If I were an an American, during the elections for president which saw Obama and Trump prevail, I would have been a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter. Personally, I feel she’s the best president the states never had. She’d might have  done a  better job than her husband, whose presidency was marred by a lapse personal judgement, and I feel the USA we know today would be a better place if she had won. As you can tell, I’m a fan and so I was delighted to be asked to read ‘State of Terror’ a collaboration between the thriller writer Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton and published by Pan MacMillan ( on the 12th october, for this month’s first book review..

After a tumultuous period in American politics , a new administration has just been sworn in . Secretary of State, Ellen Adams is determined to do her duty for her country. But she is about to face a horrifying international threat. A young foreign service officer has received a baffling text from a anonymous source. Too late, she realises it was a hastily coded warning. Then a series of bus bombs devastate Europe, heralding the rise of a new rogue terrorist organisation, who will stop at nothing to develop a nuclear arsenal. As Ellen unravels the damaging effects of the former presidency on International politics, she has to consider if the previous president was a traitor?

There’s an interesting section at the end of the book, where Hillary and Louise are interviewed about how they met and how this writing collaboration came about. It seems Hillary and her closest friend Betsy were both avid thriller readers and enjoyed Louise Penny’s books.  Betsy and Louise were introduced and following the death of Louise’s husband, Hillary sent a personal sympathy card. A friendship between the three women and their husbands then developed. During covid and following a collaboration between Bill Clinton and James Patterson, it was suggested that Hillary and Louise team up to write a political thriller. Some of the characters in the book are based on, or at least named after real colleagues and friends. There are also many other characters in the book which resemble recent and current political figures, the British Prime Minister with the unruly hair for example, or that slightly mad ex-president in Florida…

This book was an exciting read from the first page and kept up the fast pace and edge of your seat tension throughout. Ellen moves from one dangerous situation to another as she races from one end of the world to the other in her search for answers. The book is full of intrigue and twists and turns. With the authors keeping the reader guessing as who is to be trusted an who isn’t, never straightforward in a world of politics where everyone has their own agenda.

Ellen is a likeable character, smart and funny but ultimately very human. She is new to the role of Secretary of State but brings to it a certain amount of street smarts from her previous career running a media empire. There’s also some family tension in relation to her son. Betsy in this book, is her lifelong friend and confidante and has a role as her advisor. She brings a wit and loyalty to Ellen’s current role, where everyone else, its seems, is her enemy. I really enjoyed the ‘woman power’ demonstrated in this story which I thought was never heavy handed.

Louise Penny / Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton ( is the author of seven previous books which include It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996), An Invitation To The White House (2000), The Book Of Gutsy Women (co-written with Chelsea Clinton) (2019), Why I Should Be President (2014). She was the first woman in America to recieve a presidential nomination and served as the 67th Secretary Of State after nearly four decades in public office including eight years as the first lady.

Louise Penny ( is a Canadian author of seventeen mystery novels set in the province of Quebec and featuring her hero Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, they include: Still Life (2005), Bury Your Dead (2010), The Long way Home (2014) and The Madness Of Crowds (2021). before turning to writing she was a broadcaster with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, In 2017 she recieved the Order of Canadan (OC) for her contribution to Canadian culture. she curently lives just outside Montreal.

Hillary confides that there were three scenarios which would give her sleepless nights when she was Secretary of State, and this was one of them. I hope therefore, that another of the three will be a second book featuring Ellen Adams. If its as gripping as this, I can’t wait.

Reviewed by Georgina Murphy

This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviwers thought visit their blogs listed below. Then if you get a copy comeback and tell us what you thought. we’d really appreciate the feedback.



trust your eyesWe’ve come a long way over the past couple of millennium in the area of cartography and navigation. From the days when sailors navigated the globe using charts, sextants and the stars to modern ordinance survey maps and our present day use of GPS and Sat. Nav’s in our cars and phones. In 2005 the next step arrived in the form of Google maps “street view”, as a result of their funny looking vehicles which travel the planet photographing every inch of road around us. Thanks to this development, you can now see what your destination looks like or even visit somewhere totally random such as Springfield Illinois, Tel A Viv or San Francisco from the comfort of your own home and take a virtual drive around the area. This may sound a bit sad, but I must admit I’ve whiled away a lunch hour now and again doing it. This activity is the premise for Linwood Barclay’s thriller “Trust Your Eyes”, published in 2012

The book tells the story Thomas Kilbride who suffers from psychiatric problems. As a result he lives with his dad and spends all day every day in his room travelling the globe memorizing the streets of every city on the planet via “Whirl360” a fictional version of Google maps street view. When his father dies in an apparent accident on his ride on mower, Thomas’s brother Ray, a talented freelance illustrator for newspapers and websites returns home to attend to his father’s affairs.  He realises how bad his younger brother’s problems are when he discovers Thomas thinks he’s getting instructions from ex President Bill Clinton to work on a “Black-Ops” mission for the CIA, so much so that he’s started emailing updates to a random CIA email, which results in a visit from the “Fed’s”. Then one day while on a virtual trip down a street in New York Thomas thinks the “Whirl360” car has caught the image of a murder taking place in an apartment block.

google car

Ray is reluctant at first to believe it, but when the image suddenly disappears from the web 24 hours later, Ray is forced to go into New York and find the apartment. He discovers that it’s empty since the occupants left unexpectedly a couple of months previously, but that someone is still paying the rent. His interest in the apartment brings him to the attention of an ex-cop who’s a fixer for the campaign manager of the district attorney for the state of New York as well as a failed Olympic gymnast turned hit woman.  So can Ray and Thomas find proof that the camera never lies and find and why someone wants it to.

For me Barclay, a former columnist with the Toronto daily Star, has Linwood Barclaya hit and miss record regarding his previous five stand alone books which don’t feature the science fiction writer turned P.I. Zack Walker. I read “No Time For Goodbye” which was a real page turner and a bestseller. His third stand alone thriller “Fear the Worst” was also a taught page turner, but his second one “Too Close To Home”, had me losing interest and putting it down after the first 50 pages. Also, the blurb on the backs of his fourth and fifth books, “Never Look Away” and “The Accident”, didn’t grab me and gave me the inclination that they were just retreads of a well worn route.

While the whole premise of “Trust Your Eyes”, had me chomping at the bit and really fired my imagination as to where it would take the reader, being both bang up to date and a plot that hasn’t been used as a storyline in print, film or TV yet. I was a little let down, mainly because the skill Thomas has – being able to memorize the maps of whole cities – is used in the last quarter of the book when there were plenty of other opportunities and plot devices which could have had him using this unique trait  to better effect.  Also there’s a child abuse storyline which meanders in and out of the book, for no real reason only to end up being a distraction. As to the revelation of how their father died on the last page, again I didn’t really care, because it too comes across as a something missed in the editing process.

The Two main characters were believable, while a budding romance between Ray and Julie, a girl he went to school with limps along with her character. This too in the end seems to serve very little purpose. The use of a failed Olympian as hit woman is something I liked. God if they turned this into a movie maybe they’d give her Oscar Pistorious type blades. She could become a spin-off character, only for the slight problem that Barclay kills her off. Although that never stopped producers before as the words “inspired by the characters…” can reincarnate any stone cold character.

So if you‘re looking to for an original technically inspired novel .This book will do the job, just try not to get lost in the numerous other loose and confusing stories running through it. Personally I hope they adapt it for film and develop the story a bit.

(First published 2013)