Dan Lynch Melds Terror, Politics in New Novel

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 04:13 PM

By Bill Hoffmann and John Bachman

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If you think today's world of politics is frightening, then veteran journalist Dan Lynch has a story for you — a thriller that combines the supernatural with political intrigue and features a terrifying monster to boot.

"This is different than anything I've done . . . This one was a challenge," Lynch says of his new novel, "The Mountainside Incident," published by WheelMan Press.

Lynch tells the story of Betsy Hughes, a young political operative in the New York legislature who has moved back to Mountainside, her tiny Adirondack hometown, and one night finds the community devoid of life.

Story continues below video.




The power is off, all 300 residents have vanished, and a murderous demon in the form of an electric eel has emerged from centuries of sleep.

Lynch, who worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer as chief political writer and was managing editor of the Albany Times Union, tells Newsmax TV he got the idea when he helped spearhead a series of articles on the Iroquois nation.

"I got to know these guys [from the Mohawk nation] fairly well. They were fascinating people . . .  I became quite interested in the way their culture worked," Lynch said.

"The Iroquois have a legend about a horrible flying monster whose referred to as the 'Flying Head'  . . . It's one of the scariest legends.

"It occurred to me that a creature like this would be even more terrifying if it [was] like an electric eel, [with] the power to control electricity and to wipe out all the things that we take for granted in 21st century society."

Giving the story an added twist is the heroine's checkered past, including a long-term affair with a married politician — something Lynch says is not unheard of in Albany.

"Betsy has a master's in social work . . . and has been working for the legislature trying to push certain social programs. She has been working for a powerful assemblyman from Queens and has found it useful pushing those programs successfully, becoming romantically involved with this guy," he said.

"This is not an unheard of circumstance in Albany, as anyone who's worked there will tell you, and there was one legislator I recall who found out he had a terminal illness and literally left his girlfriend to another member of the legislature."

Lynch says the world of politics is "very much like mob culture. If you look back at Michael Corleone, if he had a problem with somebody he was never interested in resolving this problem peacefully.

"He was instead interested in coming up with some mechanism to get this guy from behind and take him out.

"That's pretty much the way political culture works as well. You go shake hands with somebody, you make a deal, and then if you're clever you back out the door."

Lynch believes that the upcoming New York City mayoral race between Democrat Bill De Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota is not likely to see an upset.

"There is a possibility that the Republican could win this race. Giuliani won the race as a Republican," he said, "but also, it's possible that a flying saucer could land in Times Square and I would rate that as a much likelier event. De Blasio seems to be virtually a sure thing."

In the hotly contested New Jersey Senate race between Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat and the frontrunner, and Republican candidate Steve Lonegan, who appears to be closing in, Lynch said:

"My guess is that Booker wins but he doesn't win by a stunning margin. This will not be a landslide if Booker pulls this off. He's turned out to be a less-engaging candidate than he was perceived to be when he initially began to run and he has annoyed a lot of people."

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