Dimodica (Accidental Evils, 2017) offers a thriller about a growing nationalistic movement in today’s Germany.
The story opens with several European Union officials murdered in Germany, and the country’s intelligence agency says videos taking credit for the assassinations feature an Arabic voice that refers to “the Dar al-Harb, or House of War.” These incidents, combined with German resentment against EU–mandated immigration, seem likely to affect an upcoming national election. Meanwhile, a long-simmering conspiracy is brewing, involving a group of female Nazi descendants called “das Netzwerk,” embodied by a shadowy figure named Gerhardt, who attempts to gain the support of disenchanted Germans. The women of das Netzwerk are conspiring with a Saudi Arabian intelligence agent, Sharif Ali, who’s arranging terrorist activities to inflame the populace. Meanwhile, Terry Solak, an American CIA agent, is working with a German intelligence operative, known only as “Otto,” to investigate the EU killings, and they soon find that cracking this conspiracy involves much more than simply rounding up the usual suspects. This fast-paced thriller’s greatest asset is its feeling of authenticity. Dimodica spent 20 years in Special Forces and military intelligence, and his experience effectively informs his descriptions of the details of Terry’s mission in a strange land. He also makes eminently clear how a lack of communication among the government operatives, police, and military agencies helps the plot to develop as far as it does—an observation that may have come from Dimodica’s own encounters with bureaucracy. The author presents fully developed characters on both sides, resisting the temptation to turn the conspirators into mere cartoons. Especially winning is Terry’s CIA handler, Evie Khazemi, a Muslim woman who’s eager to follow the evidence, wherever it goes. The narrative ratchets up the tension as the specter of Nazism looms over a divided nation, and what results is a chilling cautionary tale about where xenophobia can lead.
A frenetic and timely story that illustrates how a house divided cannot stand.