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 t 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 t 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 Caribbean island. 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 .
Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction.