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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2020
  • 978-0-9994418-4-8 B089B63L32
  • 423 pages
  • $4.99
Root and Branch

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Publish)

ROOT AND BRANCH is a realistic thriller set in a near-future America where an Islamist-inspired intifada triggers emergency security measures that go terribly wrong. Roger Zorn, owner of a French private security company, is delighted at having won a lucrative contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of the government’s new program of emergency security measures. The measures are launched when the U.S. military response to sneak attacks by Iran and Pakistan on America’s electrical grid provokes a wave of Jihadist-inspired violence across the U.S.A. Zorn’s work for DHS requires him to apply his company’s Triage risk assessment technology to evaluate terrorist suspects captured in the U.S. and sort out the jihadists from nonviolent Muslim residents. But when Zorn’s inquiries lead him to discover that DHS and its lead contractor have been manipulating Triage scores to deport massive numbers of Muslims and is ‘disappearing’ the most violent ones, Zorn faces a choice. Will he say nothing and sell his company to DHS’s prime contractor before scandal breaks, or will Zorn step up to expose the abuses and risk bringing the full wrath of America’s national security establishment down on his head?
Reviews
A security contractor risks his life to uncover a government conspiracy in this exciting near-future political thriller. Following an EMP attack launched by Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea that wrecks cities on both coasts of the United States, Congress and the president (whose name and political party are never given) roll out draconian measures to suppress an ostensible uprising by American Muslims. Roger Zorn, a retired 60-something CIA agent, contracts to provide the government with his Triage technology, which evaluates the likelihood that a person being interrogated will commit violence in the future. When Triage is used to justify an enormous volume of forced repatriations, Roger grows uneasy and launches a secret investigation, aided by bold White House lawyer Margaret Slattery. He quickly learns that a horrifying fate awaits the supposed deportees. As his knowledge grows, he is forced to choose between his moral obligations and his safety.

Roger is a likable protagonist whose conflicted feelings and the weight of his deceased father’s worldwide fame drive his choices. While he maintains some skills from his spy days, he never strains credulity with otherworldly physical feats. The perspectives of people caught in the anti-Muslim sweeps—including Amjad Ibrahim, a Bengali-American immigrant arrested following his son’s radicalization, and Carol Nagy, the daughter of Roger’s former colleague and an active left-wing protester—provide nuance and emotional weight. The focus, however, remains squarely on Roger, his business, and his investigation.

The plot is brisk without feeling rushed. Readers might wish for more detail of life in America following the attacks, but the action and unfolding schemes are gripping, and the characters are richly developed. This well-constructed thriller will keep readers hooked while painting a terrifying portrait of unethical politicians using a time of crisis to undermine the rule of law.

Takeaway: Thriller fans with a taste for politics will devour this exciting investigation into dangerous government overreach and the mangling of civil liberties in a time of crisis.

Great for fans of Tom Clancy, Cory Doctorow, Dave Buschi.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2020
  • 978-0-9994418-4-8 B089B63L32
  • 423 pages
  • $4.99

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