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Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny's political thriller proves two brains are better than one

Any good thriller lover knows: the devil is in the detail. For a story to be truly satisfying, it has to be believable – to immerse you in its world and keep you there until the very last page. This is something State Of Terror (Pan Macmillan), a new political mystery that's out today, does expertly, combining the deft penmanship of award-winning author Louise Penny with the insider knowledge of Hillary Rodham Clinton, a woman who's walked the corridors of power for more than four decades.

"Following the story of Ellen Adams, a secretary of state working under a US president who's out to get her, this is one of the paciest and most complex political thrillers I've read in years," says Stylist's features editor, Meena Alexander. "An ominous text message from an anonymous source soon unravels into an international conspiracy involving terrorist organisations, nuclear weapons and the Russian mafia. Amidst the relentless action, there's also wry commentary on the many (many) barriers that face women navigating positions of power, as Adams deals with male politicians who consistently dismiss, underestimate and undermine her. Although it can veer into melodrama at times (how many cliffhangers is too many cliffhangers?), some of the conversations and vignettes in the Oval Office are so real you wonder if they're lifted directly from Clinton's life. The real thrill, perhaps, is trying to decipher the fact from the fiction." £20, Bookshop.org 

Watch Hillary and Louise in conversation with broadcaster Steph McGovern at 7pm, Wednesday 13 October to discuss their new book – find out more here


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This searing remake of a classic miniseries about marital strife will shred your heart

Unless you've been shunned all social media for the past month, you won't have escaped the online meltdown prompted by Oscar Isaac nuzzling the arm of Jessica Chastain at the Venice Film Festival. As the internet pointed out in a flood of excitable memes, the pair have chemistry in spades – and now, the friends of 20-plus years have brought it to the small screen in Scenes From a Marriage, which debuted in the UK last night. A five-episode remake of the 1973 Ingmar Bergman classic of the same name, the relationship breakdown drama sees Sweden swapped for Boston, and the household gender roles of Marianne and Johan flipped with Chastain and Isaac's Mira and Jonathan.

"What this show does very well, with its long two-person takes, is to illustrate how people with an intimate knowledge of one another can devastate the other by picking up on certain words or throw away remarks, that shift the atmosphere of a room and morph into personal warfare," says Stylist contributor Emily Gargan. "The intensity and claustrophobia of some of these scenes made my stomach flip, which is testament to the visceral performances. If Bergman's message in the original was that the institution of marriage kills love (the series was responsible for a rise in divorce rates in Sweden), this seems to be about how hard it is to truly separate from someone you have deeply loved. It's a tough watch at times but, if you like your TV to serve up all of the emotions, then it's well worth your time." Available now on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV


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