An incredible political thriller that’s also a primer on current Middle Eastern conflicts.



This debut novel presents an alternate portrait of the Middle East after Osama bin Laden’s death, while also stressing the need to bridge interfaith gaps.

In November 2011, Osama bin Laden is dead and the terrorist organization al-Qaida is in tatters. President Barack Obama’s first term closes with plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. However, the region still crawls with military contractors, including companies like the Chester Brampton Group, which run wars like for-profit schemes. Against this backdrop, three vital players emerge who have the potential to positively influence the next phase of Islam. The first is the exiled Ayatollah Arman Rastani, a Georgetown University professor who fled Iran after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolution. Rastani is slandered relentlessly as a spy and a spiritual inspiration for Iranian terrorists, and he’s kidnapped to London for interrogation. Then there’s Aleksandr Kozhevnikov, a former Spetsnaz (special forces) operative, who’s assigned by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to help dismantle American contractors’ systematic manipulation of Middle Eastern resources. Finally, there’s Atamar “The Wolf” Anagul, a retired al-Qaida strategist who’s sought by his former terrorist allies, who wish to obliterate all aspects of moderate Islam—including Rastani. When a high-profile American visitor is killed near the United Nations’ fortified Green Zone, the lives of these three determined men fatefully intersect. In her terrifying but optimistic novel, Griffith-Dickson explores the reality of post-Osama bin Laden global events and speculates on how the creation of the Islamic State terrorist group might have been prevented; at one point, for example, Atamar says, “the only way to outmanoeuvre them is to build a pan-Islamic movement in Iraq.” The author offers a sweeping panorama that surrounds readers with many viewpoints on the saga of modern Islam, including those of British teenagers descending into terrorism and that of Rastani, who believes that one must “Move all things by love, with your desire, and that is how you transform evil into good, and goodness into perfection.” This novel is for anyone who’d like to see a future that’s built by discussion and compassion, rather than violence.

An incredible political thriller that’s also a primer on current Middle Eastern conflicts. 

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9576046-2-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ismo Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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