Deep State is terrific. It is immediately engrossing, features a strong and endearing protagonist, and coasts along so smoothly and quickly that one never misses the fact that there is no good place to stop reading, if only temporarily. It is everything that a classic thriller, particularly a political thriller, should be ... It is full of twists and turns, including a big one at the conclusion ... if you were in front of me, I would forcefully place Deep State into your hands and guarantee you will enjoy every page of it, as much for Hayley as for the plot, the writing, and...well, everything.
... a white-knuckle reading experience that almost hits a little too close to home for comfort. The plot, more timely than most Americans will care to admit, moves at the speed of a runaway freight train, and Hauty’s hero, Hayley Chill, displays the kind presence that’s rarely seen in a debut novel. Perhaps most impressively, though, is the author’s uncanny ability to tell his story from both sides of the aisle without ever offering his own political commentary, making Deep State an enjoyable read for both conservatives and liberals—an increasingly rare feat in today’s world. With his super-charged plot and a perfectly-timed, mind-bending twist, Chris Hauty becomes the latest writer to take the thriller world by storm . . . Deep State will compete for best debut novel of 2020 and have readers dying for the anticipated follow-up.
... it reads like a screenplay ... The contentious political landscape plays out to realistic effect, but some jarring point-of-view shifts in the narrative take the reader out of the story temporarily. The ending seems pulled directly from a movie, which will remain nameless to avoid a massive spoiler. Hayley remains an intriguing character, however, making the novel still worth reading, even with its flaws.
... an engrossing, if flawed, political thriller ... A refreshing change from the typical male action hero, Hayley is a capable, kick-ass, and sharp woman from unassuming roots. Unfortunately, the sudden climactic revelation, which would have worked on the screen, will have readers skimming back to see if the moment has been foreshadowed and earned (it hasn’t). Hauty shows enough talent to suggest he can do better next time.
... told in slightly clunky prose, but the novel's biggest weakness is its reliance on Hayley Chill and her somewhat implausible array of talents, strength, training, intelligence, and grit. Cute and savvy as a Swiss Army knife, there's nothing she cannot accomplish, except being believable. A workmanlike plot, but the main character lacks human depth.