As someone with a great interest in politics and current affairs, I’ve found the popularisation of the term “deep state” fascinating. Originally, the term was unique to Turkey, where the nation’s military and intelligence apparatus held sway and often exerted a malign influence on events. The term didn’t really spread from there until Donald Trump ran for the Presidency of the United States in 2016, whereby his supporters, particular Steve Bannon and his colleagues at Breitbart, began to claim that there was a US deep state that was hellbent on frustrating Trump’s agenda. Since then, and despite the fact that Bannon is reported to have told people that claims of a deep state in the US are in fact bogus, the notion has caught on. The idea of a deep state has also entered the lexicon and has been claimed for other countries too, some with more validity than others.
This is all background information of course, and is not necessarily needed when reading such a novel as this, but it’s interesting nonetheless to contemplate how a concept went from regional specificity (Turkey), through conspiracy theory (Trump and his allies' allegations against their opponents), through legitimate analysis (examinations of other countries, such as former Soviet republics, that might indeed have a deep state), and finally to popular fiction.
For the notion of a deep state has indeed now firmly supplanted itself in the fictional universe. There’s a FOX drama series titled Deep State which stars Mark Strong. There are a number of other novels, TV shows and films which play with the concept. And now there’s this novel by Chris Hauty.
When the White House Chief of Staff is found dead, supposedly of a heart attack, his intern, Hayley Chill, suspects foul play. Everyone fobs Hayley off and dismisses her concerns, but when she perseveres, she discovers an organisation buried deep in the government and a plot to assassinate the President.
Chris Hauty is a screenwriter by trade, and it shows, in that this is a very filmic novel. One can easily imagine it adapted for the big screen. This is a high-octane novel and is well plotted and has twists galore.
An enjoyable read and certainly a page turner
3 out of 5 stars