Miklowitz (Past Forgiving, 1995, etc.), manipulating aspects of current events into a unclouded message, sends a Los Angeles teenager out of the frying pan and into the fire: He escapes his mother, whom he finds unreasonable and demanding, by moving in with his admired father, who turns out to be the leader of an underground militia. With the prospect of learning how to drive, shoot, perhaps even ride his father's horse, Kyle's summer in Michigan looks bright. An initial meeting with a local boy, Hiram, a 16-year-old buzz-cut bigot, and his unsavory friends takes some of the shine off, but all Kyle's pleasure turns to alarm as he discovers that the house has been searched, sees the inventory of his father Ed's ""gun club,"" and hears his anti-government talk. The club is on the march when the IRS seizes a neighbor's farm for back taxes; in the armed confrontation, Hiram is killed. Kyle watches fearfully as Ed vengefully plants a van full of explosives beneath a federal building in Lansing, and, wrestling down his stubborn loyalty, escapes and blows the whistle. When the bomb goes off, the building has been partially evacuated, but the book trails off as the numbers of dead (53) and injured (119) are tallied. Several questions are unanswered, such as who shot Hiram, and the identity of the mysterious prowlers; still, along with the moderately suspenseful plot, Miklowitz creates a realistic conflict in Kyle between his hero worship and his emerging sense of right and wrong.