Hynd, often criticized for the complexity and murkiness of his thrillers (Flowers From Berlin, The Sandler Inquiry, etc.), here tells a reasonably straightforward tale of political intrigue that ties the 1996 presidential election to a mysterious betrayal years earlier. Paul Townsend is a former investigative reporter reduced to writing obituaries for a New York tabloid. A new girlfriend tells him that her dying father is former Foreign Service diplomat Leonard Wolik and that he wants to tell his story. Wolik recounts his assignment in the Paris Embassy in 1965, working with the acting US ambassador--a friend of the President known to one and all as ``Lyndon's man''--to arrange the defection of a high-ranking KBG official. Everything went wrong and the ambassador was summarily recalled, Wolik tells Townsend. Having later used the story in the man's obituary and then discovered that he wasn't Wolik at all, Townsend is driven to investigate the story. Someone, most likely the CIA, is out to stop him at all costs, including murder. But why? Two former small-town police officers hold part of the answer, although Townsend has a long and dangerous trail to follow before he even learns of their existence. The story unfolds against the fascinating backdrop of the political campaign, in which a David Duke-like Texas Senator seems likely to win, running as an independent against two very recognizable candidates in the major parties. Overly long and sometimes awkwardly written, then resolved with an ending that's just a little too pat, but still a page- turner of the first order. Few will willingly leave these pages before they learn ``the greatest secret of the 1960's.''