A strange hybrid from the author of Missing and The Beethoven Conspiracy: a lonely 40-ish New York woman's struggles to make it in a new career are complicated when it turns out that her boss is trying to bring the whole Third World into the Atomic Age. Former actress Anne Rhodes, who's just ditched loving but roving swain David Akers, finds The Hawthorne Group's workplace cold and unfriendly, and no wonder: its head, Christian Matthes, is really a wholesale manufacturer of nuclear warheads. Ned Connor of the National Security Agency recruits Anne to spy on Matthes (``The future of civilization as we know it is involved''); Matthes gets tipped off and sets sail down the Hudson with Anne and his 13 bombs in tow; the NSA mounts a rescue operation. And that's all, folks, unless you count the padding: Anne's endless indecision about whether to take back David, detailed traversals of meals at great little restaurants, a night of ``okay but not great lovemaking'' with Ned, David's recipe for Fudge Sauce Supreme and his really sweet Double-Crostic to Anne, etc. The padding is so much more deeply felt than the plot that eventually you realize that it's the Save The World intrigue that's the intruder; this is really a modest little tale about the problems of being a single woman in the big city. As such, it's not half bad.