Ian Ludlow is an author.
He writes thrillers and he is pretty good at it. His successful creation, Clint Straker, is the epitome of the macho action-hero who dashes into buildings to save distressed damsels and who unhesitatingly nemesis-es arch-villains and then with one foot on the back of the neck of the fallen bad guy pulls the gratefully rescued, invariably scantily clad, female for an embrace and a well deserved kiss, prelude to stronger thanking later.
Of course, that is Straker the hero. It is not Ludlow the writer. When we first meet Ludlow the writer, he is on a book tour having recently accidentally blown up his own house. Straker is a spy-for-hire in the prime of his life and physical condition. Ludlow had "the soft body of someone whose idea of exercise was walking into McDonald's rather than using the drive-through". Straker can fight two bad guys at the same time and barely break a sweat. Ludlow broke his arm falling off his bike (lot more to that story, though).
The important take from all that is that Ludlow is a very successful author of thrillers and television shows (including a cop show about a detective plant) and is not a spy. He doesn't want to be a spy. He has no fantasy about living Straker's life. He is down to earth and normal and realistic.
And that is why is so interesting when he suddenly has to work in Straker's line of business because very powerful people in the cloak and dagger community want him dead, not because he saw something but because he thought something. Which makes some sense when you consider the fact that authors of thrillers really should make their plots possible and Ludlow did just that - but a little too well.
To help see the difference between the real life of this author and his fictional creation, we the readers are treated to snippets from some of the Straker universe. This includes the time Straker's love making to a Russian female agent is so good she is put into a coma for days. Totally unrealistic, of course, but it does show the kind of spy novels Ludlow writes and it really shows the difference between the two worlds. Straker is the ultimate lover. Ludlow is not so much.
Joining Ludlow in his endeavor to stay alive is Margo. Margo's life before she had the misfortune to be paired with Ludlow was as a part-time dog-walker and part-time author-herder (she shepherds authors on tour to the right book signings and the like). Both jobs, to her, have a lot of similarities especially cleaning up the messes both species tend to make. She is less than pleased, with good reason, to be thrown into the trouble that follows Ludlow but considering how she comes through for him more than once, Ludlow is very lucky she is there.