by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Louise Penny
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Genre: crime, suspense, thriller
State of Terror follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.
This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.
I put this on hold at my library and waited for it to be delivered for about 16 weeks. Once it was finally available, I didn’t read it until about four days before it had to go back because something about it just wasn’t appealing to me (probably that I don’t love political thrillers). I finally decided that I needed to buckle down and read it because I didn’t want to wait another 16 weeks for a hold to come up again.
I blew through it in about five hours. There are a lot of things in this book that I liked, and some that I didn’t. I am a huge fan of Louise Penny’s Three Pines series, and it’s obvious that she did the bulk of the writing because it is very much in her style. In addition, the friendship between the co-authors shone through the book. There is an afterward that talks about how the two women and became friends, and explains the creation of one of the main characters, who is modeled on a joint friend who passed away from breast cancer in 2019.
What did I not enjoy about the book? While the political intrigue was well done, I found it to be overly complicated. There were things about it that I still don’t quite get. This may be because the book is so fast moving that I just missed it. I liked the main character – I’ve always been fan of Ms. Rodham Clinton, so a character that was very obviously based on her and her experience as Secretary of State worked well for me. Some of the “villains” were a little too cartoonish, but, given that the Trump administration in real life was filled with cartoon villains (Stephen Miller, seriously) this is probably true enough.
There were some Easter egg inserts from the Three Pines series that I didn’t think worked well at all. My delight at their inclusion was diminished by how clunky they felt.
Anyway, over all, it was a better than average thriller, but thriller isn’t my favorite type of book, and this book wasn’t able to completely overcome my annoyance by the standard tropes of the genre.