Condor One by John Simpson

The Democratic Party’s 2012 nominee for President, David J. Windsor, and America are equally shocked when he is outted by his opponent just six weeks before the Fall election. Following his heart, David chooses honesty over media spin and overcomes the obstacle to win the election.

Despite that success, dark forces around the world begin to plot against him, and President Windsor’s security is a must. Inside and outside the White House, Secret Service Agent Shane Thompson becomes the President’s shadow, always present and silent, ever vigilant.

As the two men grow closer, Shane does far more than just his duty – he becomes as vital to David’s happiness as he is to the President’s health. Together they realize they must find a way to balance the President and the Agent against David and Shane before stress and responsibility tear them apart.

Imagine a world where the American people have just elected their first gay President. Can you picture it? What would happen in the United States if such an event were to come about? What would be the world’s reaction?

In Condor One, author John Simpson answers the “what ifs” by combining both the promise of a not-too-distant future possibility of a gay President with political reality to write a fast paced story with plenty of high drama, intrigue and action, plot twists and unexpected surprises, and with hot manlove thrown into the mix for good measure.

I began reading this story with much curiosity. The premise of the story, America’s first openly gay President, and a love of political fiction were both drawing cards for me. And overall l was not left wanting.

According to his website bio, Mr. Simpson has lived many professional lives, in addition to his present incarnation as an author. It is quite apparent that he draws upon his past professional experiences in the military, law enforcement and protection and the federal government to write an authentic glimpse into the day-to-day life of fictitious President David J. Windsor. In many ways, this story is frenetic in its rhythm just as I imagine is the life of any sitting President. Mr. Simpson does a very good job of relaying to the reader the feel of what a day in the life of the President would be.

Condor One also provides a sense of political realism in detail based on what I suspect is an insider’s knowledge of how things unfold within the walls of the White House and the Oval Office and how the various agencies of the federal government interact with one another and with the Office of The President. In reading this story it is clear that Mr. Simpson is privy to the inner workings of the American political system and has a sound knowledge of the issues, both domestic and foreign. The issue of a gay President is interwoven within the overall plot and provides for a good portion of the political cloak and dagger that takes place in the story.

The story is written in the first person point of view of the main character – President Windsor. The persona of David Windsor as President and leader is very well developed and we get an intimate view of the world, including of Secret Service Agent Shane Thompson, through the President’s eyes. Where I felt the characterization fell short was in the exploration of the characters of David and Shane as men.

The relationship between President Windsor and his Secret Service close-in bodyguard Shane Thompson is also written with a sense of realism. Both President and bodyguard are über alpha males that have attained the pinnacle of their respective chosen callings and are deeply committed to their jobs and to service. Given the nature of the President’s life, they don’t have many free moments to be alone together and when they do come together, at first, it is to have sex and not make love. The emotional side of the relationship does evolve rather quickly owing to circumstances that are not out of the ordinary for this particular President and his bodyguard and by the end of the story David and Shane as lovers and partners begin to emerge. I did have some difficulty with the dialogue between these two characters as it felt somewhat stunted and awkward at times. Nonetheless their sex scenes are indeed sweaty and hot and I was not disappointed.

Mr. Simpson is a good writer of political fiction and I believe that his strength in Condor One is that of a master plotter. I usually pride myself on figuring out what happens next early on in any given story but there were a number of surprises in this one that caught me completely off-guard only adding to my sense of anticipation.

Condor One provides a good mix of the politics of being gay in America with high political drama, intrigue and action for a timely and entertaining story. While I felt there were some weaknesses in the characterizations and in the dialogue, these did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. I will be reading more of Mr. Simpson’s titles.

Condor One by John Simpson is available at Dreamspinner Press.

NOTE: This review was originally published online by Rainbow Reviews.

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