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Thursday 17 October 2019
‘The Washington Decree’ by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Published by Quercus Editions Ltd,
8 August 2019.
ISBN: 978 1 52940 139 4 (PBO)
This stand-alone novel, that crosses the pond and is ably translated from the Danish language into English by Steve Schein, was first published in Denmark in 2006. What the reader encounters is a rising politician who has suffered two horrifying history - repeats - itself bereavements. The brutal, fatal stabbing of Bruce Jansen’s first wife, Caroll, in China, which they were visiting when he was governor of Virginia, is still a festering wound when, 16 years later, his second wife, Mimi, pregnant with their first child, is gunned down on election night when he scores victory as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.
Despite the trauma, the grieving President is sworn in and assumes office and, vowing to end gun violence by whatever means, sheds his liberal tendencies and introduces autocratic iniatives that suspend Constitutional rights, censors the media, bars freedom of movement and generally abuses power.
Dorothy “Doggie” Rogers, newly appointed to the White House, and Press Secretary Wesley Barefoot, reunite with their stalwart band of campaigners who’ve supported Jansen from way back, to make it their mission to stop what’s happening. To make matters worse, it is Doggie’s right-wing Republican father who is identified as the evil mastermind in the murder of Mimi and now languishes on death row.
The pace picks up, the reader rides a rollercoaster of twists and turns, the tension rises and in chapter 40, the reader becomes a fly on the wall listening to the true assailant’s conversation with his conspirators.
The author wraps up the story with his usual compositional skill and narrative rhythm; what is nerve-racking is the plausibility of something much like that spinning out of control in the US. All in all, it’s an intriguing political thriller that’s certain to hook the author’s many fans.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax
Jussie Adler-Olsen was born Carl Valdemar Jussi Henry Adler-Olsen on 2 August 1950 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a Danish author, publisher, editor and entrepreneur. Jussi Adler-Olsen's career is characterised by his great involvement in a wide range of media related activities.
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.