A paranoid’s delight: In middle life and still followed about by a cloud of foreboding, Linus Owens is a professor of conspiracy theory who is himself wrapped tight in an infinite cat’s cradle of suspicions about large-sum currency, cellular phones, faxes, large screen TVs, multiple CD changers, electronic organizers, the terrifying sound of his own wife, Claudia, steaming milk in their espresso machine. He’s sure that a clandestine cabal runs the world. Then, when Claudia is visiting her mother in Chicago, some FBI agents show up—and tell him that she has actually died in a plane that crashed on its way to Brazil. Brazil? In grief, Linus draws on fellow conspiracy theorists to uncover the tie between Claudia’s ad agency and the federal government. Why has he received a phone message in broken English telling what the hours in a Chinese restaurant are? Can fellow theorist Luther’s experimenting with cold fusion in hopes of building a black-hole bomb help Linus find out who murdered his wife—if she is indeed dead? Has he himself committed a federal crime and is he being recorded on grainy black-and-white film? Will we know more about the history and practice of applied fear as a means of governing after we read this brainodrama? A debut thriller with storytelling grip.