A bizarro thriller featuring messianic cultists, power-hungry politicos, and nonstop dirty tricks from both groups. Senator Will Sullivan has his eye on the White House. His wife Gwen has hers on motherhood and doesn’t care much what house she lives in as long as it has a functioning nursery. But in terms of ambition both are out-vaunted by one Wesley Dean Theroux. He wants to be the Messiah. Never mind that W.D. is in jail awaiting imminent execution for mass murder. For reasons best understood by the author, this psycho’s been provided with a laptop, which he uses to connect with his loyal (read: fanatical) band of “True Believers.” At the click of the mouse, the disciples—numbering 12 (surprise! surprise!)—will kill whoever, whenever, wherever. Or kidnap, for that matter, which is what they do to poor Gwen. But not before they arrange a little artificial insemination caper: after all, somebody’s got to carry on the great work when W.D. is gone. Once Messiah Junior is born, the plan is to off Gwen and let the disciples groom the child for its high calling. Meanwhile, Will, desperate to retrieve his stolen wife, has trouble enlisting the help of the Beltway establishment. It’s all cynical wheeling-dealing, you see, and honest (read: relatively) Will has earned himself a passel of enemies through the years. So (surprise! surprise!) he’s left on his lonesome. Not to worry, though. Help is on hand from an author entirely undeterred by considerations of plausibility. Once again, Richardson demonstrates uncommon political savvy (Dark Horse, 1997); his Beltway stuff is both convincing and darkly funny. As for rest, if you liked Die Hard II, a film for which he provided the screenplay, you’ll probably go along.