Savage Road
Chris Hauty
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Buy *Savage Road: A Hayley Chill Thriller* by Chris Hauty online

Savage Road: A Hayley Chill Thriller
Chris Hauty
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
304 pages
January 2021
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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"Humanity is on a collision course with its stunning idiocy."
Savage Road is right on track, a harrowing political thriller with a cast of characters ripped from the headlines: the chronically inept President Vincent Monroe; a tense relationship with Russia; and the growing threat of cyber war.

The female protagonist, Haley Chill, is not only the Chief of Staff to Kyle Rogers, a close aide to the president, but also an agent of the "deeper state" engaged in a secret mission. Her true identity and assignment must be protected at every turn. Juggling her job as Chief of Staff and her secret mission requires exceptional vigilance, and Chill is perfectly suited to keep her finger on the pulse of the highest levels of the White House. She compartmentalizes her work days, her physical conditioning as disciplined as her intellect, with little time for relaxation, let alone romance. She has trained rigorously for her position, on point at a time when the country is most vulnerable to attack - particularly during a cyber warfare threat that has every agency on alert.

Hauty picked the right time for his thriller, the second in a series starring Haley Chill. She's a match for any man but made human in chapters that relate her younger years and a deep affection for a father who died serving his country. Indeed, Haley's search for answers about her father's wartime demise add poignancy to the mission she has undertaken on behalf of her country. Her emotions tightly in check, it is the few moments of feeling that suggest the price Haley has paid to follow her career path.

There is little opportunity, however, for Chill to indulge in her private life. The president's recent actions require extra vigilance, as well as attacks on random targets attributed to "Cyber Jihad," an unknown attacker moving with impunity and seemingly impossible to stop. A brilliant, twisted adversary, this agent of destruction has evaded every attempt to identify or outwit him. Added to the mix is the usual inter-agency bureaucracy of the federal government, people both dedicated and dishonorable, depending on their goals.

Given the pace of the thriller, glimpses of Haley's past soften a protagonist of exceptional skill and character, called upon to intervene at a turbulent time in the country's history, the ability to sabotage the machinery of democracy and foreign influence on the seat of power. The author brings real threat to the edge of the cliff, mimicking the realities of today's political environment. In a crowded field of political fiction, Hauty steps up as a promising contender. Haley Chill is building a broad portfolio in service to a country under attack from abroad and - even more frightening - from within.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Luan Gaines, 2021

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