David Lindsey, . . Warner, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-446-53163-4

Lindsey is an efficient thriller author who sometimes (as in Mercy) reaches considerable heights of suspense and terror. The present book, however, is no more than just efficient, despite its smooth prose, a Lindsey trademark. It has a workable plot—Titus Cain, a self-made Texas millionaire software developer, is being bled financially by a Latino thug who threatens to kill Cain's nearest and dearest if he fails to pay large sums into a series of front companies—but it soon becomes clear that the plot is all there is to the book. Titus; his wife, Rita; and the outlaw techno-whiz they hire to get them out of their horrible situation are not brought to life for an instant, but remain the ciphers of a mindless action movie. It soon becomes clear that the Cains' would-be savior, Garcia Burden, has his own dark agenda, and that their nemesis is not stockpiling money just for himself but perhaps for a sinister Arab group that could be planning a new terrorist attack. There's a great deal of planting bugs, scrutinizing laptops, dashing around in SUVs and the occasional burst of mayhem, but it's basically an unengaging and mechanical exercise. Lindsey can do much better. (April 2)