cover image Deep State

Deep State

Chris Hauty. Atria/Bestler, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-982126-58-2

Screenwriter Hauty makes his debut with an engrossing, if flawed, political thriller. Army veteran Hayley Chill, an intern for Peter Hall, the White House chief of staff, is in the right place at the right time one winter evening to help Secret Service agent Scott Billings take down two intruders headed for the White House. After drinks at a D.C. bar, the two spend the night at Scott’s place in suburban Virginia. In the morning, Hayley goes to Hall’s Washington home, where she finds him dead, apparently of natural causes. A boot print in the melting snow outside the house suggests foul play to Hayley, who eventually uncovers a conspiracy to assassinate the U.S. president, populist Richard Monroe. A refreshing change from the typical male action hero, Hayley is a capable, kick-ass, and sharp woman from unassuming roots. Unfortunately, the sudden climactic revelation, which would have worked on the screen, will have readers skimming back to see if the moment has been foreshadowed and earned (it hasn’t). Hauty shows enough talent to suggest he can do better next time. [em]Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Jan.) [/em]