... The People’s House, a quick, lively thriller full of labyrinthine scandal and homey Rust Belt touches—reads like a user’s guide to the last two years in U.S. politics.Equally interesting, Politico says, is that Pepper appears to be on the verge of astonishing readers and reviewers once more with The Wingman (St. Helena Press), his sophomore novel starring a veteran Midwestern reporter named Jack Sharpe:
And Pepper wrote the book before any of it actually happened.
The People’s House centers around a Russian scheme to flip an election and put Republicans in power by depressing votes in the Midwest. Pipeline politics play an unexpectedly outsize role. Sexual harassment and systematic coverups in Congress abound. But it’s no unimaginative rehash. Pepper released the book in the summer of 2016, just as the presidential contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was heating up—and before Russia’s real-life campaign to influence the election had been revealed. In fact, the heart of the story had been written for three years when [the] Russian government sent hackers to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee and sent their trolls to influence the election on social media. The Putin-like oligarch Pepper portrays as pulling the strings of U.S. politics had been fleshed out for two.
Using a self-publishing service, Pepper didn’t expect much of a reception, and he didn’t get one at first, beyond his amused friends and colleagues. But when a Wall Street Journal reviewer [Tom Nolan] that November surprised him by calling The People’s House “a sleeper candidate for political thriller of the year,” that started to change.
Now, one year into Trump’s tenure, his second offering in the otherwise dull world of political thrillers—which comes out on Monday—is an equally complex tale of kompromat influencing a presidential election, even more sexual misconduct, and an Erik Prince-like military contractor with close ties to the administration, this time told through the lens of a rollicking Democratic presidential primary. He wrote it before the now-infamous Steele dossier became public knowledge (and before, Pepper says, he learned about it)—and months before revelations about the Blackwater founder’s close ties to the Trump team and its Russian entanglements.Read more about these books and their author by clicking here.
If the first parallels were eerie, these ones were, Pepper admits, maybe even spooky.
So this time, it’s not only the citizens of Twitter, but also Pepper’s friends who are looking at him with a raised eyebrow an an unbelieving grin.