This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit
together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion''s
incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not
working as they should and where the oblique and official language
is as sinister as the events it is covering up.
The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of
celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband,
Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to
become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the
1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to
see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick''s
business though "she had trained herself since childhood not to
have any interest in what he was doing." It is from this moment
that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have
imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin
Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed
Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and
assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra,
and Castro, and points up how "spectral companies with high-concept
names tended to interlock." As this book builds to its terrifying
finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly.
This is our system, the one "trying to create a context for
democracy and getting [its] hands a little dirty in the process."
"From the Hardcover edition.