cover image American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent

American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent

Tamer Elnoury and Kevin Maurer. Dutton, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-101-98615-8

A Muslim American working as an undercover agent in a counterterrorism unit in the FBI grapples with his faith while posing as a jihadi sympathizer in this multifaceted, action-packed account of real-life spycraft. Elnoury, writing under a pseudonym, opens the book on the evening of Sept. 10, 2001, as he prepares to intercept a major drug deal while working undercover narcotics in New Jersey; it isn’t until 2008 that he begins his work with the FBI’s counterterrorism undercover unit. Written with journalist Maurer (coauthor of Mark Owen’s No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL), the book largely focuses on Elnoury’s attempt to penetrate into a plot to blow up train tracks on the route between Toronto and New York City. The plot is led in part by Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian doctoral student living in Montreal, who was flagged by the Feds after contacting al-Qaeda operatives online. Elnoury heightens the suspense in vividly described scenes, such as when he nearly gets run over by a train while scouting locations for the attack with two suspected terrorists, and provides insight into the worldview and intentions of al-Qaeda affiliates. There is never a dull moment in this intimate story of an American Muslim going to great lengths to serve and protect his country. [em](Oct.) [/em]