Buried secrets resurface to threaten the lives and careers of four Londoners whose interlocking relationships are strained to the breaking point.
Back in the 1980s, Julian Fisher was a spy working in Moscow. Now he runs Hadfish Systems, a software development company, with his pal Rami and lives with his longtime lover, Sheila, a real estate agent who knows no more than Rami of his past. Is it this intense sense of personal privacy that triggers Julian's numerous unexplained illnesses? Rami's new girlfriend, Cassie, takes an instant liking to Sheila and urges her to be more aggressive in shaking Julian's complacency. She even recommends that Sheila engage Rupert, a private detective, to spy on him. Maneuvering in the background is Mojgan, an elusive Iranian woman who, the reader eventually learns, is targeting Hadfish. New client Boris, Julian's former handler, proves even more of a threat to his secrecy than he first understands. Meanwhile, Mojgan targets Rami and Julian's middle-aged assistant, Naomi. When a temp shows up at the office to fill in for the devoted Naomi, Julian gets suspicious and goes to Naomi's flat, where she tearfully describes personal problems, and he comforts her. When the decidedly odd Rupert reports this incident to Sheila, it triggers a heated confrontation and her angry departure. But Sheila harbors a secret as well: a past fling with Rami. Boris' kidnapping of Sheila sets off a final and potentially deadly confrontation between the two former comrades.
Hiller's third thriller (Shake Off, 2012, etc.), written with quiet authority, simmers with unexpected twists until the final chapter.