Charlie Monk is a 007-type loner, a special-ops super-spy who works for a government agency so secret even he doesn't know its name. In between spectacularly successful assignments, Charlie lives a healthy bachelor life with a happy assortment of girlfriends in Los Angeles. Sounds like a fantasy life? Maybe. Maybe not.
Susan Flemyng is doing cutting-edge neurological research on replacing visual memory in brain-damaged patients when her husband is killed in a plane crash. In the midst of her grief, a stranger approaches, claiming to be a journalist. He says her husband was murdered upon learning about secret government uses of her work. The man is clearly a paranoid conspiracy nut, but when he, too, turns up dead, Susan decides to do a little checking up. Until the conspirators kidnap her young son.
What Susan and Charlie have in common seems to supply a particularly monstrous answer to the question of Charlie. This revelation sets the story going in a new direction, full thriller mode. But wait a minute. Not so fast. Ambrose ("Coincidence") has another trick or two to play. Or three or four. Or more.
Outlandish, witty and chilling, Ambrose's mind-bending story successfully juggles issues of perception, the nature of reality, medical ethics and research, and government power in a page turner that will keep you guessing all the way through.