Book Jacket


rank 5333
word count 11729
date submitted 10.03.2009
date updated 10.03.2009
genres: Fiction, Thriller
classification: universal


Bartholomew Fox

A tie in the House of Representatives means the next President will be decided by one man .... a man nobody knows!


DEADLOCK combines domestic politics with international action-adventure and intrigue. With recent elections determined by razor-thin margins, readers will find this nail-biting story a thrill a minute. A tied Electoral College. Long-time enemies Russia and China at war. The Republican side favors Russia, the Democrats favor China. The British and Russian ambassadors plot to swing the election their way. And above it all, incumbent Republican President Jeffrey Norwalk pulling a few strings of his own as the lame duck president, using his secret weapon, the Keystone Files. And caught in this ever-tightening vice of hypocrisy, greed, ambition and corruption: a 29-year-old dreamer from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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    Meanwhile, the forbidding walls of the Kremlin were topped with snow. Inside, the president met in secret session with his closest advisors to discuss the current deterioration of relations between Moscow and Beijing. Also on the agenda was the position of the American government. Nothing was decided. The conversation throughout centered on monumental “ifs.” It was determined that the group would meet again the next morning in secret session to discuss the outcome of the American election.

    Back in his office, the president sent a top secret scrambled cable to the Russian ambassador to the United States, Fyodor Z. Kornilevski. It read in part, “You will notify us, as previously requested, of any and all significant developments tonight and tomorrow morning. Owing to the extreme delicacy of the international situation at the present time, we require that you do anything you are able to do – including extreme measures – to forward our position in this matter.” Then the president, after a brief meeting with his foreign minister, went home to bed.

    The winter sun had set in Moscow.


In Cairo that afternoon an important CIA agent met one of his operatives in a little-known bar off Marigalzu Avenue. Information was received and orders given as the senior agent mopped the perspiration off his forehead with a white handkerchief. Then they talked just like two ordinary persons who might be interested in the latest political developments in Egypt.


    In the Middle East at this moment there were some interesting political decisions being formulated. On this day there had been a summit meeting of most of the heads of state of Arab nations to discuss how they would react to events occurring in Russia, the United States and Communist China. What this meant to everyone in the world was the ultimate destination of the vast Middle Eastern oil reserves necessary to everyone in the world, and certainly vital to any nation that hoped to remain dominant.

    In Paris, the president of France met briefly with his minister for foreign affairs in the Elysée Palace. Back in the ministry building, the minister dictated a dispatch to his ambassador in Washington. When he left his office it was night and he was already late for a reception at the Polish Embassy.

In London, the foreign minister had just concluded the dictation of a similar note to his government’s representative in Washington before heading out to meet his wife for a concert at Royal Albert Hall.


    In all centers of political and military power, every practiced eye was directed to the United States on this night. These eyes always regarded the United States with close attention, but every fourth November that attention turned into zealous scrutiny. For all day long in the United States was General Election Day. No one at home or abroad had been able to make any decisions all day. Individuals waited, emperors, princes, kings and presidents and their ministers of state the world around watched silently, their policies in abeyance; armies stood quietly; governments paused to observe while America voted.

    The excitement and tension in an American election came not during the polling, as it does in unstable countries, but in the tabulation of the votes. The artificial drama that came from merely counting votes seemed to grow more intense with each passing election.

    By 2 A.M., there was no declared winner. Almost everyone in the United States not yet asleep was watching television. People who didn’t ordinarily watch TV had put down their books or esoteric magazines to sit goofy-eyed inches from their sets. Even honeymooning couples found something more important than themselves – on TV. No one in America had ever lived through what was happening.

    The bleary-eyed anchor on CNN was speaking, listening into his earpiece.

    “I’ve just been informed that our computer has predicted the outcome of the presidential race in Oklahoma, New Jersey and California, the last states to come in,” he said. The camera cut to each state’s figures on the tabulation board. Checkmarks appeared suddenly by a candidate’s name. The camera then cut to the master board that showed cumulative popular voting and Electoral College tallies. The anchor’s voice spoke over the picture before the camera cut back to him.

    “According to our figures, and I don’t believe what I’m saying, there appears to be a tie for president!” As he said those words, he imagined a great breathless hush spreading across the land. “We are having all our computer predictions checked to be sure we haven’t made a mistake.”  His voice was rushed and excited. “The Electoral College is deadlocked!” he said emotionally. “There is no winner!

    He called on two experts to help him explain to the American people the peculiar legal technicality that could produce such an unheralded, unexpected and exasperating deadlocked election.

    The experts sat somber-faced before the cameras and explained that without a majority in the Electoral College, neither candidate could win the election. Of course, one candidate was ahead of the other in the popular vote, but that didn’t matter.

Most of their listeners had heard of the Electoral College at one time or another, but most didn’t know what role it played.

        “According to the Constitution,” was a phrase Americans heard over and over all night. The experts explained that the Constitution directed the House of Representatives to vote to determine who would be president. Each state would have only one vote, so small states suddenly became very powerful. Excited reporters and commentators were discussing all the ramifications on television. Congress was not to meet until January. Who would be the president-elect?  How would the quiet transfer of power that normally characterized an American election be carried out?  No one knew.




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grkearney wrote 1782 days ago


When I go to the book store, I usually read the first page or two of a book. If I don't care what happens next, then I put it back down. You've got me hooked here. I'm curious what Matt is voting on and what Norwalk wants from him. Nice work. I would encourage you to go through the MS with a fine tooth comb and try to cut out as much needless description as possible. Matt's thoughts about the chicken sandwich are pretty irrelevant, but take up a lot of space. There were a few points where I felt that way.

If you ever have the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my book, Run: A novel about one man's quest to save this country from itself. It's an entirely different type of political thriller. I welcome thoughts / feedback. Keep up the great work.

Kind regards,

G.R. Kearney

Karen Bessey Pease wrote 1866 days ago

Hello Bartholomew,

This MS is very nicely done! I would find myself having no trouble reading this from start to finish in one sitting. I saw just a few ypos, but that is something easily fixed with an edit, and doesn't detract from the story line.

I've always enjoyed political intrigue, and you apparently have the knack for telling it. I'm not certain yet whether Matt will be a protagonist you hate to love, or love to hate.... but when I buy this at the bookstore, I'll be able to make up my mind! :O)

Wishing you the best in your endeavors here on authonomy. On to my shelf.