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One in the Chamber


One in the Chamber

He watched as the blood ran out of the Senator’s body. The macabre moment would be interrupted by the arrival of the authorities storming into the Senate chamber.

Cameron Leann was an Iowa native loitering in his post-collegiate life until he learned about an opportunity to serve as an intern for a senior Iowa senator. He relocates to Washington, DC, and lives in a shared apartment with a roommate with whom he rarely interacts. His daily routine consists more of appearing busy than actually working. The monotony in his life begins to disappear when he meets Liz Frost. Liz engages Cam in conversation and introduces him to her friends, who are familiar with the glad-handing and backstabbing of the nation’s capital.

"As the storyline progresses at a steady pace, the tension continues to build and build to an exceptional denouement that will leave the reader spellbound."

Liz is currently dating Charlie James. Charlie works for a senator who demeans him with scut work and often denigrates him. Randy Lancaster serves as an intern for his uncle, their relationship resembling a powder keg capable of going off at any moment. Lisa Stoltz is a diligent staffer for a maverick Florida senator who, while well-meaning, often overworks her team. The frustrating environment of performing thankless tasks for ungrateful bosses leads to a seemingly offhanded joke about killing one’s boss.

As Cam attempts to ingratiate himself with Liz and her friends, he witnesses the senators in action. Cam sees how Charlie’s boss portrays himself as a moderate Republican from the south, but in private he reveals his true nature. The tense relationship between Randy and his uncle is on regular display for Cam. The volatility inside the Beltway only threatens to magnify with a looming presidential election. Emotions are already approaching a fever pitch when the lame-duck administration plans to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Cam and his cohorts have a ringside seat to the circus set to unfold. As the nomination hearings become contentious, a plan is hatched that will have profound consequences not just for Cam and his new friends, but possibly for the country.

ONE IN THE CHAMBER is a dramatic mystery wherein the crime has already occurred at the story’s inception, but the compelling nature of the narrative brings the reader along for the chaotic journey --- from the conspiracy’s hatching to its commission. Cameron Leann is far more complex than his neophyte status would indicate. His personality takes on different forms when he interacts with others; he can be a caring friend or an aloof boyfriend, a dutiful employee or a shiftless slacker. His main counterpart is Liz Frost. Cam is infatuated with Liz, but despite her occasional flirtations, he views their relationship as platonic. A layer of menace lies just below the surface of Cam, each joke and smile concealing his dark nature. Is he a friend or a manipulator? The characters are multidimensional and interesting.

As the storyline progresses at a steady pace, the tension continues to build and build to an exceptional denouement that will leave the reader spellbound. The controlled chaos of democracy in action is laid bare in Robin Peguero’s thrilling novel.

Reviewed by Philip Zozzaro on April 13, 2024

One in the Chamber
by Robin Peguero