I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.Stabbing in the Senate Series: Washington Whodunit #1
on November 15, 2015
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Life is good for Kit Marshall. She's a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.
Circumstances back Kit's claim of innocence, but her photograph has gone viral, and the heat won't be off until the killer is found. Well-loved though the senator was, suspects abound. Langsford had begun to vote with his conscience, which meant he was often at odds with his party. Not only had the senator decided to quash the ambitions of a major military contractor, but his likely successor is a congressman he trounced in the last election. Then there's the suspiciously dry-eyed Widow Langsford.
Kit's tabloid infamy horrifies her boyfriend's upper-crust family, and it could destroy her career. However, she and her free-spirited friend Meg have a more pressing reason to play sleuth. The police are clueless in more ways than one, and Kit worries that the next task on the killer's agenda will be to end her life.
Working and Writing on Capitol Hill
Many readers of Stabbing in the Senate have asked whether details in the book are true to life. Before my current job at the Library of Congress, I worked for almost three years in the United States Senate. When I wrote Stabbing in the Senate, I wanted to portray Congress as accurately as possible. That being said, a senator has never been murdered on Capitol Hill, so that part of the story is completely fictional!
I’m glad the setting of my first mystery novel was a familiar one. It was particularly convenient when I wrote scenes that took place inside popular Washington landmarks or hangouts. In an important scene, the main character Kit Marshall and her gal pal Meg interrogate a wily suspect, defense lobbyist Jeff Prentice at a popular Capitol Hill watering hole called Lounge 201 (now know as the 201 Bar). I’d frequented 201 as a Senate staffer and knew exactly how to describe a busy happy hour filled with young politicos. The exciting “chase” scene at the conclusion of the mystery occurs in the basement of the Capitol. When writing those critical pages, I walked the corridors during my lunch hour several times to make sure I captured each detail perfectly.
While my portrayal of working in a Senate office is reflective of my experiences, the characters in my book are fictional. Between my time in the Senate and my current job at the Library of Congress, I’ve worked on Capitol Hill for more than ten years. I’ve met hundreds of congressional staffers and Members of Congress. When I came up with the colorful characters featured in Stabbing in the Senate, I benefited from the considerable time I’ve spent working with these talented individuals. The personalities featured in my novels are artful amalgamations of those who work in Congress.
Stabbing in the Senate is a fun mystery about a congressional staffer turned amateur sleuth who is forced to solve the murder of her boss when she’s named as the prime suspect. It’s like “Madam Secretary” meets Nancy Drew. Politics is in the background of the story due to the setting. The book doesn’t make any political pronouncements and isn’t preachy in tone. But I did want to demonstrate that while Congress and Washington politicians are quite unpopular these days, working in D.C. is complicated business. Congressional staffers don’t earn high salaries and they work long hours. The vast majority of Capitol Hill employees believe the policies they espouse will make the country safer and more prosperous. I am continually impressed by the valor of those intentions. Through the lens of an entertaining mystery, it’s my hope that Stabbing in the Senate makes the inner workings of Congress more accessible to interested readers.
If you enjoyed Stabbing in the Senate, the next installment of the Washington Whodunit series is Homicide in the House, available in June 2016 from Camel Press.
Stabbing in the Senate by Colleen J. Shogan is the first book in the Washington Whodunit series. Kit is a Congressional staffer working for Senator Langsford. When she arrives to work early and finds his body, she becomes a suspect. With lots of motives and people you can’t trust, Kit is trying to find out who the murderer is – to get justice for Senator Langsford and to clear her name and keep her reputation intact.
I enjoyed this cozy mystery. I’ve visited Washington DC and have always been fascinated by the inner workings of the city. I felt the author did a really nice job of describing the settings and developing characters. I was intrigued with the story and wrapped up in all the possible suspects that I wasn’t sure who the guilty party was until very late in the story. I liked Kit. She was a character who was easy to relate to and she made for a good amateur sleuth. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, and I hope I am fortunate enough to get to review it as well.