Things are going great for Aidan Cole at the beginning of this novel. He is a famous journalist in New York City. His friends share his talents, his likes, and his dislikes. They are all cynical bloggers who are well known and adventurous. Aidan and his fellow colleagues and friends spend their free time taking New York City by storm: parties, bars, restaurants, sexual encounters, etc. Nothing is off the plate.
Everything changes for Aidan and his colleagues the day that a bomb explodes in a deserted office building in midtown Manhattan. Suddenly, not only journalism changes for Aidan's group of cronies, but LIVES change. New York City continues to be wary as, only a few days later, Aidan receives a cryptic, personal email (complete with photo) naming the culprit:
This is Paige Roderick. She’s the one responsible.
Suddenly, the reader is thrust into the city's underground! Aidan finds Paige by tracking her to where she is hiding out. Herein lies the twist: Aidan finds he has more in common with Paige (and begins a love story) than he expects. Paige has been fired from a large corporation due to downsizing and is grieving over her brother's death in the Iraq war. She was a PERFECT target for terrorist recruitment.
Do you really want to know my worldview? Because it's pretty bleak these days. Everything I once saw as a problem with others -- the numbness, the detachment, the disillusionment that came with being American -- everything I once sought to fix. ... I'm coming now to feel myself.
Yes, Paige did it, and Aidan hasn't been the same since. Of course, Paige really prefers fighting politically for the environment.
The irony here, of course, is that finding the terrorist and condemning the terrorist are two entirely different things. A novel about terrorism grown at home, American Subversive allows us to traverse the American underground both physically and emotionally.