Zack is back, and much to his family's relief, the work-at-home science-fiction writer has left the house to take a job as a features writer for the city paper. But now that Zack's incessant plotting can no longer be hatched from the comforts of his own home, he must be ever more vigilant to outwit the evil at large, whether in the suburbs, the city, or his own imagination. Zack is ready...or so he thinks.
While researching his first feature article, Zack stumbles upon a real-life crime scene, but what seems like an ordinary hit-and-run may actually be a homicide linked to a gang that's been burglarizing Crandall's high-end shops. Suddenly Zack finds himself at the center of a violent crime wave and destined for a confrontation with Barbie Bullock, an unsettling figure infamous in the crime syndicate for his ruthless business tactics and peculiar proclivity for collecting dolls.
And all is not quiet on the home front either. Zack's protective instincts launch into overdrive when he discovers that his daughter's rejected suitor has been tracing her every step and may harbor a much more ominous motivation than winning a Saturday night date. Nor does his son's strange behavior and recent friendship with a creepy computer recluse inspire joy in a father's heart.
As worlds begin to collide and boundaries between family and foe blur, Zack goes on the attack, and heaven help the bad guys when this resourceful father comes to make good on a deal gone bad.
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Zack: "I was thinking about when you have a scarf, or a shirt maybe, and you get a tear at one end, say, and the threads start coming apart. And you try to tidy up the edges, you snip off the loose strings, but then, after another day or so, there are more..." ---- Trimble shook his head, bemused. He looked over at me. "Sometimes you just have to play the hand you're dealt."
But if there's one thing I've learned from twenty years of marriage, it's that you don't need to be wrong to apologize. ---- If a guy thinks, just because his wife is coming home late from work every night, closing the door when she gets a phone call, and dressing a lot hotter than usual, that maybe she's having an affair, odds are she's having an affair.
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