Post Watch: Downie: It’s All About the Sex

By: Harry Jaffe

If sex sells, former Post executive editor Len Downie’s novel about a female reporter uncovering a Washington scandal might have legs.

By the middle of chapter two, a reporter has bedded his source: “Then she turned toward him, reached back and unhooked her bra, freeing her breasts. Mark stood there awkwardly, staring at this effortlessly sexy woman.”

Early sex scenes are a bit of a tease as Downie’s narrative builds into a potboiler reaching from the newsroom to the White House to the CIA. Sources meet hot reporter Sarah Page—a combination of Karen Silkwood and Dana Priest—at the Monocle and the Hay-Adams; the bad guy lives on the St. Mary’s River, where Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn have a place.

Real reporters might find Downie’s novel implausible, but could it be bound for the big screen? Natalie Portman as Sarah?

This article first appeared in the January 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.

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