In DiFrancesco (Box 3014, 2015, etc.) and Anderson’s (About Face, 2015, etc.) thriller, a policeman and a Homeland Security agent suspect that members of a terrorist sleeper cell are plotting an attack on U.S. soil.
Brant Discher, a patrolman in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, is first on the scene of a possible suicide, but it soon appears that the hotel-room occupant, Jaalib Fletcher, didn’t take his own life. Various signs point to foul play, including the fact that his identification, which he’d earlier presented to the motel clerk, is missing. Meanwhile, a terrorist attack on Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge unsettles the United States government enough that they send federal agents to various American police departments as a precaution. FBI and Homeland Security agents arrive in Glenmoore to warn local officers to keep their eyes open for potential threats; at the same time, Brant discovers that Fletcher was preparing to get a tattoo of a phrase that sounds like a religious radical’s mantra: “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter.” Brant voices his concerns to Homeland agent Kendra Delaney, his ex-lover. She then uncovers an unsolved Chicago homicide of another Middle Eastern man, about the same age as Fletcher; both were adopted as teens, and the same adoption agency was involved. Brant and Kendra go on to unearth a group of sleeper agents planning an imminent strike. The authors deliver some fine action scenes and an absorbing investigation, but character development is the novel’s most noteworthy trait. Brant, for example, is a well-rounded protagonist who seems to fear commitment but also regularly visits his 87-year-old mother, who’s suffering from dementia, at a nursing home. The book also offers the perspectives of several different characters during the Lions Gate Bridge assault, which heightens the suspense and helps maintain a swift pace. Even the portrayal of the public response to the Canadian attack is engrossing. The ending provides a shocking twist that hints at more to come in future series installments.
A propulsive tale of terrorism featuring well-developed characters.