President-elect Jefferson Walker, during an early December transition period briefing, is confronted with a sobering dilemma: A member of the Utopian Commission demands that he buy into a clandestine plan that he perceives as a potential Bay of Pigs fiasco.
However, when Walker refuses, some Machiavellian maneuvering leaves him with no choice but to lend his signature to the ominous plan.
Later, Dept. of Justice lawyer Franklin Westbrook, while engaging in his routine cerebral gamesmanship of playing faux hacker, makes a most fateful discovery. While surfing the Net, he stumbles onto a National Security Agency link that details the conspiracy that President Walker was coerced into compliance.
Soon thereafter, a collection of America's ruling elite - the Utopian Commission - meets in its Rocky Mountain retreat to debate strategy options. U.C. leader E. Gordon Fletcher argues that while the nation was enveloped in a cultural and civil war, it was needful for the country's comprehensive law enforcement arsenal to unleash a Raptor-like response to quell anti-war and militant resistance, known as Operation Pit Bull. But now, he contends, the theatre of war must transition from the overt to a more subtle arena: the very psyche of undesirables that threaten the status quo.
Read alsoTramp in Flames
Following the exceptional acclaim for his first two books, Farley might have been forgiven for resting on his laurels with his ‘difficult third’ – but Tramp in Flames instead finds him driving his formal ambition and remarkable imagination harder than ever. A book of considerable emotional daring and sometimes Wordsworthian sweep, Tramp…
The U.C. enlists the services of Madison Avenue powerbroker Brandon Phillips as point man to implement Operation Olive Branch. As ruthless as he is brilliant, Phillips is co-conspirator in a shrewd psy-op campaign. Phillips' intends to reach his goal to typecast the Opposition as Public Enemy No. 1.
Franklin Westbrook, a principled family man entrusted with some of the nation's most delicate intelligence files, is torn between his constitutionally sworn duties to uphold the law and his own deep moral convictions. He flirts with informing the press of his untimely, inadvertent discovery, which clashes with his intense loyalty to country.
However, when Westbrook learns of a modern-day "Shootout at the OK Corral," he bolts to the New York press and spills his guts on what he witnessed on his PC that day, triggering a series of rapid-fire events.
* Westbrook is arrested and labeled a turncoat who could face the death penalty for allegedly disclosing national-security-sensitive information.
* Just before President Walker is about to address the nation in a tell-all speech, he is murdered.