Deep State | Chris Hauty | Simon & Schuster |
14 January 2020 | RRP $33.00 | 9781471191992
“No one voluntarily leaves Washington. You’re either voted out, fired, or you die.”
In screenwriter Chris Hauty’s debut thriller, army veteran Hayley Chill — an implausible blend of every action hero ever put to page — interns for the White House chief of staff and finds herself mired in a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. Is the dastardly Deep State finally making a move? Or is this something else entirely?
Artless narration, frustrating omniscient present tense narration and threadbare characters renders a decent plot mechanical and lifeless. Deep State might make for a decent summer blockbuster (of the Olympus Has Fallen variety), but as a novel, it’s completely void of any suspense or excitement. The final twist might work on screen, but rendered in prose, it’s more puzzling than shocking, and had me skimming back pages to check for any foreshadowing. Nope. I love a killer twist; but the author’s got to earn it. It’s fine to misdirect the reader, but it’s cheating not to have a single signpost for your denouement.
There’s promise in Hauty’s plotting, but for a thriller about the lurking malice and secrets of the deep state, there’s a distinct lack of menace, and despite her kick-ass attributes, there is nothing about Chill that catapults her above the crowded heroes of thriller-lit. This is one of those rare times I’m going to say you’re better off waiting for the movie.