Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Greenleaf Book Group
Flipping the Circle
“People don’t often think of corruption or white-collar crap having an actual crime scene, but the Winner’s Circle was the scene of this one.” Will O’Courtney is the ultimate insider. Having worked as an experienced contract lobbyist in Indianapolis for over a decade, he knows all the ins and outs of back-room deals and trading information. Shortly after his divorce is finalized, Will resolves to turn his life around, and just when he starts to think of leaving the winning course, he lands a contract with a national tobacco company that would change his life forever. But when he discovers a scheme involving potential legislation for the monopoly of e-liquid tobacco products in the state, he finds out that malfeasance reaches the highest levels of government. Choosing to expose the seedy corruption behind closed doors in the Indiana Statehouse, Will becomes a whistleblower disguised as a lobbyist. As he deals with suspect colleagues, wondering who he can and cannot trust, Will finds himself falling in love with a sprightly and spiritual young woman, who ultimately leads him to see and uncover the deep cracks along the Winner’s Circle and leave it for good. Set against the backdrop of contemporary events, Michael Leppert's intelligent and chilling thriller will leave you wanting more.
Leppert’s first political thriller finds a contract lobbyist in Indiana uncovering a plot to rig a new law to benefit a group of conspirators—and then facing a crisis of conscience as new girlfriend, Flip, encourages him to change his ways. Will O'Courtney takes on a new client, Tobacco America, as various parties jockey over regulation of the vaping market. Will, who narrates his story, discovers some odd provisions in the proposed legislation and realizes that what's happening is corruption beyond the usual backroom deals. Meanwhile, he becomes closer to Flip and her young daughter, eventually facing a reckoning in his personal and professional lives.

Leppert — a former Indiana contract lobbyist himself — does a beautiful job of bringing to life the sordid world of state politics: the backroom meetings, the calculating way businesses engage lobbyists, the golf outings where the line between the politics and sport almost disappears. He also nicely describes the Indianapolis 500 as both a community-building event and yet another networking opportunity: "There were plenty of bigwigs to see and shake hands with…" The extensive legislative skullduggery, and the huge cast, makes the narrative hard to follow at times, but the richly drawn scenes and engaging main characters keep readers invested until the end.

Indeed, the leads lend a welcome emotional heft to the suspense. Will may be in a shady business, but he's no longer satisfied and is trying to turn his life around. The fresh look he gives himself in a church-oriented support group comes across as a convincing development, a touching counterpart to his wheeler-dealer activities. His growing relationship with the hippie-like Flip and her daughter is also affecting, as Flip's influence helps Will change. "I couldn’t be anything but good if I wanted to be in her life," he says. Will's emotional growth as he navigates the political intrigues will have readers cheering for his redemption.

Takeaway: Aficionados of political thrillers will enjoy the machinations as a lobbyist battles for his own salvation.

Great for fans of: Walter Kirn, R. Kenneth Godwin’s Lobbying and Policymaking: The Public Pursuit of Private Interests..

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+