“Deep State is a propulsive, page-turning, compelling, fragmentation grenade of a debut thriller.” —C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wolf Pack and The Bitterroots
“The plot…rings eerily true…will keep you turning the pages well into the night.” —Jack Carr, former Navy SEAL and acclaimed author of The Terminal List and True Believer
In this white-knuckled, timely, and whip-smart debut thriller, a deadly plot against the president’s life emerges from the shadows of the Deep State.
Recently elected President Richard Monroe—populist, controversial, and divisive—is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law—and democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Deep State quickly pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. From the personal connections to the action and thrills, this story offered me so much and asked for nothing in return except for a few hours of my time to enjoy it.
Favorite character: Hayley Chill
Hayley is an Army enlistee who became a White House intern. Determined, smart, and closed off emotionally, she is a remarkable heroine among a genre full of heroes. She is expertly and mindfully crafted down to small details like her pre-fight habit of picking up a little rock and holding it tightly in her hand till blood is drawn. She is not the girl next door nor your best friend, but she is someone who inspires respect and awe for her convictions and strength of character.
What I Liked:
The novel is full of action and political intrigue, which are a must for any political thriller. There are very few lulls as the story moves from the activities of the bad guys to the conspiracy within the White House. Yet, there is still the necessary exposition needed to develop the characters and fill out the story. It is all masterfully woven into an epic thriller that left me breathless.
What Makes This Story Unique:
Deep State fortuitously plays on today’s headlines about Russia and their interference and influence in US politics. I can imagine people creating connections between the real world and the novel – the story has that much plausibility. I wonder what conspiracy-theorist will do with it, but that is half the fun of political thrillers.
The final plot twist, above everything, makes this story unique. I did not see it coming at all, even though it does answer some questions I had toward the beginning, and I can’t imagine anyone else expecting it. I love it when a story surprises me, and this one checks that box.
The novel features a female heroine that rivals any political thriller male protagonist. Hayley Chill is quick, strong, and in control, making her a great prototype and role model for the potential of women as heroes. The portrayal of women in literature has come so far. It amazes me and makes me cheer.
What I Wish:
The writing was, at times, clunky with more telling rather than showing. It was particularly noticeable in the early scenes with Asher. There are also a few inaccuracies with background information on another character. These problems, though notable, did not detract from my enjoyment of the novel.
Personal Note: The other thing that really bothered me, which will NOT impact most readers, is a small detail about crabbing on the Eastern Shore (of Maryland). One of the characters grew up there, and is portrayed as the son of a crabber. At one point he mentions his dream of teaching his grandkids how to crab and to string up a chicken leg as bait. I grew up in that area, and even though chicken legs can be used – no-one would waste a chicken leg when chicken necks are so readily available and the bait of choice. As a matter of fact, someone who did that would be severely and mercilessly mocked by locals. I read an advanced copy, and I don’t know if it will be changed in the final copy as it is a very minor detail, but the inconsistency in a book that in many other ways is plausible is very distracting for me.
To Read or Not to Read
If you love a good political thriller, then this one will be a welcome addition to your bookshelves!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.