Macmillan, € 17.99
They say people write fiction to make a point. If so, then this novel really does want to show the reader how much the United States has suffered because of Donald Trump. Here his name is Eric Dunn, or Eric the Mute – but of course we all know who he is.
And while we might have laughed at his antics, and even laughed at America for electing him, the damage he leaves in his wake isn’t funny. U.S. diplomatic relations have suffered tremendously, and it will take more than a simple change of president to right the wrong.
And that’s, I guess, the point here – even if it’s disguised as a work of fiction, and pretty scary too.
Ellen Adams is the Secretary of State for the new post-Eric Dunn administration. And while the new president is obviously a Democrat, there is no love lost between him and Ellen Adams. But she thinks she works for her country, not for her president, so she takes the blows and arrows and keeps going.
A junior staff member at the outpost receives a mysterious text which she deletes, but not before she first writes it. It appears that the text refers to three particular bus timetables. A bomb has been planted on every bus – and there is carnage in three major European cities.
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The main suspects are Isis, but the modus operandum here is different. And bombers don’t blow themselves up.
It’s a disastrous start for Ellen Adams in her new role, but she has to get to the bottom of it and she faces a real time bomb. She also has to deal with fingers of suspicion pointing in all directions, including her own.
Her estranged son is trained there. He’s related to the girl who received the text. He also converted to Islam, which Ellen has no right to forget – but to say more would spoil matters.
I have to admit, my heart sank at the prospect of another novel co-written by a public figure – there are so many these days. But I was pleasantly surprised. Although it is full of settling of scores, maybe too much, it is also a real page turner.
Louise Penny is a regular at detective fiction and has said in interviews that she believes a political thriller will overtake her. Turns out that wasn’t the case, or at least not with Rodham Clinton as a partner.
Not only that, but the duo are already working on another title. Although State of terror will be a difficult act to follow.