Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano: Review

Clare Vengel is new to the police force and eager to get out into the field. She's handed an opportunity in the form of an undercover assignment. Pose as a student to gain information about a secret political society: Society for Political Utopia. A high profile politician has been poisoned and a SPU calling card left at the scene. Could the murderer be one of the overachieving students or maybe their sleazy professor? Clare joins the class but will she get close enough to find out the truth?

Okay, so I have a few beefs with the characters of Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano. Let's get them out of the way first.

Clare: She's the protagonist of the story but the book is written in short chapters from several points of view. I never got a good feel for Clare because of this.
Clare's Handler: Dude, what is your problem? He has no faith in Clare and when she wants help he's all, "My sarcasm, let me show it to you." If he really believed "if you fail, I fail" wouldn't he be more helpful? He needs a good butt kicking.
Matthew: Sleeping with your students = Gross.
Those Students:  So blase about murder. So blase about the possibility of one of them being a murderer. Friendship. Sex. Love. They're like the kids from Village of the Damned. Maybe it's their studies, but they are too young to be so jaded. It made me sad.

Emotion is irrelevant, it is not our nature.
If you like a mix of politics and murder, Dead Politician Society might be for you. I did end up liking it. It has good pacing and an interesting plot. Even though there is a number of points of view, Spano tries to get into their heads and make them as three dimensional as she can. Yes, Matthew is a sleazeball but he's a sleazeball with depth. I'd like to see more of Clare in the next book. Will she still be as approachable as a porcupine? Will she get any better at undercover work (and maybe use less questionable tactics)?

So even though the characters often got on my nerves, Dead Politician Society keep me guessing and I wanted to keep reading until the end. I'd like to see where Spano goes with this series.

Recommended to readers of crime fiction who don't mind swears.

I picked this one up from the new section of the library. Robin Spano did a guest post for my blog that you can read here.


  1. Hm, this does sound interesting, but I do wonder why the kids are so blase about murder.

  2. Just thought I'd let you know if anyone is buying from the Book Depository, you can get a 10% discount code on their facebook page:

  3. I said, or maybe just thought, the same thing about the students who didn't seem to make much of the murder, and about the lack of depth in the story. But I did nevertheless like the book as well, particularly certain characters and parts, and I got enough of Clare to want to read more of her. I'm looking forward to the second book (and the third!).

  4. I struggled with this one too. I felt so detached from Clare and thought her methodology and motives quite concerning. I liked it but this is one series I probably will not continue.

  5. I think I might try this one, it sounds like something I might like

  6. Okay, I don't know if the book is for me (not that much of a crime fan, book-wise. TV is entirely different).

    *but* that picture totally freaks me out!

  7. It was also tough initially for me to get used to the switch from each character per chapter - but eventually, I ended up really enjoying this one. I loved the cover, too (I think I called it a la graphic novel or old Hollywood movie posters). And for some reason, although each character had some annoying characteristic, I ended up really liking them all. I'm looking forward to the next one!

  8. Great review, Chris!

    I thought Clare was a bit inert. She could have been more actively researching the crime. But it was a fun read.


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