The Fools in Town Are on Our Side


Lucifer Dye, born in Montana and educated in (among other places) Shanghai’s most distinguished bordello, is in San Francisco being debriefed following his dismissal from Section Two, a secret American intelligence agency. Dye and Section Two are parting company because of the sudden and unexpected death of an important Red Chinese double agent that resulted in Dye’s spending three months in a Singapore prison.

Unemployed, but with a passport, a certified severance check, and his wits, Dye is approached by a man named Victor Orcutt. Orcutt is in the business of cleaning up corrupt cities through the application of “Orcutt’s First Law,” which is “To get better, it must get much worse.” Victor Orcutt’s proposal is that he will pay Dye $50,000 to corrupt an entire American city. Dye accepts the proposal, and so begins Ross Thomas’s most exciting, violent, and suspenseful novel yet, a masterwork from “a master of escape and adventure”