The best thing about this highly irregular suspense story is its terminal doubletake which fortunately is reached in short order before you have any reason to suspect what will happen even though you've been doubting every minute of it. Peter Marr, a non-writing writer and a man who is unable to come out (viz. be motivated) is forced into working for the CIA and assuming the identity of another author who has written several books but never been seen. After a groggy induction period, he is sent to retrieve a Russian woman at a writer's conference and while he discovers that ""survival made one real"" it also has an expensive price tag. . . . The CIA, beleaguered in books of this type so that it manifests no intelligence of any kind is really no less sensible than the rest of it.