“America’s ongoing cultural shift by the year 2050 was on a collision course with white privilege,” Jefferson writes, and his depiction of the machinations of a cabal of white elites scheming to preserve and protect their power outside the U.S. has a timely frisson. Of Trump, Senator Crandal says, “He didn’t understand that to have a white republic again, meant we would have to be the ones to leave.” The unlikely conspiracy is presented with convincing detail, both in the plotters’ thinking and in the practicalities of pulling it off, right down to strategic planning documents and attention to how congressional committees actually work.
Still, Jefferson’s tendency to use terms in narration like “the treasonous Kansas senator” or “an extremely bigoted eight term congressional racist” edges the novel into polemic territory, distracting from the suspense. His use of exaggerated dialect, especially for Pepper (“Ain’t you got no common sense left in that brain of yours?”), also cuts against verisimilitude, though the chase and its mysteries, which span the globe, prove surprising and often exciting, with stakes that couldn’t be higher.
Takeaway: This urgent political thriller pits a conspiracy of white racists against the Black sex worker with the power to expose them.
Great for fans of: J.A Walsh’s Purpose of Evasion, John Cutter’s Firepower.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A