When he’s not anchoring the NewsHour on PBS, Jim Lehrer may be found casting a satirical eye at America’s heartland in such books as Crown Oklahoma and The Sooner Spy. Mack to the Rescue is the latest of his successful One-Eyed Mack novels. Set in Oklahoma and tracing the exploits of a fictional lieutenant governor, the series allows Lehrer to address contemporary national issues with a unique blend of humor and insight.
When Governor “Buffalo Joe” Hayman calls for privatizing state government, Mack decides to oppose his re-election bid, but a medical mishap prevents Mack from running. While attending a lieutenant governors’ conference in Washington, he suddenly collapses. Hospitalized, he is given a heart bypass operation intended for another patient. Mack backs out of the race and throws his support behind his flaky friend and former state house Speaker, Luther Wallace. Embroiled in a medical malpractice suit while following Luther’s questionable shenanigans, Mack finally has no choice but to come to the rescue when the governor’s race takes a particularly ugly turn.
Rife with Oklahoma-isms and brimming with memorable characters, this is political satire at its best, employing ironic twists and sharp dialogue to poke fun at government foibles. Inventive and hilarious, it demonstrates once again that Lehrer knows Middle America and its ways all too well.