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Electoral College Thriller

On Monday the 50 states cast their votes in the Electoral College, making the results of November’s presidential election official. West Virginia cast its five electoral votes without controversy. But that’s not the way it worked in the novel by Washington and Lee law alumnus Brent Wolfingbarger.

Brent, a member of the W&L law class of 1993, is the author of “The Dirty Secret” (Smallridge Publishing, 2012), a political thriller set in his home state of West Virginia.

Currently a deputy director in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Inspector General in Washington, Brent began his legal career in Elkins, W.Va., before opening his own practice in Charleston where he handled a variety of cases, including several involving election law. He argued two of those election law cases before the W.Va. Supreme Court.

As he told the West Virginia Gazette-Mail in an extensive interview in November, one of those cases was a major impetus for his novel:

“…I represented Jennings Miller in an election law dispute in Boone County where two candidates in the primary for assessor were separated by 18 votes. Every challenged ballot mattered. Every absentee ballot mattered. Jennings won that canvas. The opponent didn’t request a recount in time. We ended up in front of the state Supreme Court and won.

“That experience, that counting every ballot, crystallized my thinking. I understood how I could make it tie in with a book. I wanted it to be a West Virginia book.”

Back in October, when the presidential campaign was at its peak, the Kindle version of “The Dirty Secret” moved up to No. 9 on Kindle’s list of top 10 political thrillers. The novel has gotten plenty of five-star reviews, too.

The book is available in the alumni section of the W&L’s University Store and also on Amazon.

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