A message shows up on the

Internet in code. “Dar al-Harb to Dar al-Salaam base: The weapon is tested and ready, the perfect time and place chosen with great care and cunning. Hundreds of thousands of infidel souls will flood into hell, their New Year’s stillborn. Praise be to Allah! — Azzam the Younger.”

This could have come from our current headlines. America is being targeted by an al-Qaida group. They are planning an attack called the New Year ambush. Nerve gas is being prepared to be released. The American government must stop it. They don’t know where nor what to expect. Their best plan is to capture an al-Qaida leader and break him down until he reveals the details. “Osama bin Laden’s successor, his associate Omar Nirubi, had emerged as al-Qaida’s new leader and, accordingly, Americans’ new global Enemy Number one. Capturing him would represent the War on Terror’s most spectacular coup ever.”

The one chosen to do the interrogation must not be anyone the opposition identifies with the government. Enter Greg Cahill, a disgraced soldier who is struggling to repair his reputation. The plan is to use him but not to let him know what is going on, offering him clemency and the chance to clear his record if he cooperates.

As in most stories of this sort, the government doesn’t fulfill its side of the bargain, which leaves Greg and Nirubi running for their lives when they learn that Homeland Security is hunting them down. At the same time the threat of the New Year ambush is still on. This reads like a Ludlum novel.

The war on terror since 9/11 is still very real. There are small pockets of terrorists that we are unaware of all around us. Olsen uses a current concern to package his message of a need for vigilance.

Bethany House is putting out a line of fiction in the suspense realm to grab that section of the market. This story follows the formula: it has the unsuspecting innocent person, in this case a man who has lost his family and is offered a pardon if he is successful. We have the terrorist who is planning the deed. We have limited time. Unknown to Greg is the unspoken agreement by those above him to terminate both him and the terrorist after using them. If there is no witness there is no crime, the saying goes. Will the two be able to stay alive long enough to stop the attack?

Dane wants you to know that he enjoys hearing from you. Keep those letters and suggestions coming. Contact him at smdp_review@yahoo.com.

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