The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

The Solomon Scandals is fiction—a mix of suspense, tragedy and satire—but more than a little history lurks within in it. A high-rise collapsed in Northern Virginia, and a Senator really did hold a secret and illegal investment in a CIA-occupied building a few miles away. Characters and events are composites or imaginary. But Scandals still […]

The Solomon Scandals is a novel, but two actual events helped inspire it and are the topics of online gossip today—several decades later: —The deadly Skyline Towers building collapse in Northern Virginia, where 14 workers died and dozens were injured. —The late Sen. Abraham Ribicoff’s secret and illegal investment in a CIA-occuped building in Arlington. […]

Four Kent State University students—including Bill Schroeder, an ROTC cadet whose funeral I wrote up for the Lorain Journal—died 40 years ago on May 4, 1970. Nine suffered bullet wounds. The Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds at a crowd no closer than 150 feet. Shot in the back while lying on the grass, young […]

Robert H. Smith, philanthropist and Crystal City developer, gets another paean today from the Washington Post—this time an editorial, which follows an obituary of more than 1,100 words. The Post appropriately notes Smith’s donations of “hundreds of millions of dollars to universities, the arts, historic sites and civic activities.” Given his significance, then, perhaps the […]

Pennyblackmusic, a U.K. music site, has just posted a 3,000-word Q&A with David Rothman. Here’s the start. Can Bob Dylan fit into a Washington novel? Actually yes, if you go by ‘The Solomon Scandals’ (Twilight Times Books). Investigative reporter Jon Stone loves to swap ‘Dylan albums and pulpy old spy novels’ with a friend. Stone’s […]

Originally posted on Aug. 6, 2009. Moved back to play up basics of The Solomon Scandals. – D.R. RIP, Budd Schulberg. I hated to see the Washington Post obit blog remind us you’d outlived your fame. Of course, I was glad you reached 95, but I wish the media and the public hadn’t been so […]

Scandals at one level is a beach read, a mix of a thriller and novel of manners. But at another, it’s about bureaucratic laxness, which can kill workers—not just drain investors’ bank accounts. The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico makes Scandals all the more timely. Penny-pinching proved to be lethal. – D.R. […]

In my little overview of D.C. fiction, I quoted Jeffrey Charis-Carlson, a specialist in this area: "It takes a great novel to make bureaucracy interesting." But how about writing about individual bureaucrats? That’s what I did with the love interest of Jonathan Stone, my reporter protagonist in The Solomon Scandals. Margo Danielson is a young […]

In The Solomon Scandals, my Washington newspaper novel, hundreds of IRS and CIA bureaucrats die in the collapse of a rickety high-rise. Bribery involved? Of course. So how much Real Life is there in this scenario? Just type building collapse corruption into Google and see such headlines as: Corrupt work cited in Egypt building collapse […]