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A scary, funny novel—a riff on recent history and the American obsession with assassination.

It's winter in New Hampshire, the economy is booming, the vice president is running for president, and his Secret Service people are very, very tense.

Meet Vi Asplund, a young Secret Service agent mourning her dead father. She goes home to New Hampshire to see her brother Jens, a computer genius who just might be going mad—and is poised to make a fortune on Big If, a viciously nihilistic computer game aimed at teenagers. Vi's America, as she sees it in the crowds, in her brother, and in her fellow agents, is affluent, anxious, and abuzz with vague fantasies of violence.

Through a gallery of vivid characters—heroic, ignoble, or desperate—Mark Costello's hilarious novel limns the strategies, both sound and absurd, that we conjure to survive in daily life.

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