• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

This suspenseful collaboration between Clinton and Penny kept me on the edge of my seat through heart-stopping political conflicts, betrayals, suspicions, and discoveries.

A new United States administration has been sworn in after a period of upheaval and upset. The shift has made for strange bedfellows—and a prickly partnership between our main protagonist, Ellen Adams, former multinational media conglomerate head and new secretary of state, and the president, a politician Adams has long criticized.

Then a hastily sent, coded message comes through to an underling in the Oval Office--and violent terrorist attacks soon begin taking place around the world. Who sent the message and why, and who is responsible for the attacks?

In Clinton and Penny's suspenseful collaboration, the characters of the president and Adams, political enemies, must quickly learn to trust each other and work together to determine who is responsible for the destruction; how each of their pasts may be coming into play; how to protect those such as Adams's grown children, who are interlinked to information related to the events; how to prevent further violence--and they must cooperate to identify a potential high-level mole within the government.

I was particularly taken with the familial angle (Secretary of State Adams's daughter has taken over her media company so is involved in the storytelling from that angle, and her son is a reporter deeply involved in the complicated political danger).

I also loved how Clinton and Penny made me question the loyalty and intentions of almost everyone in State of Terror while still making me feel invested in the story and the ins and outs of the various complicated political conflicts, double-crossing players, grave American dangers, and immense potential worldwide effects.

While reading, I imagined how Clinton's experiences as Secretary of State and First Lady may have informed her fictionalized peeks into the government, Oval Office, and interpersonal conflicts between governmental figures. I was also struck by the character of the dangerously ignorant former president and the detrimental effects of his administration's destructive reign.

I listened to State of Terror in audiobook form (read by Joan Allen) during an impromptu and looooong road trip, and it made the miles fly by.

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Louise Penny is the author of seventeen Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is the author of numerous nonfiction works and children's titles.