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Alexander's mildly entertaining debut, a political thriller, gets off to a fast start, but suffers from imagination fatigue as it settles into a predictable course. Soon after Sen. Bobby Hart, a rising California Democrat, gets word that terrorists are planning to strike on American soil as the presidential race heats up, the killings, code-named "Rubicon," begin. The Democratic nominee falls victim to a suicide bomber in Los Angeles; the leading Republican suffers the same fate in Atlanta. Doggedly and almost single-handedly, Hart forages around until he figures out that Rubicon is not the work of Islamic extremists. Blatant similarities between the book's Republican administration and the current Bush administration may irk even hardcore Democrats, while a subplot involving Hart's emotionally fragile wife back in California verges on the silly. The story limps to the finish with a tedious courtroom scene. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.