A timely subject matter, a painstakingly constructed plot and well-written characters are highlights. But what makes Gagnon's story truly scary is that its scenario is unfortunately all too plausible.
Assigned to a disturbing murder case, FBI agent Kelly Jones has her hands full. Senator Duke Morris is killed and mutilated, his body parts displayed prominently near the Capitol Building. Meanwhile, her fiance, Jake Riley, who runs a security firm, is working on finding an abducted teenager, Madison Grant. There's no reason to think the two crimes are related, but gradually, links emerge and the pieces of a terrifying puzzle begin to come together. Has Madison's father been providing nuclear material to homegrown terrorists? And if so, where will the attacks take place? The clock is running, and no one, including Kelly, knows for sure when zero hour might be. (MIRA, Nov., 416 pp., $7.99)