Jul 17, 2023 - Culture

Jake Tapper's new novel taps in 1970s Washington

Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage

In Jake Tapper’s new novel, “All The Demons Are Here,” characters pick up strangers in Northern Virginia and work at a fictitious newsroom that’s a little bit Washington Post and a little bit Washington City Paper.

Driving the news: The CNN anchor this month released his third fiction book, a thriller partially set in 1970s Washington. It comes two years after his previous novel, “The Devil May Dance.”

Between the lines: Beyond scenes that take place in the Senate dining room and the waterfront, D.C. readers may recognize a specific cultural touchstone in this novel: Slugging.

Context: “Slugging” is a Beltway tradition dating back to the 1970s where commuters in Northern Virginia flock to designated areas to be picked up by drivers who can then use the HOV lanes.

What they’re saying: “It’s a very bizarre D.C. phenomenon,” Tapper tells Axios — and a huge part of his book. “I think it’s the first time anyone has written about HOV lanes and slugs. It’s a very important subculture in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.”

The book also contains somewhat of a callback to Tapper’s experience as a former Washington City Paper writer: A newsroom in the novel is based a bit on the alt-weekly, as well as his time in the Roll Call newsroom and his visits to the Washington Post.

  • The difference? “The newsroom I describe is the nicest newsroom in the history of newsrooms,” he tells Axios, set on the Georgetown waterfront and owned by a wealthy family. Very unlike most newsrooms.

Where to buy: Anywhere books are sold, but you can order a personalized autographed copy at East City Bookstore or Politics and Prose.


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