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Harrigan, who spent 27 years at the National Security Agency, brings plenty of insider knowledge but little originality to her clunky debut, a thriller set in late 2000. Alexandra O'Malley, an NSA assistant director, is part of Project Meridian, a program that's been monitoring a particularly worrisome stream of phone calls placed by terrorist Usama bin Laden (UBL) originating from al-Qaeda headquarters in Afghanistan. The calls concern a major upcoming mission against America, but the phone intercepts cease before hard facts are ascertained. Alex's boyfriend, CIA agent Gabriel Ayala, parachutes into Afghanistan to tap into the terrorists' telephone system. After several murders occur involving NSA personnel, Alex takes it upon herself to solve these crimes. Harrigan gives readers an authentic peek behind the curtains of the secretive NSA, but it comes at the expense of a compelling plot or interesting, in-depth characters. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.