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When a research institute in the Mojave Desert falls under suspicion in the aftermath of 9/11, a Turkish hydrogeologist is “in the wind”; the American office manager is detained as a material witness; a Mexican herpetologist needs to find a place of safety; a US college dropout must decide if violence is the answer; DIY citizen-scientists conduct unconventional experiments; and an FBI specialist, born in a refugee camp in Africa, proves his loyalty to his adopted country. 

How do the dots connect? How do the puzzle pieces fit? With skeptical eye and fearless ear to the ground, Diane Lefer explores the human cost of the security state. In a novel spanning cultures and continents, an international cast of richly imagined characters have in common an unease that may well be true of most of us: feeling – or being seen as – out of place. 

Lefer's cautionary tale offers up, as well, a vivid celebration of multiculturalism and the natural world.

About the Author

Diane Lefer’s fiction has been recognized with many literary awards including the Mary McCarthy Prize for her story collection, California Transit. Fomite Press previously published her novel, Confessions of a Carnivore, inspired by her relationship with a drill baboon at the LA Zoo. With Hector Aristizábal, she co-authored The Blessing Next to the Wound: A story of art, activism, and transformation, and co-created the play, Nightwind, which toured the world as part of the global movement to end the practice of torture. She works in Los Angeles with survivors of violent persecution as they seek asylum and begin to heal and rebuild their lives.