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Storm Rising: A Hayley Chill Thriller


Storm Rising: A Hayley Chill Thriller

STORM RISING, the third book in Chris Hauty’s series featuring intelligence agent Hayley Chill, takes us to West Texas, where an insurrection is brewing. But Hayley is there to find out what really happened to her father, and only stumbles on the broader story as she tries to determine if he died a bigoted traitor or a hero. The “deeper state operative,” as Hauty insists on referring to her, is ostensibly an aide to a US senator, but is given free rein to dig deeper into the motives and operations of the group behind the secretive “Storm” movement.

"The denouement is as bloody as much of the book, with a few twists that flesh out Hayley’s personal saga..."

In the course of her investigation, the operative --- who works for powerful politicos intent on preserving democracy --- manages to murder and maim her way into the house of the mastermind behind the movement, Senator James Woodside. Needless to say, she and her guide arrive just as a literal storm is brewing. Will they find what they need in time to stop the impending mayhem? Do they have any allies among the gathering crowds? Will Hayley find out the truth about her father’s death?

The denouement is as bloody as much of the book, with a few twists that flesh out Hayley’s personal saga, but it doesn’t make up for a story that seems cobbled together. The characters have thoughts like “At least I can go down fighting” and ask questions like “What are you going to say to your boss?” only to get answers like “The truth.” Tenses, mostly in the present, move to the past whenever anything has to be explained, or to the subjunctive for some foreshadowing of events, as in “this activity would come to haunt X a decade down the road.”

Hauty tackles big questions in his books, from Russia’s influence to cyber attacks and treason. But STORM RISING, which takes on a stew of topical themes, including white supremacy, survivor’s guilt, immigration and dissention within the military, has a hard time getting beyond superficial explanations. The same is true of its characters, who resemble --- not surprisingly, given Hauty’s screenwriting credits --- action heroes and villains rather than human beings.

Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley on May 13, 2022

Storm Rising: A Hayley Chill Thriller
by Chris Hauty