James Dette has created a colorful and authentic portrait in Rollmops, A Novel of Local Politics, in the process demonstrating a keen ear for dialogue and the details that make up diverse characters. In Hoboken politician, Johnny Kavanaugh, Dette has created a familiar protagonist whose folly and trials, the reader eagerly follows. Anyone who's ever attended a council meeting or been involved with local politics, will recognize the humor and classic elements of this scene:
"'Of course,' came a voice from the rear. 'The realtors are going to cash in.' There was a murmur of agreement accompanied by the tapping of the president's pencil.
'Please,' said Maurice. 'Everyone will have a chance to speak. Mr. Davidson, please get to the point.' He wanted to avoid a long speech supporting the project.
'Thank you. I will.' Sensing the mood of the audience, Davidson said, 'I just want to object to the Councilman Kavanaugh's characterization of the developers as greedy.'
Without waiting for Maurice's recognition, Johnny responded, 'As my mother would say, Mr. Davidson, 'Those developers would skin a gnat for its tallow.'"
Dette is currently at work on a novel titled, The Tree in Calle Sulaco, set in the mid 1960s that will combine politics and love, American oil interests and indigenous rights; its climax "portends events in Latin America for decades to come," Dette has written. According to Dette, his work for the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Ecuador "provided the grist for this novel."
He resides in Weehawken, New Jersey, and has published travel articles, commentaries and opinion pieces for such venues as The New York Times, Street News and The Record. Rollmops is his first novel and is available through Full Court Press and Amazon.com.