The Washington Decree, Jussi Adler-Olsen’s latest novel to be published in the United States, tells the compelling and sad story of Bruce Jansen, a senator who experienced tragedy years earlier, and the young people who were there who bonded with him and became his advocates and trusted allies. When he’s elected president of the United States, another tragedy strikes that would destroy most men — but he isn’t like most men.
Soon a trial begins, and while Jansen waits for the truth to reveal itself, he starts crafting a series of presidential orders and pushing laws through Congress that impede the rights of citizens. Lawmakers want to give him the benefit of the doubt since he’s still grieving, but his actions soon turn America into a chaotic and frightening nation, with a man at the helm who is possibly pursuing a dictatorship.
Soon the laws include gun restrictions, checkpoints in major cities and censorship of the media. The country and the lives of every citizen are at risk if nothing is done to stop Jansen and his bold initiatives.
The novel’s vast cast of characters showcases the turbulent fight for justice and what’s right for the country, while some use the power struggle for their own purposes. In the midst of this horror is a beacon of hope.
Adler-Olsen writes as if he’s lived in the United States his entire life, and the novel reads as if it were written recently, not years ago. This thought-provoking and timely political thriller shows the author can craft more than compelling crime scenarios. Jeff Ayers, AP