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In Louise Penny’s upcoming thriller, a novice Secretary of State faces the daunting task of rebuilding American leadership after years of waning influence abroad. It is immediately put to the test when a wave of terrorist attacks threatens to destabilize the world order.

A topical political thriller represents new territory for Penny, who is best known for her complex murder mysteries set in a peaceful Canadian town. But she had a political veteran on hand to help shape the plot: her co-author and friend, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Their new novel, “State of Terror,” will be published in October by Simon & Schuster and the respective publishers of St. Martin’s Press, Clinton and Penny. Jennifer Enderlin, president and editor of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, will review it.

“When my friend Hillary and I were suggested to write a political thriller together, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough,” Penny said in a statement. “Before we started, we talked about his time as Secretary of State. What was his worst nightmare? “The state of terror” is the answer. “

It’s unusual for a prominent politician and successful crime writer to team up on a novel, but of course it’s not without precedent. The subgenre was once popularized by Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, who wrote a thriller, “The President Is Absent,” starring James Patterson in 2018. The novel, which was both published by Knopf and Little, Brown, sold over 2 million copies in North America and was the best-selling adult fiction book of 2018. This summer, they continue with a second novel, “The President’s Daughter ”, on a former US president whose daughter is kidnapped, which will have a first print run of 1 million copies.

Both Clintons are fans of the thriller and mystery genres, and both are represented by Washington attorney Robert B. Barnett, who is known for his powerful clients, including the Obamas and the Bushes.

Ads for Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s first thrillers emphasized that they would draw on their decades of political experience. (A press release for “The President Is Absent” noted that the novel “would be informed by insider details that only a president can know,” while the “State of Terror” announcement stated that it ” presented a behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know. ”)

Penny and Clinton have long been mutual friends and admirers. In her memoir, “What Happened,” the former presidential candidate wrote that she read Penny’s books after losing the election in 2016, a time when thrillers were a source of comfort with yogic breathing and the chardonnay.

The couple decided to work together on a novel that would be shaped by Clinton’s insider knowledge of the State Department and the White House, and Penny’s penchant for creating addictive storylines.

“Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true. I enjoyed each of his books and their characters as well as his friendship, ”Clinton said in a statement. “We now join our experiences to explore the complex world of high-stakes diplomacy and betrayal.”

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