A conspiracy theorist gets into hot water when he becomes the subject of an arcane frame-up.
Talk radio host Noory (Talking to the Dead, 2011, etc.) mines his own storied career on Coast to Coast AM for this implausible but wildly entertaining postmodern take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The author’s fictional avatar is Greg Nowell, the Los Angeles–based host of Night Talk with the Nighthawk, one of those witching-hour broadcasts that warms the hearts of truck drivers, insomniacs, and tinfoil hat fashionistas. “What you call paranoia, I call genuine concerns,” Nowell explains. “Our government is not perfect; it spies on us and oftentimes it acts stupid. No business is perfect.” One night, the radio host gets an unhinged call from meth-addicted hacker Ethan Shaw, who declares that Greg has killed him and then sails out the 12th-story window of the building across from the studio. The shock jock finds himself in deep trouble when agents from a mysterious government agency accuse him of having received both funds and files from the late hacker just before his death. Soon Greg is on the run with a young woman, Alyssa Neal, who has become collateral damage in the ongoing explosion of his life. From here, the novel plays out like an action-packed combination of The X-Files and Six Days of the Condor as Greg and Alyssa struggle to work out where Ethan’s bread crumbs of data lead, not to mention playing a tense cat-and-mouse game with an insane but determined assassin who has been set on their trail. Ultimately, the conspiracy at the heart of Greg's unraveling is something of a MacGuffin, but it’s a good one that ties together the Snowden revelations, the National Reconnaissance Office, the surveillance state, and, yes, aliens.
An action-packed, deeply paranoid adventure in which all those conspiracy theories, ranging from UFOs to the Kennedy assassination, turn out to be true after all.