Empire of Lies
Sustained by a deep religious faith, Jason Harrow has built a stable family and become a pillar of principle and patriotism in the Midwest. Then the phone rings, and his past is on the other end of the line. A woman with whom he once shared a life of violence and desire claims her daughter is missing—and Jason is the one man who can find her.
Returning to New York City, Jason finds himself entangled in a murderous conspiracy only he can see and only he can stop—a plot that bizarrely links his private passions to the turmoil of a world at war. Hunted by terrorists and by the police, Jason has only hours to unravel an ex-lover’s lies and face the unbearable truth: In order to prevent a savage attack on his country, he’s going to have to risk his decency, his sanity, and his life.
“Edgar-winner Klavan (True Crime) delivers a wickedly satiric thriller with political overtones. Jason Harrow was cynically immoral before he found God and became a conservative Midwestern family man. Now his former lover summons him back to New York City with the news that his teenage daughter (one he never knew about) is in trouble, mixed up with terrorists who are plotting a major atrocity. To save his daughter and thousands of others, Jason must confront the buried fear that he’s inherited his mother’s insanity and can’t control his own dark urges. As Jason’s insecurity intensifies, so does the novel’s nightmarish mood. Disgusted by the excesses of the liberal media, Jason discovers that he’s not just paranoid, he really is a persecuted outsider. The action builds to an explosive climax at the screening of a 3-D movie at a Manhattan theater.”
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“Jason Harrow is a prosperous midwesterner living a picture-book life. A single phone call, though, recalls him to New York City, to a past when he did things he’s ashamed of, and to reminders of his mother’s madness. An ex-girlfriend’s plea for help finding her wayward daughter plunges Harrow into a conspiracy in which Muslim terrorists are planning something dire that only he can stop—he just prays he’s not making it all up. Klavan (Damnation Street, 2006) certainly knows how to construct an exciting thriller and has done so again here. But Harrow’s conservative worldview is likely to turn off liberal readers. In this near-future world of political correctness gone mad, the rise of violent “Islamofascists” has been abetted by an unholy trinity of higher education, Hollywood, and the media—and, by inference, the declining influence of strong, Christian men. But after so much venom, neither Harrow’s Christianity—nor his revulsion at his own ultimate act of violence—is quite convincing. The political polemics don’t subvert Klavan’s thriller instincts, but they are likely to limit his audience.” –Keir Graff