It was preposterous. Poisoning America's water. Really. At work, she rejected at least two thrillers every month dealing with wicked Arabs poisoning American's water supply. She'd even seen a TV movie about it."" And now, despite its heroine's misgivings, yet another novel. Literary editor Amelia Pierce's father Arthur has retired from a soft desk-job (wink, wink) as a CIA cryptographer to work in sleepy Puerta Vittoria for the global Hyatt News Service when he's retired again, along with his wife, by a terrorist whose signature is severing his victims' ears (over a hundred so far). Amelia, still reeling from the news of her father's true vocation (' ""That was why he was never home,' she said softly""), is convinced that she dispatched the killer with a headshot as he pursued her through the Puerta Vittoria swamps. But when she's spirited off to Switzerland to report the deaths to Davis Hyatt, Hyatt's right-hand man Burt Sergeant--who's been dogging the ear collector, Billy Starr, for ten years--insists that he escaped from Puerta Vittoria and is two steps behind Amelia. Certainly somebody's on her trail--a chauffeur and a hospital nurse have already tried to kill her--but is it Billy Starr or somebody even worse, the dreaded Man With No Name? Only two more murder attempts by the improbably butterfingered assassin and a reckless sprint from New York to the Ozark valleys will reveal just which of these compulsively double-dealing spooks--Hyatt, Sergeant, Arthur Pierce's dashing heir-apparent Wade Turner--can be believed about the plot to dump the plague virus that shut down the Puerta Vittoria prison into plumbing across America. A deliriously overgalvanized debut by Stryker, allegedly a pseudonym for two bestselling Edgar-winners. Cold-eyed Billy Staff never would've relied on such a feeble cover story.