cover image Internicine


David J. Schow, St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-57136-8

This smart new thriller from Schow (Gun Work) imagines the dizzying confusion an average guy would undergo if sucked into a shadowy espionage scenario. That guy is L.A. advertising exec Conrad Maddox, who at LAX accidentally gets hold of a case of firearms, which proves a Pandora's box. Shortly after he opens the case, he's nearly offed by an assassin, who in turn is killed by the case's intended recipient, a hit man named Dandine. It turns out that Dandine's former employer, the clandestine security agency NORCO (Dandine has no idea what the acronym stands for), is linked tangentially to a political candidate whose campaign Maddox's ad firm is steering. Joining Dandine to learn why NORCO would plot to kill them both, Conrad finds himself plunged into a world of chaotic intrigues whose double- and triple-crosses soon have him doubting even his own identity. Though Schow aims to deromanticize the sexy allure of Hollywood suspense capers, readers will still find this novel hip, hard-boiled entertainment. (Aug.)