Four years ago today, I received the final proof copy of Faithless Elector from the printer. Thank you to everyone who has supported and taken part in a thrilling journey!
It’s one that continues with Dark Network, and the soon-to-be published EMERGENCY POWERS (Oct. 1), which will finish the series. Though focused on Imogen Trager’s struggles, the books have a ripped-from-the-headlines feel: a jaded, cynical electorate, a fractious FBI, an undermined Attorney General, powerful people exploiting the rule of law for their own gain. (There’s even a prison murder made to look like a suicide.) But the books are more than headlines about things people think they know. And darker.
They are tense, #NoirPolitik thrillers about corruption, murder and ultimately a kind of redemption, achieved at enormous personal cost for the feisty heroine, FBI Agent Imogen Trager and those around her.
Back in those seemingly innocent Spring days of early 2016, no one could be sure who the candidates would be. I made a conscious choice to use fictional candidates. While I hoped the book’s topicality in the run-up to the election would help it stand apart from the hundreds of other political thrillers out there (it did!), I didn’t want it to be a broadside–about one real party or candidate trying to steal the election.
It was important that readers see the larger themes of power politics and not automatically view the events through the divisive prism of the primaries. The story would suffer under the weight of pre-existing views. I wanted the book to express a broader dilemma about the real-world consequences of democratic deficiency. I’m gratified that readers have seemed to embrace this part of the book. The story appeals to conservatives and liberals alike because it’s about all of us.
The key to Faithless Elector was that in a close Electoral College race, it would not take much to tip the scales. A disciplined, well-funded group could undermine and hijack the parties–and the will of the people. It was a danger then, and the danger remains potent now. Moreover, the novel’s plot hinges on the actions of ordinary citizens thrust into extraordinary circumstances, forced to act, forced to risk everything for their belief in democracy.
Since its publication on March 23, 2016, Faithless Elector has found a readership, for which I am deeply grateful. I’ve had correspondence from all over the US, the UK and Australia. Most of it has been very positive (some of it alarmingly CAPS LOCK hostile, but those folks were never actual readers).
I’ve had two readers who reached out to me and identified themselves as real Electors. One, himself a professor, felt events in the book were a little too close for his comfort: he wrote to me that one night, he, like the fictional Professor Calder, was working late at the university. The sudden sounds of slamming doors and footsteps echoing through his building unnerved him. He decided to finish his work at home that night.
I have heard from other readers that the book has ruined parking garages for them. They can no longer view them as just ugly features on the landscape, but as fraught with danger. Graduate students and academics have told me they enjoyed the portrayals of Calder and Matthew and university life. I’ve loved meeting readers–in person and online–and I’ve had wonderful questions at the readings and book talks I’ve done, as well as passionate appeals to bring back certain relatively minor characters. (I’ll do what I can!)
Here’s to Imogen and Duncan, and as always, Matthew!
The Imogen Trager Thrillers at a glance:
Faithless Elector – Everyone thinks the election is over, but six weeks is a long time in politics. An idealistic, young researcher stumbles onto a plot to steal the presidency, with deadly consequences.
Dark Network – Without law, there’s only power. FBI Agent Imogen Trager is alone and in grave danger from a conspiracy she failed to destroy. She’ll have to fight against time, a sinister network, and even her own colleagues to defeat it.
Emergency Powers (Oct. 1) – No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. The investigation that was FBI Agent Imogen Trager’s undoing may be the key to stopping a brutal, false flag terrorist attack meant to tighten a puppet president’s grip on power.
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James McCrone is the author of the Imogen Trager political suspense-thrillers Faithless Elector and Dark Network , about a stolen presidency, a conspiracy, and a nation on edge. The third book, Emergency Powers, is coming October 1st, and he’s at work on a fourth book called Bastard Verdict (w/t) .
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