Plans to turn San Francisco into the next Ground Zero go awry when Jamal Thomas, a kid hoping to join a gang, hijacks a Prius. The driver gets away, but Jamal commandeers the vehicle, speeds into an intersection, collides with another car and suffers serious injury. Enter SFPD bomb-squad officer Tom Drabinsky, on a FAM trip with Jack Hatfield, who lost his gig as a right-wing radio commentator after the “liberal media elite” labeled him an “Islamaphobe." (Author Savage is a conservative talk-show host.) Drabinsnky is killed when a bomb in the car explodes, a bomb later determined to be of “military grade.” Hatfield sniffs a cover-up—and a story that might put him back on top—when police arrest a group known as the “Constitutional Defense Brigade" and charge them with the bombing. Convinced an Islamic cell is up to something big, Hatfield appoints himself to uncover what’s really at stake, a decision that comes as no surprise after several digressive editorial passages in which he makes clear he puts little or no trust in police, government and, to some extent, the church. (Frequently recalling Bible verses he finds reassuring, Hatfield makes clear he believes in some sort of divine wisdom.) After a group of men in dark suits take out Jamal, lest he describe the man driving the Prius, Hatfield obtains footage of their getaway car. Spotting a parking decal linked to Great Britain, Hatfield has no compunction about bribing a computer hacker to find out who the men are. Details in hand, he sprints to Israel and then to Great Britain to learn—and stop—what’s afoot.
Ten years after 9/11, the tropes of terrorism thrillers wear thin. For fans of Fox News, Savage’s right-wing POV (but little else) may lend some distinction.