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The Hellfire Club

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  6,545 ratings  ·  847 reviews
The debut political thriller from Jake Tapper, CNN's chief Washington correspondent and the New York Times bestselling author of The Outpost -- 1950's D.C. intrigue about a secret society and a young Congressman in its grip.

Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navi
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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3.5 stars. Jake Tapper is one of my favorite journalists, and one of my celebrity crushes--that stern face! and watching him hold Kellyanne Conway's feet to the fire! 😍😍😍--so when I found out he wrote a novel I was intrigued, and I downloaded the audiobook as soon as it was available. I was a bit unsure what to expect, given the mixed reviews so far, but I thought this was really fun!

If you enjoy political machinations, history, and thrillers this book is a delightful way to pass some time, and
Jeffrey Keeten
”McCarthy’s opponents were beginning to gain ground, but Tail Gunner Joe, as he’d been nicknamed by someone, perhaps McCarthy himself, was winning the war of attrition; his adversaries were exhausted. He remained popular with a strong segment of the public, whose support of him seemed impervious to obvious moments of indecency and prevarication. Those who feared McCarthy might never actually go away and that the fever of McCarthyism might never break were growing despondent.”

It’s 1954, and Charl
Ron Charles
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Jake Tapper, the tenacious anchor of CNN, the merciless slayer of alternative facts, the dogged deflator of political egos, has written a novel about corruption in Washington. In the scandal-a-day era of President Trump, the news doesn’t leave much room for fiction about our government’s debauchery, but Tapper still heaps plenty of scorn on the king of chaos:

“He’s impossible to ignore. He’s become this . . . planet . . . blocking the sun. And whatever points he makes that have validity are blott
Krystin Rachel
Shamless Shameful Self-Promotion: Book Blog | Bookstagram

“The human soul isn't sold once but rather slowly and methodically and piece by piece.”

Opening Hook: A politician, a dead woman and a car walk into a bar drive off of a bridge
Main Character: A bowl of oatmeal wearing khakis
Plot Twisty-ness: If you turned Washington D.C. into a corn maze

A word of advice, don’t read books that are outside of your interests because you have an intellectual crush on the author.

What are my interests
Lori Lamothe
4.5 stars

Charlie Marder is a freshman Congressman appointed after his predecessor dies under mysterious circumstances that involve a hooker and a cheap hotel room. He’s also a bestselling historian with a powerful father and a brainy, beautiful wife who is expecting their first child. Despite Charlie’s familiarity with academia’s intense rivalries, he finds himself unprepared for the deep-rooted corruption he encounters in 1950s Washington, DC. After a car accident leaves a woman dead he and his
May 15, 2018 marked it as abandoned
DNF @ 30%.  The sun is rising on March 5th, 1954 as newly appointed congressman Charlie Marder wakes up on a creek bank with his tuxedo covered in mud. Nearby, a car is submerged in the creek and a dead woman lies in a drainage ditch. His memory is fuzzy and he can't remember how he got there. He's in the midst of rationalizing leaving the scene when a car pulls up.

“You may prove to be a great soldier,” Winston Marder said. “Not because you’re tough. Because you’re smart. But sacrifices are m
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh. I guess I fell for the photos on Twitter of celebrities reading this book. You got me, Hellfire Club PR campaign!

“The Hellfire Club” has a great beginning that really grabs you, and then falters and meanders for almost all of the rest of the book. It did pick up at the last 16% (I read it on Kindle), but that’s too little too late. For a thriller only to pick up in the last pages of a book is disappointing. If only there had been more of that zippy last 16% writing throughout! This book wou
Jill Mackin
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 50s, dc, thriller
Great combination of politics, history and intrigue set in 1950's Washington, DC. ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
pony zoologist
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. Read my full review at ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
After reading about 25% of this book, nothing was happening except a lot of name dropping. I gave up at that point. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Y'all. Y'ALLLLL. You need to read this shit NOW. It is so bad it's amazing!

OK so to be fair, I really like Jake Tapper as a journalist on CNN. He's solemn, he's informed, he's measured, and he's experienced. I also respect him very much as an historian, because he knows his shit and is incredibly-educated about issues relating to wars, veterans-rights, etc. His passion and insights are real and credible.


I mean Jeebus,
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
Sometimes I had to remind myself this story is based in the McCarthy era, not today. Amid the corruption in Washington, concern about the "Reds'" and the lack of morals in a great number of people, is the story of new Congressman Charlie and his pregnant wife Maggie, and how they get caught up in all that's happening in Washington's underbelly. If the names McCarthy and Eisenhower weren't in the last chapter, though, I think most people would believe he's writing about today.

Jake Tapper. Award-w
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A fascinating tale of espionage within Washington D.C. The secret societies such as the very real Hellfire Club are astonishingly dangerous. President Dwight Eisenhower is quoted with insights into the future of the U.S.A. which have unfortunately developed. Jake Trapper has written a historical fiction novel with valuable footnotes. He includes information about the Joe McCarthy hunt for political opponents and of the efforts to ruin the comic book industry. I really enjoyed the twists and turn ...more
OK so to be fair, I love Jake Tapper as a journalist on CNN. He's solemn, he's informed, he's measured, and he's experienced. I also respect him very much as a historian, because he is incredibly educated about issues relating to wars, veterans-rights, etc. I chose this book because of Tapper's unique insight from having such close proximity to major political players. Unfortunately, he forgot how to be precise and filled the book with a lot of stuff. A murder was committed in the first few page ...more
Tom Walsh
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
I chose this novel because of Tapper’s reputation as a journalist. His recent performance on CNN’s State of the Union has shown him to be knowledgeable of the workings of the Federal Government, it’s history, policies and politics.

Reading The Hellfire Club hasn’t diminished my respect for his journalism. He provides valuable insights into the backroom arrangements that turn the gears of government. He shines a bright light on a particularly dark period of American History and the politicians th
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is historical fiction, set in the 1950's.
I think the story was good, and it's obvious that Jake Tapper has done his historical homework.
It blends real politicians -- Lyndon Johnson, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Richard Nixon, to name a few -- with fictional politicians, and real events with fictional events.
So there was a lot of history that needed to be conveyed in order to fully understand and appreciate the story, and that, for me, made the story drag a little.
I think now that all the groundwork
Sep 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
There's no way to sugarcoat it. This is a really awful book. I kept hoping it would get better, but no such luck. The gimmicky mixture of actual persons and fictional characters simply does not work. The plot is convoluted and nonsensical. The dialogue is unrealistic as are the author's hopeless attempts to throw in his research results from time to time to make his 1954 setting seem believable. I think Jake Tapper should stick to his day job. ...more
Jim Harville
I liked the historical anecdotes, and I thought the real characters (Kefauver, McCarthy, Cohn, etc.) mingling with the fictional heroes and villains was fun—for awhile. But the message (You think 2018 is bad? Well let me tell you about the Red Scare in 1954!) is a little clichéd at this point. And the last third of the book is a preposterous mishmash of Dan Brown coincidence, twists, and nonsense.
Daniella Bernett
A taut, tense thriller steeped in intrigue. Jake Tapper deftly weaves a story about the insidious and corrosive political landscape during the McCarthy era. There are eerie parallels to today's Washington. I couldn't put the book down. ...more
Kay Wahrsager
Stick to news

Possibly the worst book I’ve read this year. An utterly convoluted tale of Washington, the red menace and ponies. The disjointed plot bounces around and eventually dots connect but the conclusion is absurd.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ut-online-lib
Enjoyable for the most part, but the cliches wear on you after a few chapters. Not a great book, but a turn-your-brain-off kind of story with certain elements that draw you in and make you want to know how it wraps up.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jake-tapper
Intense! Extremely thought provoking, and made me interested in the history of the 1950's. This title had me looking up stuff as I read it, which is why it took a while to read, but it was definitely worth the time. I won this book through Goodreads Giveaway and got one heck of a hard to put down and memorable title. I hope there might be plans for a film adaption at some point. It might actually be a title worth turning into a graphic novel at some point. I highly recommend this title. ...more
Mel Parks
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you love politics, history and Washington, this is a perfect book. It’s easy to read, engaging and fun. Jake Tapper is a great writer and I couldn’t put it down. Definitely add it to your reading list!
Renay Russell
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Being a bit of a fan of Jake Tapper is what originally drew me to his new book but I really liked the political thriller! Worth a read!
Dayna Linton
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent political thriller set in the 1950s during the intrigue and despotism of the McCarthy era.

Admittedly, it was a little hard for me to get started but that is because I’m a news junkie and when I go to bed, I like to escape. That, however, takes nothing away from the storyline nor the writing, both of which were fantastic.

Though a fictional novel, Mr. Tapper includes many historical facts, while weaving a compelling thriller which kept me up late each night.

Jake Tapper has certainly d
Christopher Saunders
Jake Tapper’s debut novel depicts a naive congressman navigating the treacherous terrain of 1950s Washington, from the battles on Capitol Hill to the only slightly less dignified backrooms of its bars, private clubs and secret societies. Also, there’s a murder because you need a plot, hinging on an underdeveloped arc about chemical weapons and corrupt contractors. Tapper certainly did his research, with more ‘50s political figures appearing here than your average Robert Caro book (everyone from ...more
Deb Jones
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perhaps even more chilling and thought-provoking than any psychological thriller, a political thriller such as The Hellfire Club instills an uneasiness in the reader. After all, no matter how gruesome or sadistic a serial killer may be, political mayhem affects a society as a whole and has international ramifications.

A principled but politically-naive Charlie Marder receives an appointment to fulfill the term of a long-time House of Representatives member after that man's suicide. Charlie's past
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A political thriller set in early 1950's USA, this book mixes researched historical fact and a fictional story which, in the final fifth, turns into something similar to the script for a James Bond movie! The flawed "hero"is a naive young Congressman Charlie Marder who becomes involved in a conspiracy overseen by top politicians, billionaire businessmen and the USA's intelligence services. A fatal car accident leaves Charlie beholden to sinister Washington figures who manipulate him into dishing ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well told story of dirty politics, the communist scare in the 50’s and those trying to rise above it yet also playing by the “compromised” rules. It is set against a backdrop of familiar people and places.
I got caught in the drama and intrigue and found many similarities to the politics of today.
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CNN anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper joined the network in January 2013. The Lead with Jake Tapper, his one-hour weekday program, debuted in March 2013. Tapper was named host of the network's Sunday morning show, State of the Union, in June 2015. Tapper has been a widely respected reporter in the nation's capital for more than 14 years. His most recent book, The Outpost: An U ...more

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