Jul 17, 2023, 05:55AM

Hard-Boiled Review Part II: Jake Tapper’s All the Demons are Here

He ain’t George Pelecanos.

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It’s around five a.m. when I hear the soft thud against the apartment door. I sit up. Then I fish the Glock out of the nightstand drawer. I’m still jumpy when there’s an early knock on the door, ever since the 2018 hit. Patti’s asleep beside me. She doesn’t wake up.

pad down the hall and then open the front door. Nobody’s there, but there’s a small package on the floor. I pick it up to check the return address. Little, Brown and Company. The publisher.

It’s the new Jake Tapper crime novel, All the Demons are Here. Now I remember. A few months ago I reviewed James Comey’s Central Part West. My editor told me it did pretty good and he might be send me another one to review. He might send me the new Jake Tapper thriller.

I sigh and shut the door. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be in this world, it’s the official book reviewer for TV dinks who think they’re big swinging dicks in the romper room of Washington, D.C. I like it here in Baltimore, in this Spartan apartment with Patti. No complications, just a steady gig at the grocery store and Patti’s sweet body. I hear her gently snoring in the bedroom.

Tapper doesn’t need me. He’s going to have all the whores in D.C lining up to administer reach-arounds to him, praising All the Demons are Here no matter if it reeks or not. On top of that, Tapper already has at least two strikes against him—he works for CNN, which is garbage. He also went on a date with Monica Lewinsky and wrote an article about it—what kind of a jerk does that? Also, George Pelecanos is the king of D.C. crime fiction, which a special talent for the 1970s. Tapper’s book is also set in the Carter era. Why read that when you can enjoy King Suckerman?

Still, Tapper did show me a little compassion during the hurricane of 2018. In 2018 I was mixed up in a nasty political hit by the communists. I was oppo researched, threatened and honey-trapped, just to keep an old high school buddy of mine off of the Supreme Court. They used me to try and kill him, and didn't care if I was roadkill to get there. All the demons were there. CNN was shit, but Tapper once challenged a panel as to why the Democrats were so interested in me—“He’s not running for anything.”

It was an oppo hit, Jake. They didn’t give two shits about what was true. Some psychopath told them that my friend and I were in Motorhead in the 1980s, and you assholes believed it. Still, Tapper showed, for a flash, a little doubt. He’s not a complete dickhead. He’s not trash, like Jim Acosta. Maybe he should put me in his next book, or on his show.

So, All the Demons are Here. I remember what Patti said about Comey’s book when it arrived: “You know what I discovered about books? If the author can’t grab you in the first 20 pages or so, it’s not your fault—it’s their fault.” She’s that bright—and has an ass that should be in the Louvre. I think about waking her up so we can have one of our morning sessions, but then decide to just let her sleep. They paid me to review Comey’s book, and they’re paying me for Tapper. Best to just do it.

Tapper’s a better writer than Jim Comey—but then so is Marjorie Taylor Green. All the Demons are Here centers on Ike Marder, an AWOL Marine who works for Evil Knievel in Montana, and his sister Lucy, a D.C. journalist. Lucy’s left the Washington Star and is working at the Washington Sentinel, a right-wing tabloid run by a Murdoch-like family. The kids’ father is Charlie Marder, a Republican senator from New York. There’s crime, politics, journalism and music from the era, and things ultimately converge on a Georgia island where Sen. Marder is attending a Republican retreat and members of a religious cult are plotting a violent demonstration. It’s pretty much everything you ever heard about the 1970s tossed into blender, including UFOs and Elvis.

Tapper has problems with tone and dialogue. In the first chapter Ike is in a Montana bar, drinking and hiding out. Suddenly his sister Lucy from D.C. appears, even though they haven’t seen each other in months. She’s a reporter, and found him! This is enough for a decent establishing scene, but Tapper barely gets the two at the same table when he has to throw in a bar fight, a hot Native-America bartender, and references to Patty Hearst, Nixon, and Star Wars. When things move to Washington, Lucy has lunch at Capitol Hill with her dad. Of course, Woodward and Bernstein appear. They try and lure Lucy, the young hear-me-roar feminist whose work keeps getting ripped off by male editors at the Star, to the Post. “We’ll get you to the Post before you know it!” cries Bernstein. Bernstein is a ratfuck communist. He doesn’t talk like Mary Poppins, and maybe isn’t the hero Tapper thinks he is. A lot of Tapper’s dialogue is lousy, and, like the decade it takes place in, there’s a nauseating overindulgence, with a lot of tacky distractions going on at once.

Still, overall All the Demons are Here moves and is a decent enough book—although, like I said, if you want a 1970s D.C. crime novel, George Pelecanos is the man. Lucy covers a murder that occurs in Rock Creek Park, and it’s interesting enough that I thought of Pelecanos and kinda wish it was the plot of the entire book, rather than Tapper data-dumping every disco era pop culture reference he could think of.


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