Diary of a Small Fish

Pete Morin’s debut novel is a darkly funny, often sardonic look at the underbelly of Massachusetts politics.

When ex-rep Paul Forté is served with a subpoena to testify about his golfing with a lobbyist pal, he is pulled into a labyrinth of the criminal justice system for which he is ill prepared. Following the code of honor and telling the truth just isn’t going to be enough to deal with the machinations of U.S. Attorney Bernard (don’t call him “Bernie”) Kilroy.

In his grand jury appearance, Paul neglects his lawyer’s warning about the thin-skinned prosecutor. When Paul offers “Bernie” a sardonic assessment of his allegedly felonious eating and drinking, he infuriates the lawman. But grand juror Shannon McGonigle approves of Paul’s taste for osso buco, and lights a fuse in Paul that will burn more slowly than he can endure.

Paul’s problem is not that he has played golf with everyone but the Pope (not a golfer), but that he ignorantly testifies that he’d never done anything to help any lobbyist. The truth, he thought. But Bernie Kilroy has a different version of the facts at hand, and moves to indict Paul for perjury. In the course of his duties, Bernie Kilroy takes egregious liberties with the process due Paul.

Aside from the usual mendacity and hunger for political power, there is no explanation for Bernie Kilroy’s pursuit of such a small fish.. But there is something deeper to his motivation that will take Paul some time to unravel. When he does, the war is on. Before it’s over, Paul isn’t so sure he’s the innocent victim.