It was a beautiful morning graced by crystal blue skies as Kamal passed through the gate at Sapir Academic College, Israel’s largest public university. Unnoticed, he merged seamlessly into the flow of bodies traversing the campus. At precisely 9:05 a.m. he began to recite his prayers. Two minutes later, he stopped, stared at the heavens, then shouted, “Allah Akbar!” before depressing a detonator. In a millisecond, scorching hot metal ripped through the flesh of anyone within Kamal’s line of sight. Students dropped mid-stride. Dismembered bodies lined the sidewalks, and blood soaked the grass. Kamal’s headless torso lay amid the dead and dying. It was merely the first shot in a methodically planned, multi-pronged attack designed to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.” Its perpetrators included a combined army, 40,000 men strong, of Iranian, Syrian, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Russian forces—men who would stop at nothing to achieve their objective. As the attack escalated from an act of terrorism to an existential threat, the words, Never Again echoed in the mind of Israeli prime minister Abraham Rabinovich. It was a promise by Jewish Holocaust survivors to never again be passive in the face of systematic annihilation. With a single order, Rabinovich was poised to launch weapons capable of incinerating entire cities. Only two things stood in his way: his conscience and Commander John Hart.
Leifer pulls out all the stops in his pulse-pounding third thriller featuring Cmdr. John Hart (after 2018’s 8 Seconds to Midnight). A former Navy SEAL, Hart now serves as President Jonathan Conner’s “go-to person in emergencies.” During Conner’s administration, the U.S. has already been hit twice in major terror attacks—by a bioweapon that killed thousands and a nuke detonated in New York. When a coalition including Syria, Iran, Russia, Hamas, and Hezbollah launches attacks on Israel, the Israeli government fears that the coordinated assaults pose a threat to their country’s existence and considers the deployment of nuclear weapons in response. Hart persuades the Israeli prime minister that taking that extreme step is premature, and works frantically to devise a different strategy, one that places him in harm’s way in Iran. Leifer makes the behind-closed-doors discussions plausible as the action builds to a nail-biter of a cliffhanger. Tom Clancy fans will appreciate Leifer’s ingenuity in coupling suspense with a believable near-future scenario. (BookLife)