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A Conspiracy of Tall Men
by Noah Hawley

Published: 1998-06-23
Hardcover : 295 pages
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In this remarkably smart and totally absorbing literary thriller, Noah Hawley cracks through our last remaining illusions about life in America to expose the dark, eccentric paranoia that thrives at its center.
        
Linus Owen is a professor of conspiracy theory at Modesto ...
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Introduction

In this remarkably smart and totally absorbing literary thriller, Noah Hawley cracks through our last remaining illusions about life in America to expose the dark, eccentric paranoia that thrives at its center.
        
Linus Owen is a professor of conspiracy theory at Modesto College in San Rafael, California. He teaches, among other things, a graduate-level class on JFK and gives seminars on magic bullet theories and how the symbols on the dollar bill reveal the presence of a secret government leading the world toward biblical Armageddon.
        
Recently, Linus's marriage has had its problems, so his wife, Claudia, has taken a few days off to visit her mother in Chicago, leaving Linus to wander his empty house alone. But if Claudia is in Chicago, how is it that two FBI agents can show up at Linus's office and tell him that she has been killed in a plane crash on her way from New York to Brazil? And why did a man named Jeffrey Holden, the vice president of a major pharmaceuticals company, buy her ticket and die beside her on the plane?

Enlisting the aid of Edward and Roy, his friends and fellow conspiracy theorists, who help him sort through disinformation from federal authorities, Linus begins an investigation that will ultimately bring all three men to the heart of the American desert and to the realization that what they thought was the truth is really something far more sinister.
        
Crackling with energy and style, populated by gritty, off-beat characters all harboring their own hidden agendas, A Conspiracy of Tall Men provides a fast-paced, literate look into the ominous rebirth of American nervousness.

Editorial Review

Noah Hawley quickly sucks us into his loopy, frightening first thriller by creating a perfect world of present-tense paranoia. "Here among the tabouli salads and unprocessed soy drinks the three conspiracy theorists meet each week to discuss developments in the interconnected network of plots driving the world toward a new order," he writes about the lunches that his hero--Linus Owens, a 35-year-old professor of conspiracy theory at Modesto College in San Rafael, California--has with his two friends. "Edward and Roy, despite Roy's innocuous job at Radio Shack and Edward's mostly shut-in status, are cutting-edge anarchists, publishers of anarchic newsletters, organizers of the new virtual revolution. Linus, in contrast, feels sheltered in the fat nest of academia. Sometimes he doubts his phone is even bugged...." But when Claudia, the perfectly normal wife he has somehow managed to acquire, is apparently killed in a plane crash on her way to Brazil (Owens thought she was in Chicago visiting her mother), he has to leave that fat nest and move out into what passes for the real world. It's a place where CIA agents lie about being FBI agents, where his wife's advertising business has sinister connections, and where nothing--or everything--is what he and his crazy companions think it is. --Dick Adler

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by ebach (see profile) 08/18/19

If you look for trouble long enough and hard enough, you’ll find it. That’s what A CONSPIRACY OF TALL MEN says, at least in part.

We are introduced to Linus and his two friends, all c

... (read more)

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