Atraditional device employed to open suspense novels is for a seemingly innocuous event to lead to the gradual uncovering of evil doings. While attending a book fair in Los Angeles, rare-book dealer Jeffrey Dean leafs his way right into an international plot to assassinate Ronald Reagan.
A John Steinbeck first edition--unmistakably once owned by Dean--now bears a bogus authorial inscription. The book dealer's attempt to identify the forger initiates a harrowing two-week period during which his files are ransacked and several attempts on his life are made.
Such a leap from staid bibliopoly into primal political terrorism requires the suspension of disbelief almost invariably demanded by what is an inherently flamboyant genre. Author Wayne Warga affords a smooth transition into this tightly constructed thriller, whose digressions will appeal to the sophisticated reader.
"Hardcover's" cast of characters includes an oil millionaire who collects books on an epic scale, two CIA men who are working against each other, an Arab book dealer from London with unsavory Libyan contacts and a still-waters-run-deep type described by the author as a "man who seemed forever destined to work in the wrong museum, a curator without portfolio for sale."