This spy thriller from McCauley (Prohibition) is hard to put down, despite some faults. A proficient veteran operative who calls himself James Hicks has headed the New York City office of the University—one of the most clandestine intelligence agencies in the world—for three years. But when one of his most trusted agents, who has been working undercover for a Somali cab outfit, seemingly betrays him and sets him up to be murdered, Hicks uncovers clues to a conspiracy that, if successful, would send the world into a panic. Although the character of Hicks is two-dimensional and the conclusion a bit predictable, the story line succeeds in large part because of the gritty and stylish narrative, the virtually nonstop action, and the cutting-edge technology Hicks uses to track down criminals. Those looking for some top-shelf adrenaline-fueled literary escapism will be rewarded.