In his second novel, Roger Fleming takes on the dual beasts of DC lobbying and the dark side of campaign finance. His insider's view alternates between the ethically threadbare lobbying world of the 1990s to a meth-addled campaign trail in 2006 that together determine the outcome of one of America's closest and most consequential U.S. Senate elections of the early 21st Century.
“Outsider Rules takes us on an entertaining ride along with a pair of aimless DC lobbyists, a colorful New York mob lawyer and a ruthless drug cartel all wrapped up in a misdirected scheme to win a pivotal U.S. Senate race in Montana. An intriguing read.”
Haley Barbour - DC Lobbyist and former Governor (Mississippi)
“A fast-paced read that offers a disturbing look into the darker side of Washington’s lobbying world. The story captures the twisted link between lobbying, campaign money and the flawed personalities who sometimes affect political outcomes — including Montana’s 2006 Senate race.”
Rick Hill - Former Member US House of Representatives (Montana)
“Roger Fleming’s new book deftly weaves a tale of friendship, betrayal and intrigue against the backdrop of the often smarmy world of DC lobbying. I recommend it — especially to denizens of Washington".
Lloyd Hand - DC Lawyer, Lobbyist, and Former Chief Protocol Officer for President Lyndon B. Johnson
“Outsider Rules is offered as a novel, but reads much like the darker side of the real-life lobbying and campaign finance worlds that I have witnessed all too often. Elected officials come to Washington full of hope and commitment, but often that idealism is eroded by the realities of power politics and the money behind it.”
Craig Holman Ph.D. - Capitol Hill Lobbyist for Public Citizen
Doug Palmer, Editor, The Hook Magazine
The second book by author Roger Fleming takes us to the big skies of Montana and the halls of power in Washington D.C. It revolves around the idealistic and dedicated lobbyist Nick Taft who soon finds himself caught up in the whirlwind that is national politics. The book flashes back and forth between 2006 and 1997 throughout the story and initially it makes for a confusing narrative, but once the reader gets through a few of these flashbacks they will realize that Fleming has skillfully intertwined the two to make for a very readable and suspenseful novel about the dark side of the political world, complete with seedy lawyers, corrupt politicians, criminal activity, backstabbing lobbyists and even a drug cartel. The cast of characters is an impressive one.
The protagonist Taft is a lobbyist for the telecom industry and gets involved in the Montana Senate race of 2006 on the side of Republican incumbent Clarence Waters. We get a front row seat to the disturbing underbelly of the lobbying world and a national political campaign where anything goes and nothing is as it seems. Along with his cynical cohort and fellow lobbyist Kale McDermott, the two get into several adventures before it's all over. There's even some romance thrown in to add spice to the tale. Taft is often conflicted over his choice of career and his idealism is tested to its fullest. The veneer of good intentions is soon stripped away by the realities of power and money, with Taft's moral code and reputation hanging in the balance and his friend Kale on the fringes, eager to get a hold of his life, but never quite succeeding.
Fleming knows a thing or two about the political world, having been in Washington himself, and though the book is a work of fiction it makes the reader realize that perhaps there is a thin line between reality and fiction, especially in politics. It certainly is food for thought and maybe we don't really want to know all about what goes on inside the bubble that is Washington. Nevertheless the story is a compelling one, fast-paced and guaranteed to make one think, perhaps even about one's own morality and ethics. His use of the local color in Montana and Washington makes it an even more enjoyable read for those who have spent any time in either place.
Bridging the Decency Divide