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The Hellfire Club
Cover of The Hellfire Club
The Hellfire Club

1950's DC intrigue about a secret society and a young Congressman in its grip

Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career ... but for his life.

1950's DC intrigue about a secret society and a young Congressman in its grip

Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career ... but for his life.

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About the Author-
  • Jake Tapper is a CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent. Prior to joining CNN, he was the senior White House correspondent for ABC News. He has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Weekly Standard, among many other publications. He is the author of Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency. He lives in Washington, DC.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 26, 2018
    CNN’s chief Washington correspondent Tapper (The Outpost) makes his fiction debut with an intriguing if uneven political thriller set during the McCarthy era. In December 1953, a New York seat in the House of Representatives becomes vacant upon its occupant’s mysterious death. Charlie Marder, a Columbia University academic and WWII veteran, is appointed to fill it after some backstage maneuvering from his well-connected father, a Manhattan power broker. Marder and his zoologist wife, Margaret, make the move to D.C., which is in the grips of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare, as well as the dual shining lights of the Kennedy brothers. It’s soon clear that Marder is more pawn than player in a political chess game, even when he tries to stand up against money being funneled to a company that produced shoddy gas masks during the war. He makes friends with the veterans on Capitol Hill, joining them in liquor-soaked poker games. Tapper, whose intimate knowledge of Washington is undeniable, initially spends more time building up the Communist-hunting ambience of the 1950s than developing the plot, but once Marder closes in on a secret society and its tentacles within the government, the action rapidly picks up. Fans of well-researched historicals will be rewarded. Author tour. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly.

  • AudioFile Magazine CNN anchor and novelist Jake Tapper narrates a great summer listen as he re-creates 1950s McCarthy-era Washington in this thriller. Tapper uses his best broadcasting voice when describing the trials and tribulations of newly minted Congressman and war hero Charlie Marder as he acclimates to hardball national politics. At times, Tapper's dramatic pacing falters, and his character portrayals are weak, but his overall performance is enjoyable, especially when his characters interact with compelling historical figures like Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy. At the center of the story is Charlie's relationship with his newly pregnant wife, Margaret. Tapper shines when depicting the intimacies of people who are struggling to extricate themselves from the Washington swamp. R.O. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
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