State of Terror

I’m a huge Louise Penny fan (both of her writing and of her!) so when I heard she was not only writing a book outside of her Inspector Gamache series, but her co-author was Hillary Clinton, I was excited. I assumed I would like the book but how would her writing translate from a cozy style to a more thriller-esque mystery? While I had some minor issues, overall I enjoyed this book and I would read another one by her and Clinton if they decide to continue their collaboration.

As far as thrillers go, State of Terror succeeded in keeping me in suspense, anticipation, and excitement with a compelling story and interesting characters, despite the story being based on real events and characters clearly based on actual politicians. The story starts with several bombs being detonated in cities across the world, with the implication that these attacks are only the beginning of a wave of increasingly larger and more deadly attacks. Tasked to investigate and stop the terrorists is the new Secretary of State, Ellen Adams who has surprisingly accepted the position despite President Douglas Williams being her political rival. On the surface, this seems like a shrewd move by Williams and an attempt to heal the divide in their party, but Adams knows the truth-he wants her to fail so all the blame will fall on her when he can’t repair the damage the former President inflicted on the country and the world. Penny and Clinton don’t attempt to hide that the former President in this book is based on our actual former guy, just as Secretary Adams is based on Clinton herself. While I understand why they chose to do this, I sometimes found this distracting because I couldn’t stop thinking about the real people these characters were based on. (As it turns out, there were several more characters based on real people, as revealed in the acknowledgements at the end but they are minor so I didn’t notice). The original characters, and there were a lot, added to the story in ways that made sense and I was given time to get to know them so when they found themselves in dangerous situations, I found myself caring about what happened to them. There’s nothing worse in a thriller than not caring when you should because that takes you right out of the story. It could have been confusing with so many characters but the decision to change the points of view frequently helped me to not forget who each person was and kept me invested in each person’s storyline.

Where this book really excels is the story, which manages to avoid playing into stereotypes while being accurate to the real threats the world is facing right now. You can tell this was Clinton’s time to shine and her expertise shows. The threats in this book feel real and that must be thanks to Clinton’s knowledge in foreign affairs. My main issue with this book, and honestly with most thrillers, is that it was just too long. Pages could have been cut without sacrificing the story and it still would have been a hefty size.

This was a decent thriller written by a great writer and a woman with exceptional government knowledge. The story kept me engaged the whole time and I thought it wrapped up well. I think most people would find it an easy to read, enjoyable book and I recommend it.

Authors: Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton

Release Date: October 12, 2021

Rating: 4 Stars

Dear Child

Woo boy was this book a roller coaster.  My family and friends know that I scare easily which is one of the reasons I don’t like horror movies.  It’s also one of the reasons I sometimes have to stop reading a book when the sun sets and the shadows start to look like creepy things haha!  This was one of those books.  As much as I loved it and wanted to keep reading, I had to put it down at night and switch to something more light hearted to ensure I would be able to sleep at night.  Part mystery, part psychological thriller, this book kept me guessing until the very end and I highly recommend it for fans of chilling suspense novels.

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Leave the World Behind

While reading this book, I kept thinking, “did Rumaan Alam think his book would be so timely when he was writing it?”  The topics of race, class, and family would have been enough to make this a very 2020 book but how could anyone have known that a book that discussed those topics AND a global catastrophe would be written pre-2020, only to be released at the end of what feels like the longest year ever?  As much as I loved this book, I would hesitate to recommend it right now, solely based on the content, knowing that some people might not want to read about the beginning of the end of the world while we are still dealing with a pandemic. However, if you feel like you can handle this topic right now, this book is one that you will be hearing about a lot over the next few months (Netflix bought the rights before the book was even released and Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are already set to star in the adaptation,) and I really enjoyed this one, as much as you can enjoy a sad, semi-apocalyptic book.

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11/22/63

Readers, I have something to confess… I am a librarian who has never read a Stephen King book.  Shocking, I know.  In my defense, I am not a horror fan and anything I read or consume that is even remotely horror is very specific (I know what I can handle.)  But Mr. King has written various genres so that’s where my excuse falls apart.  So why this book as my first King?  Besides having been recommended to me by numerous friends, I LOVE time travel and will read anything about it.  Having read this, I am now mad that I haven’t read King books before and waited so long to read this one.  Have you ever started a book and liked it so much that you subconsciously read it really, really slowly in order to make it last?  Only me?  This is how I felt reading this book.  I didn’t want it to end yet couldn’t wait to see what would happen, simultaneously.  I know I am late to the game but I cannot recommend this book enough.

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The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient was THE mystery thriller of 2019, with numerous friends and library patrons telling me I had to read it.  I don’t know why it took me so long to pick this one up but I am glad I read it because I was hooked from the first page.  I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like stories with a lot of twists and turns.

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My Lovely Wife

This book was a roller coaster of emotions.   I wanted to read it based on the “Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith” description I was seeing everywhere but I have to say that it didn’t feel like either of those to me.  While there is murder and a husband and wife dynamic, this book felt like a MUCH, MUCH, darker “Gone Girl.”  I am going to recommend this to people with a caveat…you need to be comfortable with reading a book about horrible people who commit murder for no other reason than the thrill of it.

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