Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics


Novelist borrows Nassau lawyer's name for thriller character

Don't think it's just a coincidence if you happen across a fictional Howard Fensterman in the latest Nelson DeMille thriller and it prompts you to remember a Lake Success attorney and Democratic fundraiser by the same name.

DeMille, of Garden City, has been known to name characters in his novels as a kind of tribute to individuals who make generous charitable contributions. In this case, Fensterman and DeMille both serve on the board of the Long Island chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Fensterman’s substantial help for the cause reportedly earned him a Man of the Year Award from the foundation at a dinner where the character was revealed.

The novel "The Panther" (click here for a non-spoiler summary) takes place in Yemen, where anti-terrorist agent John Corey, his wife and a small team work to track down one of the al-Qaida masterminds of the USS Cole bombing. The bad guy is known as the Panther. FBI Agent and special attache to Yemen, 'Howard Fensterman' is part of this team. Fictional “Fensterman” gets more than a mention; his exploits are followed from the middle of the book to the end, his real-life namesake says.

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Which was the most fevered lunge for self-promotion by a power player?

Sec. of State John Kerry seeking more authority for the administration to fight ISIS. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of “dangerous concessions” if rivals win election. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): “Is there ever a good time to admit our country tortured people?"

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