A brisk political thriller from a first-time author who mixes international espionage with escalating domestic paranoia.
Jennie Davenport Scott’s pleasantly boring middle-aged and middle-class life in suburban Dallas collapses following her sudden, unexpected contact with her beloved former husband, Josh Davenport. Trouble is, Josh, an adman and professor, died of an aneurism half a dozen years ago, and Jennie has recently remarried after a suitable period of mourning. But was it just a dream? And is Josh alive, or is Jennie suffering from PTSD—or worse? Enlisting the help of her two grown daughters and current (creepy, possibly bigamous) husband, Nathan, plus a friendly cop and a couple of Josh’s former buddies, Jennie begins her search for the truth—blithely raising red flags in high places, from Washington, D.C., to the secret European headquarters of the Illuminati and their villainous Bilderberg-ish puppet masters, the Brotherhood. Josh’s brief Cold War–era career in the shadowy G-2, a U.S. Army covert ops division, comes back to haunt everyone involved as almost all traces of his life and death—his military records and death certificate, even his gravestone—disappear. It’s The Osterman Weekend but with the sexy 1970s subtext sublimated into full-blown 1980s shopping orgies at Harrods and such, with some mildly Hitchcock-ian red herrings tossed hither and yon. Much like that of the initially clueless heroines in Reginald Hill’s brilliant novels Death of a Dormouse and The Spy’s Wife, Jennie’s growing self-awareness and determination to find the truth are mostly believable and ultimately gratifying—despite a too-easy setup for the inevitable sequel (which will, one hopes, prove to be as well-written and entertaining as the author’s debut).
Not recommended for those planning lengthy trips in planes, trains or helicopters—or anyone who isn’t dead certain what his or her spouse actually does for a living.