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THE BLUE WIDOWS

Jon Land, Author
Jon Land, Author . Forge $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0599-2
Reviewed on: 03/17/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Mass Market Paperbound - 398 pages - 978-0-7653-6111-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-7653-4526-4
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4299-5686-4
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Like its predecessors, this sixth entry in Land's thriller series (Blood Diamonds, etc.) featuring Palestinian-American detective Ben Kamal is action-packed, if not always plausible. Kamal teams up with his on-again, off-again lover, Danielle Barnea, the head of Israel's National Police, to stop a post–September 11 terrorist plot. A group of terrorists infiltrates the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland and makes off with the entire supply of smallpox virus—enough to destroy the U.S. population. Unaware of this, Ben, now working for a Boston private security firm, is hired by the State Department to investigate his brother Sayeed's involvement with a young Palestinian student known to have al-Qaida connections. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Danielle raids the Gaza compound of Palestinian terrorists and finds that someone has beaten her to the punch: Hamas leader Akram Khalil and his guards lie dead, near a pile of charred papers. Finding a scorched fragment written in Arabic, she faxes it to Ben asking him for a translation. They discover that the fragment is a religious edict granting permission to bring about the fulfilling of the apocalyptic biblical prophecy, "the end of all things." The trail leads Ben and Danielle to Islamic zealot Layla Aziz Rahani, the eldest daughter of a powerful Saudi Arabian industrialist who has sworn vengeance on the U.S. The main story lines, some of them straining credibility, spin off into a multiplicity of minor subplots. Forgive the digressions and plot contrivances, and this is a fun read. (Mar.)

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