The Kingfisher Secret, an anonymous novel about how the KGB engineered Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House. The publisher claims the author is 'a respected writer and former journalist,' whose 'identity is being kept secret in order to protect the source of the ideas that inspired this novel.' ... According to The Kingfisher Secret, Russia’s efforts to disrupt American democracy at the highest levels began in the late 1960s when a pretty athlete named Elena was plucked from Czechoslovakia for an elite spy program ... 'The goal of the program was achingly simple,' the narrator explains with aching simplicity: 'to encourage and create agents of disorder and chaos in America, to use democracy as a weapon against itself.' ... in general, though, The Kingfisher Secret is a silly confection about Russian scheming spun within the broad outlines of Ivana’s life. Aside from a few car chases and thuggish murders, the author demonstrates neither the narrative ingenuity nor the stylistic vitality to make the story engaging. Admittedly, the confirmed and speculative details of the president’s malfeasant career are hard for fiction to match, but this plot doesn’t exert itself any more than Donald Trump lumbering around his golf course ... Someday, we’ll get a great novel about this era, and when it comes, it won’t need anonymity to grab our attention.
Let’s see: Put a very rich man with political aspirations into bed with a porn star who decides that maybe she’d like to tell her side of the story. Mix in a Czech ex-wife and a coterie of Russian intelligence agents, all in 'spitting distance from the White House' as of the fall of 2016, and you have the makings of either an average day’s newspaper headlines or this espionage yarn, written by an anonymous author who’ll likely be outed as fast as Joe Klein was ... Parts of the thriller are a touch undercooked, but there are some well-played moments, including the deserved comeuppance of one Soviet-era bad guy by another who deserves it just as much. There are lots of twists and turns, red herrings, and characters to follow—as our American patsy says, 'I can’t keep track of all the -skys'—but Anonymous does a competent enough job of keeping all the plates in the air. John le Carré it’s not, but even when truth is stranger than fiction, this bit of fiction is satisfyingly offbeat.
Shortly before the 2016 election, Grace Elliott, the book’s heroine, is writing a story for the National Flash, a Montreal-based tabloid, about porn star Violet Rain, who claims to have slept with New York businessman, automobile entrepreneur, and presidential candidate Anthony Craig. The Flash buys the story, but it’s never released. Meanwhile, Grace has a falling out with Craig’s ex-wife, former gymnastics star Elena Klimentová, with whom she has been writing a column ... Bodies begin to pile up in Grace’s wake as she travels around Europe gathering dirt. Readers familiar with the saga of Donald Trump and his first wife, Ivana, will have fun deciding how much of this roman à clef is based on the truth