The Temptation Of Victor Galanti

by William Rowe
270 pages,
ISBN: 0771077521

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Me Victor You Jane
by Heather Robertson

THIS BOOK begins as a political thriller. Victor Galanti, a charismatic young United States congressman with presidential ambitions, has become embroiled in a kiddieporn scandal that threatens to destroy his career and his marriage. To ride out the storm, Galanti is despatched to Newfoundland, his birthplace: he is the son of a Newfoundland woman and an American serviceman who deserted her before Victor was born While cooling his heels in St. John's, Galanti becomes chummy with, the premier of Newfoundland, Neil Godwin, a feisty schemer given to a lot of the rantin' and roarin' Newfoundlanders are expected to go in for.

It's a promising start for a dirty underbelly novel full of machination and sleaze, and William Rowe's years in the muck of Newfoundland politics ideally equip him for this kind of story. However, Victor Galanti meets Godwin's sister Jane: The dress she was in was loose, but its fabric was still forced to stretch over several firm curved surfaces. She was high-hipped and slender-waisted, and her legs were perfect.

Oh, oh. Is this going to turn into another priapic Playboy romance, a soppy, sentimental wet dream of slender ankles, trim breasts, and full lips? Yes. Victor gets such a hard-on for the beautiful Jane he forgets all about the scandal, his wife, and the U.S. Congress. So much for the plot. Too bad. For all his cliches, Rowe isn't much of a romance writer. The beautiful Jane is smart, fit, feminist, sexually aggressive, sensitive, understanding, and a crashing bore. It's a mystery how a woman so terrifyingly capable' should fall in love with an uptight sleazebag congressman who talks like an Ontario undertaker.

Victor Galanti is a pompous ass, a weak, selfish, hypocritical wimp, neither wicked enough to be fascinating nor attractive enough to be sympathetic. He even makes love lying on his back. Rowe doesn't show us enough of Galanti in public to persuade us he is even remotely presidential material, therefore Galanti's, schemes to legitimize his American parentage and his crisis of conscience over his political ambitions are unconvincing. Rowe inexplicably forgoes the chance to set part of the novel in the heat and hustle of Capitol Hill; he, misses the American style and American slang that would give the novel a ring of authenticity.

Rowe tries to get the story back on track by introducing tantalizing plot threads that unravel almost immediately. The' Pornab scandal evaporates, the CIA comes and goes, a murder threat is quickly solved, and only one problem remains: Will Victor Galanti give up the presidency for The Woman He Loves? It's disappointing that Rowe didn't take more care with his plot and characters. His writing is energetic and colloquial, he can be funny and profane, although Victor and Jane spend too much, time giggling into their pillows and sometimes the profane is simply vulgar. Rowe has a special sensitivity to the tensions between men and women the loneliness and guilt of a dying marriage, the jitters of a new affair, the terror a woman, feels confronting a sexual attack. Rowe is an intelligent writer with a lot to say; he needs to rely less on potboiler conventions and Newfie charm and trust to his own originality.


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