Abandoned by his girlfriend and struggling to make ends meet as a freelance translator, Georg is leading a dull, lonely life until one phone call changes everything. Hired be a new translation agency where he meets and quickly falls in love with a new coworker, Georg’s life finally seems to be turning around. Then a former employer dies, and Georg has the chance to advance his career even further by buying his own agency.
All is well until one night he awakens to find his new girlfriend, Francoise, photographing the work he has done for a project involving a military helicopter. Soon Francoise has disappeared, and Georg is in danger. Finding her and uncovering the truth about his new employer takes Georg from France to New York where he finds himself on the run, in disguise, and plotting to sell what he knows for millions, if he can get away alive.
Although the ending is a bit contrived, Schlink’s stylish and fast-paced noir is an enjoyable read.