Picks and Pans Review: Weighing Anchors
As novelists, the boys fall somewhere between John LeCarré and Newt Gingrich. MacNeil's surprisingly tender, if sometimes mawkish, The Voyage (Doubleday, $23.95) gives us the middle-aged but still dashing David Lyon, a career Canadian diplomat caught up in the disappearance of an old flame. A restrained, mature love story set in exotic locales like Helsinki and London, it's sort of a Bridges of Madison County for bureaucrats. MacNeil, who's retiring this month to write full-time, spares us the sappy ending: He's a newsman fully versed in life's maddening loose ends.
Lehrer, in his ninth novel, aims not for the heart but for the head. Loaded with thinly veiled Beltway players, The Last Debate (Random House, $23) tells of a jingoistic presidential candidate and the four rogue journalists who undermine him by rigging a live TV debate. Lehrer, who moderated a Clinton-Bush-Perot debate in 1992, knows that nothing is funnier than real-life politics, and he wisely keeps his satire close to the bone.