Reviews for Shadow state : a novel

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Rafe Hendrix, formerly of the U.S. Army Rangers, was in charge of the Secret Service detail responsible for protecting the president. Violating a direct order, he saved an important life, but others were lost in the resulting carnage. When the political dust clears, Rafe is left without a job. Uprooting himself and moving to Texas, he finds a sense of peace, a home, and a new relationship—all of which could come crashing down around him when his past and his present collide. Sennett wrote two entertaining hard-boiled mysteries in the early 2000s starring journalist Nash Hansen (Nash, Metropolitan, 2004) before turning to nonfiction (Groupon's Biggest Deal Ever, 2012). His return to crime fiction should be welcomed by all fans of the genre: Sennett has some serious storytelling talent. The writing is rich and nuanced, and the characters are lovingly crafted. No stereotypes here; no standard-issue good guys and bad guys. No familiar plot points, either: Sennett will appear to take the story down a familiar road, but then he’ll make an unexpected turn. In an afterword, he says, “Rafe Hendrix will return.” That's good news, indeed, though political-thriller writers like Mark Greaney and Gregg Hurwitz might be wise to watch their backs.

Publishers Weekly
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While an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, Rafe Hendrix, the hero of this high-octane thriller from Sennett (the Nash Hansen mysteries), saved the life of his best friend, Wyetta Johnson, after she was badly injured from a RPG attack. Johnson later became the first Black female gay U.S. president, and Hendrix became the head of her Secret Service detail. That assignment places him in a no-win position when terrorists target Johnson’s wife on a visit to a D.C. school attended by Hendrix’s 11-year-old daughter. His quick decision to shoot a suicide bomber saves the first lady, but a second terrorist detonates an explosive that kills his daughter and her entire class. The choice ends his marriage, and he’s banned from the life of his surviving child, a three-year-old son. Hendrix resigns his post, hoping to make a new start in the relative isolation of Fort Stockton, Tex. But despite that intention, a murder connected to Hendrix sets him on the trail of a killer who’s been recreating political assassinations from American history and may be targeting Johnson. The brisk pace offsets the implausible plot developments. Fans of stoic and resilient action heroes will be entertained. (Feb.)