In this finale to Lubitz’s (Beyond Top Secret, 2015, etc.) trilogy, the identities of two amnesiacs come into question as a secret group plans to unleash a powerful mind-control drug.
Bill and Cheryl Parker happily live in the secluded paradise of Hawaii’s Molokai island. Several years earlier in Colorado, a car accident left Bill in a coma and Cheryl with brain trauma, effectively shrouding their past lives in a fog. One day, an earthquake strikes the island, and the Parkers nearly die. In Washington, D.C., Beltway Insider reporter Connie Blythe sees Cheryl in disaster footage and believes that she’s a woman named Alana Shannon. More than two years earlier, Alana, a former men’s-magazine model, shot and killed her husband, a real estate magnate; she claimed self-defense, the murder charge was dropped, and she disappeared. Further research convinces Connie that Bill is actually a man named Ryan Butler. When Blythe confronts them, they deny being anyone other than the Parkers. Blythe doesn’t give up, however, as she’s sure that the pair can aid her investigation of warmongering U.S. Rep. Steven Luke of Missouri, the central figure in a plot to use a hypnosis drug to subvert the White House and manipulate the war on terror. In this swift final volume of his series, Lubitz, a former senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice, brings an insider’s perspective to his narrative, set in the immediate years after the 9/11 attacks. At one point, for example, a seasoned agent tells a younger one about President George W. Bush’s CIA: “These new guys are vicious sharks, and if you submit to their methods, they will destroy you and the agency.” Some characters will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, and the author effectively uses terse, chilling dialogue to get this across. For instance, a former KGB agent uses a fake persona to reel in a target; later, when the woman asks why she can’t speak with “Mr. Tyman,” he answers, “Because Mr. Tyman doesn’t exist.” Fans of the series, as well as newcomers, will also enjoy the protagonists’ optimism in the face of governmental corruption and global chaos.
A smart, gritty political-conspiracy thriller.