Politics as usual? Not in these mystery and suspense novels set in and around the White House. Here, secrets threaten both individuals and geopolitical stability, and there’s always someone willing to kill to keep them hidden.
Beat the Devils
Josh Weiss. Grand Central, Mar. 2022
An alternate history explores a 1958 America under the thumb of President Joe McCarthy, who has been elected on a platform of nationalism and anti-Semitism. His secret police force, the Hueys, has beaten any opposition into submission, and Hollywood is now little more than an anti-Red propaganda machine. When beleaguered journalist Walter Cronkite and film director John Huston are found dead, an LAPD detective and Holocaust survivor pledges to get to the bottom of the double homicide to clear their names.
Margaret Truman’s Murder at the CDC
Margaret Truman and Jon Land. Forge, Feb. 2022
In the 32nd installment of the Capital Crimes series, which was conceived by the daughter of President Truman, PI Robert Brixton investigates a mass shooting on the Capitol steps. A radical separatist leader appears to be behind it, but Braxton must join forces with a former Baltimore homicide detective to uncover the truth behind the act of domestic terror.
Our American Friend
Anna Pitoniak. Simon & Schuster, Feb. 2022
A White House correspondent is on the verge of leaving for greener pastures when she gets an offer she can’t refuse: the chance to write the authorized biography of the first lady, a Russian-born woman who made her living as a model before marrying the loud, cocksure man who is now president. (Sound familiar?) The subject of the biography opens up about her mysterious past, including her undercover KGB father, and the weaknesses that might bring down her husband’s presidency.
State of Terror
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny. Scribner, Oct.
In a significant shift, Penny, best known for her quiet mysteries set in a small Quebec town, collaborates with Clinton on a novel about a secretary of state who, along with a journalist and a foreign service officer, must navigate a geopolitical crisis involving a terrorist organization, the Russian mob, and the nuclear arms race.
A Sunlit Weapon
Jacqueline Winspear. HarperCollins, Mar. 2022
PI Maisie Dobbs investigates a claim made by a young WWII ferry pilot that her plane was shot at during a routine delivery of a Spitfire—and hers wasn’t the first. As Dobbs tries to determine why someone is trying to kill much-needed pilots, she uncovers a connection to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and learns that Roosevelt’s life may be in danger.
Jay Newman. Scribner, Jan. 2022
A group of American ex–military personnel sets out to install its choice presidential candidate, a senator with dark secrets, in this debut by former financier Newman. Shifting alliances play out between a CIA agent whose expertise lies in the global flow of dark money, a private Russian paramilitary company, and a wildly successful hedge fund manager.