At 31, Pittsburgh attorney Whitehill rarely has been required to make a decision more stressful than which Brooks Brothers suit to wear to the office. Yet all that changes when a vacation to South America leaves him stranded in the depths of the Amazon jungle. There, he finds himself at the mercy of an opportunistic scientist whose motives are murky at best…and deadly at worst.
For seven months, anthropologist Blackwell James has lived among the Wantayo people of the Amazon, immersing himself in their culture in order to collect data for his dissertation. Trouble is, he hasn’t done much research. Instead, he’s just hung out with the tribe, resulting in some fair skills with a bow and arrow but little else. When Blackwell returns to Columbia University with a trunk full of hallucinogenic vines but no research notes, his frustrated advisor packs him off to Los Angeles to assist a colleague with a primate experiment.
To Pom Trager, humanity’s entire history is one big joke - and he delivers the punchlines, broadcasting hilarious exploits back to his home planet to boost the ratings of his reality show, The Prankster. But when a system malfunction strands Trager in modern-day Santa Fe, his only hope rests in a nebbish assistant he recently fired, a headstrong human woman, and his ability to outrun a relentless sheriff hot on his trail. Now Trager must hightail it to the pickup point in San Francisco, all the while dealing with car thieves, time loops, all-American truck stop food - and a rapidly closing rescue window.
With no job and no girl, Brown pushes on to California, where a fruitless job hunt lands him on his old buddy Fillmore’s doorstep. Fillmore is an accomplished clinical psychologist (and part-time bartender) whose own sanity is questionable at best. So it is only fitting when Fillmore suggests the solution to Brown’s financial woes is for him to become a psychologist as well - albeit, not a licensed one. “Dr. Brown” agrees. His first patient is a beautiful but unhappy woman who suspects her wealthy financier husband is plotting to kill her.