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The Butcher’s Thumb

By Greg Haas


--Veteran political strategist reflects on political parallels and re-imagines recent historical events in unique roman à clef fashion

Would there be less manipulation and fewer errors in government if our leaders truly understood the dire, if unintended, consequences of their actions? What if the White House was a glass house and we were able to see it through the eyes of a political whistleblower, someone like Watergate's John Dean?

In the tradition of a roman à clef, experienced political consultant Greg Haas introduces very real political themes and events, as only a veteran strategist could, through his new fictional, political thriller, The Butcher's Thumb. Unveiling dramatic story and character twists, and those occasions when perception should not be confused with reality, Haas' novel highlights most of all the idea of balance—between the personal and the political, between national and international interests, and between the past and an unforeseeable future filled with potential disaster.

Built on political intrigue and uncanny innuendos which diverge from history, the plot takes on themes of success, failure and redemption. The Butcher's Thumb also reveals how the balance of power can be tipped and lives destroyed in an instant. The novel charts the career of Matt Risen, a one-time political up-and-comer whose expertise and loyalty earns him a position as White House press secretary before unforeseeable circumstances derail his polished career.

Backstabbing, controversy, power-struggles and corruption are all in a day's work for Risen, the charismatic and eloquent Press Secretary for conservative President William Kensington. A media darling who believes in loyalty to job and family, Risen must face the biggest challenge of his life, to convince the world why America must go to war in Iraq.

Though terrorist attacks on U.S. soil are thwarted—in part because of Risen's diligence—the Kensington administration still seizes the opportunity to pursue its foreign policy goals in the Middle East. Risen is then forced to protect the administration at all costs and to further prove his allegiance to his country.

Meanwhile, the book's sub-plot highlights an ex-K.G.B. agent named Yuri Nesterenko who is haunted by a fifteen-year-old murder. On behalf of his slaughtered Russian team, he sets out to take his revenge in a mission which collides with Risen and his family. When Risen ultimately succumbs to internal pressure and reveals the name of a C.I.A. operative who has spoken out against the Kensington administration, national policy turns into a personal nightmare just weeks before the all-important re-election in 2004—which rests on the shoulders of Ohio, Risen's home state.

A provocative, page-turning read, The Butcher's Thumb takes on numerous issues relevant to the recent and current political landscape—from foreign policy and the outing of a covert government agent to the manipulative rhetoric of war and politics, and the not-so-subtle combat waged during elections to tip the scales like the butchers of old.

“For the millions of Americans who have developed a political interest in recent years, I hope this fast-paced thriller enlightens, but I also hope the fact behind the fiction reminds you what is at stake,” says Haas of his roman à clef. “The Butcher's Thumb also provides a new definition of the word conspiracy and diagrams how hate language can lead to unimaginable tragedy.”

Greg Haas has more than thirty years' experience as a political consultant at the local, state and national levels, having advised the campaigns of mayors, governors and presidential candidates. A media veteran, Haas has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and is often sought after by local and national media for political commentary.

An active Democratic strategist, Haas lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and son and is working on the completion of his second and third books.

The Butcher's Thumb is now available for purchase at, and other online booksellers.