Political Thrillers From Hilary and Bill Clinton: “Details Only an Insider Could Know”

From a New York Times story by Alexandra Alter headlined “Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny to Write Political Thriller”:

In Louise Penny’s upcoming thriller, a novice secretary of state faces the daunting task of rebuilding American leadership after years of diminishing influence abroad. She is immediately put to the test when a wave of terrorist attacks threatens to destabilize the world order.

A topical political thriller represents new territory for Penny, who is best known for intricate murder mysteries set in a quiet Canadian town. But she had a political veteran on hand to help her shape the plot: her co-author and friend, the former secretary of state and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Their new novel, “State of Terror,” will be published in October by Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press. Jennifer Enderlin, the president and publisher of the St. Martin’s Publishing Group, will edit it.

“When it was suggested my friend Hillary and I write a political thriller together, I could not say yes fast enough,” Penny said. “Before we started, we talked about her time as secretary of state. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.”

It is unusual for a prominent politician and a best-selling crime writer to team up on a novel, but it is not unprecedented. The subgenre has already been popularized by Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, who wrote a thriller, “The President Is Missing,” with James Patterson in 2018. The novel, which was published by both Knopf and Little, Brown, has sold more than 2 million copies in North America and was the top-selling adult fiction book of 2018. This summer, they are following up with a second novel, “The President’s Daughter,” about a former U.S. president whose daughter is kidnapped, which will have a first print run of 1 million copies.

Both Clintons are fans of the thriller and mystery genres, and both are represented by the Washington lawyer Robert B. Barnett, who is known for his powerful clients, among them the Obamas and the Bushes….

The announcements for both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s debut thrillers stressed that they would draw on their decades of political experience. (A news release for “The President Is Missing” noted that the novel would “be informed by insider details that only a president can know,” while the announcement for “State of Terror” said it “features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.”)…

Alexandra Alter writes about publishing and the literary world. Before joining The Times in 2014, she covered books and culture for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she reported on religion, and the occasional hurricane, for The Miami Herald.

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