In her 2017 memoir “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton wrote that in the aftermath of her loss to Donald Trump, she took solace in watching HGTV — and reading the mystery novels of Canadian writer Louise Penny. Shortly after that, Penny began including the Clinton family in the acknowledgments of her books. And now the two are collaborating on a thriller, “State of Terror,” to be released on Oct. 12, 2021.
The book will be published in an unusual collaboration between St. Martin’s Press and Simon & Schuster.
According to the press release from Simon & Schuster, the plot of “State of Terror” appears to be inspired by Clinton’s time as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State: “The story follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the Secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.”
Penny is a prolific mystery writer, releasing her Armand Gamache novels — there have been 16 in total — at a clip of once per year. Set in Three Pines, a cozy village on the border of Quebec and Vermont, idyllic but for all the murder, Penny published the first book in the series, “Still Life,” in 2005. The books have become bestsellers.
“When it was suggested my friend Hillary and I write a political thriller together, I could not say yes fast enough,” Penny said in the press release. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode. Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.”
Hillary Clinton added, “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true. I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.”
Bill Clinton has also gotten into the thriller game, collaborating with James Patterson on the 2018 novel “The President Is Missing,” as well as a forthcoming one called “The President’s Daughter.” “The President Is Missing” was acquired by Showtime after a pre-publication bidding war. But in October, Showtime killed the project, which had already begun filming, because of the coronavirus pandemic.