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Trump Derangement Porn

REVIEW: 'State of Terror' by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny

• October 24, 2021 4:59 am

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"This is a work of fiction but the story it tells is all too timely," Hillary Clinton writes at the end of State of Terror, the thriller she coauthored with Louise Penny. "It's up to us to make sure its plot stays fictional."

The target reader, having just finished the nearly 500-page nail-biter, will nod approvingly as she opens another bottle of wine, lights a Ruth Bader Ginsburg prayer candle, and logs on to the internet. In lieu of cheesecake, perhaps one of Jim Acosta's comedy routines or an epic zinger from Rick Wilson will suffice for dessert. Meanwhile, the reasonably well-adjusted reader will be entertained, but is unlikely to discern much real world portent from a plot the New York Times lauds as "ambitious and apocalyptic," but would be more accurately described as "Trump derangement porn."

State of Terror chronicles the heroic adventures of Ellen Adams, an international media tycoon who is inexplicably nominated to serve as U.S. secretary of state by one of her fiercest political rivals, President Douglas Williams, after working tirelessly to defeat him in the Democratic primary. She is already stressed out after a few weeks on the job, and just can't wait to "remove the Spanx and pour a large glass of Chardonnay." She obsesses over petty personal politics, and is constantly judging other women by their looks, even as the clock ticks down to nuclear armageddon.

Adams isn't the only character with an instantly recognizable real-life counterpart. There's the perpetually disheveled British prime minister, described as a "hollow man, an upper-class twit, with any guts he might have had replaced by entitlement and random Latin phrases." One of the chief villains turns out to be Russian president Maxim Ivanov, a short-statured thug who simply can't stand the thought of a powerful woman having it all. Ivanov, of course, is a chief ally of former president Eric Dunn, aka "Eric the Dumb," the racist tyrant currently sulking at his Palm Beach estate after failing to collude successfully to steal another election. His breath "smelled of meat."

The world is already a mess thanks to Dunn's raging incompetence and corruption, and it's about to get a lot messier. Hundreds are killed in a series of coordinated bombings across Europe, and the condescending men who run the Western intelligence agencies have no idea who is behind the attacks. Adams must take it upon herself to find out who is responsible and what they might be planning next. "We need to find out whose brainchild this is, and we need to abort it," she barks. Will toxic masculinity stand in her way? Or will she exploit it to her own advantage? Stay tuned!

Adams traverses the globe at breakneck speed, expertly unraveling the impressively diverse coalition of enemies plotting to overthrow the American government and reinstall Eric Dunn as supreme leader. At her side is Betsy Jameson, her fiercely loyal counselor who taught her "how to kick attackers in the nuts." She also loves Chardonnay. They are joined by Anahita Dahir, a horny U.S. foreign service officer who is secretly related to the head of the Iranian nuclear program, and recently had a steamy fling with the secretary's son, Gilgamesh Bahar, a journalist who converted to Islam after being captured by terrorists.

The truth is more horrifying than anyone could possibly imagine. Adams uncovers a "vast right-wing conspiracy" of disaffected zealots who "hate America's diversity" and are determined to take their country back. After infiltrating the highest levels of the U.S. government, they manipulated "Eric the Dumb" into scuttling the Iran nuclear agreement, withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan, and releasing a notorious arms dealer from house arrest in Pakistan. With the help of the Russian mafia and President Ivanov, they smuggle uranium into Taliban-controlled territory, where several dirty bombs are assembled, sold to al Qaeda, and shipped to the United States.

Adams has a very particular set of skills, including the ability to create "computer-generated" child pornography that she uses to blackmail Ivanov into revealing key details about the plot, which is all being coordinated via a secret website that is "Past the normal internet. Past the dark web. Past the fringe," at the behest of the U.S. director of national intelligence, Tim Beecham, whose middle name is literally "Trouble," along with the White House chief of staff, two Supreme Court justices, and at least six members of Congress. Will they succeed in their quest to own the libs by detonating dirty bombs at the White House, Grand Central Station, and Legoland in Kansas City?

You'll have to read the book to find out. Just try to keep in mind, though, that no matter how realistic it might sound, it's only fiction.

State of Terror: A Novel
by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
Simon & Schuster/St. Martin's Press, 512 pp., $30

Published under: Book reviews, Hillary Clinton