Big If: A Novel

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 17, 2002 - Fiction - 315 pages
3 Reviews

A scary, funny novel—a riff on recent history and the American obsession with assassination.

It's winter in New Hampshire, the economy is booming, the vice president is running for president, and his Secret Service people are very, very tense.

Meet Vi Asplund, a young Secret Service agent mourning her dead father. She goes home to New Hampshire to see her brother Jens, a computer genius who just might be going mad—and is poised to make a fortune on Big If, a viciously nihilistic computer game aimed at teenagers. Vi's America, as she sees it in the crowds, in her brother, and in her fellow agents, is affluent, anxious, and abuzz with vague fantasies of violence.

Through a gallery of vivid characters—heroic, ignoble, or desperate—Mark Costello's hilarious novel limns the strategies, both sound and absurd, that we conjure to survive in daily life.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - refice - LibraryThing

NPR recommended Big If in light of the Secret Service’s recent lapses. If you are looking for a tightly woven cop novel this book isn’t for you, nor do you want to read it if you are into ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A surprisingly rich action story by second-novelist Costello (Bag Men, 1997, written under the name of John Flood; etc.) about the manic world of a Secret Service bodyguard who tries to keep her own ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Mark Costello, whose first novel, Bag Men, was written under the name John Flood, lives in New York.

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