Jon Stone, the narrator: A reporter whose curiosity might kill his career and maybe him. Sees Washington as a white-collar factory town. Covered the Kent State massacre while working in a blue-collar town. A Jew raised in McLean, a Waspy D.C. suburb. Not a philosopher but has put Spinoza (image) to work as a mentor.
Sy Solomon: The real estate tycoon in the title—a massive ex-bricklayer with two missing fingertips and a huge, rickety building housing IRS and CIA bureaucrats. Friends with President Eddy Bullard and the Washington Telegram’s top editor, George McWilliams. “Decency,” Solomon says of the targets of his campaign donations, “it’s the first thing I look for in a politician. Please, Jon. Do you want another Watergate?”
George McWilliams, the editor: An embittered politician named a baby shark after him at a VIP hangout. Friends depict Mac as a priest in an editorial cathedral. Wears a Rolex and enjoys timing newsroom workers with it. But why is he at the Telegram? Made a fortune outsmarting the Brahmans of Wall Street and beyond. Is Brooklyn born, but loves winners and grew up rooting for the Yankees.
Wendy Blevin: Vassar-educated gossip columnist and multimillionaire socialite who may or may not be sabotaging Stone’s investigation of Solomon. Years earlier helped Saul Alinsky flesh out two of the thirteen Rules for Radicals. Jumps to her death off a balcony at the Watergate. Fallout from the Solomon Scandals?
Ezekiel Jerome Rawson: Jon Stone’s direct boss—E.J. for short. Fled to D.C. from West Virginia Gothic.
Rexwood Garst: Stone’s resume-obsessed rival at the Telegram. “Serbo-Croatian, that’s the key. I know how to speak it.”
Lew Fenton: Construction union leader and source of the few negative quotes about Solomon in the Telegram’s library. Not the biggest fan of Solomon’s construction practices.
Donna Stackelbaum: Stone’s lover and old family friend who leaves him for a corrupt Lamborghini owner. About to get caught up in a nuclear scandal connected in some ways with the Solomon Scandals.
Margo Danialson: B.A. in Medieval Studies, from Oberlin College. Trapped in the Augean Stables of the General Services Administration. Stone’s partner in crime or anti-crime. Helps Stone circumvent Larry Zumweltnar, GSA’s sleaze of a PR bureaucrat. Steers Stone to Lucky O’Brien, who, despite being an oft-drunk GS-11 with dreams of making a mint as a tabloid tipster, may actually offer some useful information.
Hilton Kahn and Stonewall Lee: Reliably crooked lawyers working for Solomon, in GSA and zoning matters respectively.
Fred Green: Muckraking congressional aide. Deep Throats on the Alexandria-to-Mount Vernon bike path.
Herb and Lydia Stone: Jon’s parents. Herb works for a PR and lobbying firm that is in cahoots with a bank financing Solomon’s projects.
(Originally published on June 18, 2009. Moved up to closer to the top of the blog.)