Shock and Awe

David Isaak, Author Pan $8.95 (471p) ISBN 978-0-230-70004-8

The goal is to fight terrorism with terrorism in Isaak’s action-packed debut. Cashiered Special Forces operative Carla Smukowski, devastated by her brother’s death at the hands of Iraqi terrorists, is lured into an anti-Arab conspiracy. Financed by a politically connected billionaire, Carla trains American militia members to hijack a nuke and divert it to Mecca. Undercover FBI agent Boyce Hammond must pretend support while secretly sabotaging the project, struggling with his relationship with another militia member, and flirting with Carla. Strong female characters, complex questions of loyalty and patriotism, moral gray areas, and an effective depiction of paramilitary psychological and interpersonal dynamics bring unusual depth, but the story’s power is undermined by Bush-era politics (this U.K. import was first published in 2007, and it shows) and an unfortunate twist that leads to an anticlimactic ending. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 05/01/2009
Hardcover - 471 pages - 978-0-230-52906-9
Ebook - 978-0-230-22583-1
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