The secret war in Laos, the Kurds, the cold war, the drug war, Watergate, and Iran-contra are among the submerged stumps and sand bars here through which paddle sundry good and evil employees of the American intelligence industry. Former Jack Anderson staffer Grady's previous thrillers include Steeltown (1989) and Hard Bargains (1985). Boozy renegade intelligence operative Jud Stuart has just enough wit left to realize that he has been shadowed to his low- rent, hard drinkers' bar in L.A., just enough strength left to flip his shadower and break the man's neck. Stuart knows it's time to start running again, but before he leaves town he calls a number in Washington, leaves his old code name, and sets a good many wheels in motion at the CIA, where they have often wondered what became of him. Wes Chandler, a straight-arrow Marine major and lawyer, is drafted to be the secret, off-the-books investigator with one charge--to find Stuart. Conducting a separate search is Stuart's old chum Nick Kelley, a writer who used to work for Washington's leading muckraker. The fleeing Stuart spends considerable time reviewing--at great and occasionally confusing length--his past adventures in order to figure out who is after him and why. Major Chandler, who has no memories to guide him, has to rely on good detective work and friends in useful places. Much blood is spilled, many CIA sins pop up, Richard Nixon haunts the halls, and the inevitable right-wing general lurks in the wings. A brooding, ambitious, and rather long wrap-up of everything awful in the American spy business.