Big If

Finalist, National Book Awards 2002 for Fiction

Big If by Mark Costello Book Cover
ISBN 9780156027793
Atlantic Books | W.W. Norton & Co.
Mark Costello, author photo, credit: Lisa Wolfe
Mark Costello

Costello’s first novel, Bag Men, was published in 1997 under the pseudonym John Flood. He used the pseudonym in order to distance his writing life from his career as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey. More about this author >

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The Secret Service agents guarding the vice president steel their nerves to a multitude of dangers every day. When he runs for the top spot on the Democratic ticket, however, their personal lives may just be the biggest obstacle to keeping him safe.

Wry, muscular Vi Asplund is the daughter of an atheist insurance adjuster who took the young Vi and her brother, Jens, to the grisly accident scenes he covered. This tolerance for the macabre follows Vi into her career as an agent, and into Jens’s development as the software designer for a gorey video game. Chief-of-detail Gretchen Williams fights to keep the team in order, while Agent Tashmo, a veteran presidential guard, reflects on the glory days of the Reagan administration.

As the primary approaches, these intense men and women balance their own lives with that of the vice president. An astounding novel of survival and absurdity, Big If casts a sharp eye on America today.