In June 2011, September was weeks away, and the full dread of the approaching anniversary hadn't yet settled on New York City's residents. But from One Police Plaza to the FBI's grim headquarters in Washington, D.C., the top brass harbor a rumbling in the gut. Each person who works for them down the line shares their unease, from every rookie cop walking the beat to the lowliest surveillance specialist. And Archer Landis is about to get caught up in their fixation.
Landis is not one of his city's guardians, and a different sort of electricity runs under his skin on this warm Thursday evening. A highly successful Manhattan architect-a man you'd say has his life totally, enviably, in order-Landis works the room at a Midtown reception, shaking hands, being seen, accompanying his cheerful greetings with the convivial clinking of ice in an untouched glass of single malt.
When the noisy crowd becomes sufficiently dense and everyone present can say they've seen him, he will slip away. Out on Fifth Avenue, he will grab a cab for the run south to Julia's Chelsea apartment.
It's a trip that will hurtle him into deadly danger. Everyone and everything he cares about most will be threatened, and he will have to discover whether he has the courage to fight his way clear.