Arthur Cathcart and Natsumi Fitzgerald wanted to believe they were free of the nearly invisible, malignant forces they had pursued, and been pursued by, across continents and oceans. The slightly brain-damaged,tech freak researcher and the blackjack dealing psychologist had convinced themselves that life aboard a sail boat in the Caribbean, incognito and in love, could be a lasting refuge. The death of that illusion was as brutal as it was abrupt. Even people who knew how to dodge ruthless outlaws and relentless law enforcement learned there were powers from which no one could ever hide.
Not in the 21st century. Not if you wanted more than to simply exist. To truly live in the world, you had to have a world that allows you to live. Soldiers fighting in Vietnam had a saying when pinned down under enemy fire: The only way out is through. And so it is that Arthur and Natsumi take to the fight, where the full expanse of both the virtual and material world is the field of engagement. Nearly blind to the threats that surround them, yet searching for that impossible path back to the ordinary lives they'd been forced to abandon.
Wiser, stronger and more experienced than they ever imagined they'd be in the art of clandestine combat, Arthur and Natsumi understand what makes you strong can also get you killed in a hurry. That the reserves of resilience and determination aren't limitless, that the power of intellect and craft dwindles in the face of a pitiless and resolute foe.
That there are a billion ways to die, but only one way to live.
At the start of Knopf's highly inventive third mystery featuring market researcher Arthur Cathcart (after 2013's Cries of the Lost), armed men seize Cathcart and girlfriend Natsumi Fitzgerald from their sailboat and threaten them with torture unless they reveal the location of a missing billion dollars, of which they know nothing. A temporary reprieve allows the couple, who have been living in the Caribbean under aliases, to assess their situation and conclude that they will never be safe until they get out from under the (false) charges against them back in the States, including fraud, embezzlement, and murder. Some actions they take are as basic as shaking someone tailing them or adopting a disguise. At other times, they must deal with "the ineluctable modality of the calculable." Lending a hand are former FBI agent Shelly Gross, cyber geek Strider, and Cathcart's doctor sister, Evelyn. Throughout, Cathcart proves as nimble on his feet as he is quick witted.