...[a] psychotically entertaining and eerily on-target new novel of U.S. presidential politics in a not-so-distant future ... The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear is not a deep meditation on who we are and where we’re going. Rich characterization? Not much. Remember — it’s the story ... Stevens’ prose is clever, spare, and sturdy, but you’ll find no magic in his words.
Mr. Stevens, a veteran of the George W. Bush and Mitt Romney campaigns, brings a full arsenal of gifts to this enterprise: humor, tactile prose and an insider’s knowledge of the hardball tactics employed on the campaign trail...The problem is that Mr. Stevens’s Donald Trump-like villain and a Hillary Clinton-like rival pale next to their real life counterparts ... By far the most interesting parts of this novel are the behind-the-scenes accounts of the tactical and strategic maneuvering of political operatives faced with a contested convention.
Clearly, Stevens has assembled all the accoutrements for a crazy political novel, but it suffers from a disappointing lack of satiric courage ... Pining for a satire fit for our times, we get instead a perfectly reasonable Romneyesque comedy that probably has binders full of uproarious incidents stuffed away in a drawer somewhere.