'Strange the things our fates pivoted on: a kid selling gum and candy, a hard charger in a hurry, and a beached spook with a bad attitude.' The beached spook is Frank Thorpe, in limbo having recently left an off-the-books American Intelligence unit after an operation went down river. The 'hard charger' was a stranger whom Frank saw mow down a young kid selling sweets at the airport and keep going without so much as a backward glance. Almost on a whim Frank decides to use all his skills and resources to give that stranger what they call in his trade ' a wake-up'. Not that Thorpe intends any permanent damage, just a little tap to get the hard charger's attention, to show him how quickly the storm clouds could roll in on his little world. Unfortunately, the little 'wake-up' sets up a chain reaction which ends in far more serious ramifications than Frank could ever have anticipated. And as Thorpe tries to mend things he himself finds someone from his own past is out to give him a rather bigger 'wake-up'.