A Midwestern developer is recalled to New York, where the wild oats he sowed years ago are waiting to pull him into a terrorist plot.
Long before religion and middle age claimed him, Jason Harrow was into the S&M scene. Now, out of the blue, his last partner, Lauren Wilmont, calls him to say that she needs his help with something she can’t talk about over the phone. It turns out that Serena, her teenaged daughter, has run away, and she wants Jason to talk her into coming home. It’s no great trick to find Serena, who may be his own daughter, but her drunken babbling about how “I didn’t know they were going to kill him” warns Jason that he’s stumbled onto something scary. The first of a series of monumental coincidences links Serena’s ramblings to college student Casey Diggs, who vanished after taking heat for his newspaper story about an inflammatory anti-Zionist rally on an unidentified campus readers will have no trouble recognizing. Realizing that he’s either incredibly paranoid or that Serena knows just enough about a terrorist group to endanger herself and everyone around her, Jason labors to prevent “the End of Civilization as We Know It” as he juggles his loyalty to her, Lauren, the justice system and the values that have sustained him in a life he fears is rapidly slipping away.
Klavan (Damnation Street, 2006, etc.) gets a C-minus for plausibility, an A for thrills.