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Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny team up for fictional ‘State of Terror’

The political thriller about a secretary of state confronting terrorist attacks will be published in October.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and bestselling mystery author Louise Penny have teamed up to write a novel, “State of Terror,” to be published Oct. 12.  (Photos by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, left, and Jean-Francois Bérubé via AP)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and bestselling mystery author Louise Penny have teamed up to write a novel, “State of Terror,” to be published Oct. 12. (Photos by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, left, and Jean-Francois Bérubé via AP) [ AP ]
Published Feb. 24
Updated Feb. 24

The latest publishing news has set a tune running through my head: “Anything Bill can do, Hill can do better....”

Settle down, nobody in the Clinton family is running for office. The news, announced Tuesday by publishers Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press, is that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has collaborated with bestselling mystery author Louise Penny on a novel. The political thriller, State of Terror, will be published in October.

The book, according to the news release, is about a novice U.S. secretary of state who joins the administration of a former political rival inaugurated after “four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage.”

According to the publishers’ synopsis, “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.”

Clinton won’t be the first in her family to co-write a political thriller. Former President Bill Clinton teamed up with another bestselling crime fiction author, James Patterson, to write The President Is Missing. Published in 2018, it became the bestselling adult fiction book of that year; it has sold more than 3 million copies. Their second book, The President’s Daughter, will be out in June.

Hillary Clinton has written or co-written eight books, including her bestselling 2017 memoir What Happened, but this will be her first novel.

Penny is the award-winning Canadian author of 16 novels about the soulful and intrepid Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, most set in the picturesque little town of Three Pines in Quebec. The latest is All the Devils Are Here, published last year.

Clinton has said in interviews that, in the aftermath of the 2016 election, she found solace in reading Penny’s novels (also in chardonnay). The two have been friends for several years. Penny has said that she was touched when, after the death of her husband in September 2016, in the midst of the presidential campaign, Clinton wrote her a condolence letter.

“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 news release. “Before we started, we talked about her time as secretary of state. What was her worst nightmare? State of Terror is the answer.”

Clinton described writing with Penny as “a dream come true.”

“I’ve relished every one of her books and 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,” she said.