The shocking resurfacing of a long-vanished fugitive--Cass Jameson's old friend and fellow-activist Jan Gebhardt turns herself in to the authorities--yanks Cass out of her New York orbit to the side of her quadriplegic brother in Ohio and back in time to 1982, when Ron Jameson allegedly drove his van to the spot where Jan executed a federal agent. In fact, this resurgent nightmare goes back even further, to a misfired prank in 1969 that led to Ron's losing his conscientious-objector status (whence Vietnam and quadriplegia) and to another friend's death, as well as to Cass's band of student protestors breaking apart. Now John Wesley Tannock, running for governor, insists he never inhaled; his perennial campaign manager Paul Tarkanian is ready to do whatever it takes to keep Wes's skirts clean; flamboyant Joel Rapaport is hiding a past whose infractions range from selling drugs to smuggling illegals across the border to manufacturing bogus, substandard airplane parts; Rap's ex-wife Dana Sobel tells anybody who'll listen that she didn't know anything about Rap's mischief; and Ted Havlicek, who's been writing it all up for the papers, would have the story of his career if he put all the pieces together. Which leaves Cass, determined to protect Ron from whatever fallout Jan's plotted for him, and Ron, who's still keeping secrets his sister can't imagine. Wheat's dazzlingly plotted fifth (Mean Streak, 1996, etc.) plows much of the same rich territory as Scott Turow's Laws of Our Fathers, but at half the length. Required reading for anybody who remembers the '60s--or anybody who's forgotten them.