Bestseller Carter, who expertly blended social commentary and devious plots in his previous novels (The Emperor of Ocean Park; New England White; Palace Council), delivers a modest spy thriller, his first work of fiction not to focus on characters from what he has termed "the darker nation." The sententious opening sentence ("On the Sunday before the terror began, Rebecca DeForde pointed the rental car into the sullen darkness of her distant past") sets the tone for this minor effort. Rebecca has traveled to the Colorado Rockies to visit former CIA director Jericho Ainsley, who's dying of cancer. Jericho's decades of power and influence came to an end when he began an affair with her 15 years earlier. On arrival, Rebecca learns that shadowy forces fear that Jericho will reveal damaging Company secrets, and that his life is threatened by more than illness. Fans will miss the fully realized characters and mysterious puzzles of Carter's more complex, less predictable earlier work.