Sinning in secret
Lawyer/Ethicist explores personal integrity in political thriller
HOUSTON – Just as the changing of the leaves marks the onset of autumn, we know it’s election time
when the airwaves fill with scathing political attack ads. While we see this public mudslinging play out in the media, we may wonder: what are these aspiring leaders willing to do behind closed doors to secure votes and advance their political careers?
Longtime lawyer and chief ethics officer Joseph Hayes spins a tale involving integrity and personal responsibility in his new suspense novel, When No One is Watching (Synergy Books, October 2010, 978-0-9843879-4-6, $14.95). The novel follows Blair Van Howe, a promising young political star who causes a deadly accident and perpetrates an elaborate cover-up to salvage his political career
“There is a sharp focus in our society today on ethical issues, and more specifically, the increasingly
common incidence of ethical lapses among our business and political leaders who put their personal
agenda ahead of integrity,” Hayes says. “They often attempt to justify their actions as advancing the
greater good when in reality they are only concerned with their political survival.”
Ambition, corruption and betrayal feature prominently in this thriller, which is set in Hayes’s native Chicago.
“Having grown up in Chicago, I am intimately familiar with Illinois politics—a lot of the characters and
situations are rooted in personal experience. Recent events in Illinois politics should provide a sense of realism and timeliness that will resonate with readers,” Hayes says. “For example, the story of a charismatic political superstar rising from Chicago’s South Side to become a beloved and fabulously successful figure on the national stage should have a familiar ring to it—so should the array of shady politicians who are all too willing to skirt the rules to gain or maintain power.”
In another parallel to Hayes’s experiences, When No One is Watching also explores the volatile and tragic world of alcoholism through Van Howe’s best friend, Danny Moran, a struggling alcoholic who loses his career, his fortune and his family, yet somehow manages to hold onto his sense of hope and his moral compass. A good-hearted but seriously flawed individual, Danny’s character is inspired by Hayes’s father, an alcoholic who found lasting sobriety through AA and devoted his life to helping others do the same.
Joe Hayes is currently Assistant General Counsel and chief ethics officer for a Fortune 1000 Company based in Houston, Texas. He graduated with highest honors from De Paul University and obtained his juris doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. A member of the State Bars of Illinois, California and Texas and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, Hayes currently resides with his wife Susan and their three children in the Woodlands, Texas. For more information on Joseph Hayes and his novel When No One is Watching, visit www.joseph-hayes.com and www.whennooneiswatching-thebook.com