home to have this fundraiser in his mansion and fundraiser Kevin O’Connell all play an integral part in what is about to unfold. Jack Bryant is a lawyer and Tarrant County Reserve Deputy who ahs been asked to help with the security detail for this fundraiser. Edward Hale is Oscar’s brother and will attend the fundraiser but lines have been drawn, the two brothers are worth a few hundred million and their money comes from oil. But, counting proven reserves they are worth each one 80 billion. Since it is Hale’s house and the security detail suggested that they do not have a costume party for Halloween and guns allowed, the governor who believes in the second amendment and the right to bare arms got his way but would soon learn the err of his ways.
The Alamo Defenders area group living near the Pecos River and their job is to defend their land and as they said in the past The Alamo. Miriam Van Zandt is an expert marksman and can hit a target right in the center every time. Her history is told in chapter two and her relationship with her father is solid as he enlists her help take on this job. Colonel Van Zandt, as he is called received a phone call from an old army buddy enlisting his help. Fees quoted, the job spelled out and Miriam would take on killing one and wounding two others. But, just who is funding this kill and this job you won’t believe. Money is powerful and when things go wrong and your campaign might falter because someone changes sides you never know what will happen. Dark Money is the word or term used to describe funds that are given to nonprofit organizations mainly 501 (c) 4 social welfare and 501 (c) 6 trade association groups that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, unions, individuals and spend funds to help sway elections and influence them. They are not required to disclose the names of the donors and here lies where the mystery/thriller murder begins. Spending by organizations that do not disclose their donors has increased. Politically active nonprofits mainly the two 501’s listed have become a major force in federal elections over the last three cycles. The words or term “Dark money,” is often referenced to this category of political spender since these groups do not have to disclose the sources of their funding although a small group does disclose their donors by choice or in response to specific circumstances.
The Citizens United and McCutcheon, made it legal for these organizations to receive these funds as long as they do not interface or interact with the candidates in any way. The reason the governor decided to have a costume ball and fundraiser was to create an air of anonymity. No one can look behind the mask of anyone present and no one knows that made what pledge and for how much. When Hale rose to the mike to begin the evening he reached into his pocket and pulled out a huge check for ten million dollars. Oscar and Ellen Hale wrote that check and Edward would match it even though he decided to back the other side and not that of his Republican brother. Just as a huge pledge was made a loud pop sounded and the governor was down and the security team went to get him and his wife to safety leaving Edward Hale open for the killer’s next shot. His was fatal and then O’Connell was wounded as well. Just who was the target and why was Hale killed is more than just a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The police would be all over this but Jack would be appointed special prosecutor to investigate the murder, form a team to find out what happened as the detail and security team are up for scrutiny, Walt was placed on suspension for negligence and handling the situation wrong. While handling this case Jack handles the case for one of the men who lives in the shelter near by Ike. Ike’s music was stolen by a famous singer and bandleader and he wanted the royalties and wanted it known that the songs on this man’s album were written by him. The link between this man’s songs and the death of Edward Hale will intertwine as Jack with the help of Ike visits a bar called Trombone and a man named Bernard who just might have some answers they won’t expect. Just who is behind the murder is not yet revealed but a man who is a fence working with Bernard in a business quite lucrative to both is behind the murder in a different way. Contracts are put out and different you might say vendors are approached and a man named Cross approached Van Zandt and the rest was placed in the hands of Miriam who never expected the governor’s chauffeur to shoot her on the leg and the cameras to catch a great shot of her. Never figuring she would get caught when the law came down on the compound and the Alamo Defenders, needless to say the Colonel did not bend an inch.
With his girl friend and now fiancé Colby, his computer hacking genius and soon to play for the Dallas Cowboys son J.D., Walt and a police department at his fingertips Jack just might crack the case wide open and find out who was behind the murder and why.
Campaigns are run by people who hope to gain funds, support and votes for their candidate but one man wanted more than just for the win for the governor. Sometimes there are other things that come into play as Jack, Walt, and J.D. travel the country to find the answers. With J.D. remembering two men that he saw and then following him when trying to get back to his hotel, author Larry Thompson lets readers know just how far someone will to go get what he/she wants and at any cost.
Just who was behind the murder? What happens when they go on the attack of the Alamo Defenders camp? What happens when they question Miriam will she tell them what they need to know? Who stands to win and who stands to lose if the truth comes out and why? Greed, power, money, revenge, betrayals and political gain are all at stake in this powerful novel that could be ripped from the headlines as you hear the candidates and their ads and listen to their voices as they too will say and do anything to win.
Dark Money: Wonder which candidates it applies to? A cast of characters that are original, intertwine and work their magic together to find the reasons behind the Dark Money and who wanted Edward Hale gone in a plot that will mystify readers until the dramatic and electrifying ending. J.D. and Colby add to the storyline as having his son in the courtroom, able to project videos and photos using his computer skills and Colby’s one simple sentence seeing something no one else did, author Larry Thompson scores high marks and Five Golden Stars with Dark Money.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth. Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fundraiser dressed as a cat burglar–wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape. jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack The Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case-but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fundraiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre. dark Money is a thriller, a mystery and an expose of the corruption of money in politics caused by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.