Author: Michael E. Nathanson

Publisher: Xulon Press

ISBN: 9781498458498

Michael E. Nathanson' debut thriller, Cries of the Eagle is set in Dallas and Detroit and tells the story of two monstrous terrorist attacks, one involving a powerful explosion causing the death of several students at a high school in Texas and another one concerning the beheading of a few individuals in Los Angeles. Could the two be related?

Distraught and disturbed at these horrible events, a young Muslim engineer, Aziz Malawi volunteers his services to FBI agents, Gerry Bolton and Jan Hanson. The offer comes about after Malawi was very much concerned that his co-worker and friend, Ibrahim Tecani had been absent from work for two days past his three-day vacation. When he broke into his friend's apartment he was shocked at what he had discovered and immediately suspected that Tecani was possibly participating in terrorist activities. Although Malawi had no formal FBI training, the bureau decided that they would accept his services but would keep him on a very short leash.

As the narrative unfolds, it is brought to light that Tecani had been brainwashed and a great deal of his fanatical indoctrination can be traced to the influence of his father, Ali Tecani who emigrated with his wife Najid from Iran to Dearborn, Michigan in the early 1980's. Tecani was employed as an international sales manager by the Crescent Medical Devices and the company greatly prospered from his work.

He was much impressed by its chairman, Omar al-Masri who was not only active in the operations of the company but also with a charitable foundation, Holy Vision International Foundation that was involved in raising funds from Syria, Iran and Germany. The foundation was tied in with the company and the donations were supposedly made to support community organizing and development of the worldwide growth of Islam as well as its world-wide communities. In addition, there would also be a militant jihad component. Tecani suspected that there was more to the so called “missions” of the foundation and when he does find out, it is far too late to remedy the heinous act that had been committed by his son, Ibrahim.

What Tecani was not aware of was that his son's behavior and psyche had been molded by Ataturk (Turk) Hassan, who, with his wife Hani were bent on slaying the Great Satan, the American infidels. The couple cleverly assimilated into their community and they ran the Village Choice Wine and Spirits boutique. Hassan was very much aware of the results of Ibrahim's work as a suicide bomber as it was he who had prepared the plan and devoted many months developing it as well as the procuring of the necessary elements to make him a martyr. Hassan, however, was far from a religious zealot as his motives were more commercial in nature. In other words, he was coldly duplicitous and did not care about the consequences.

His attitude was that the money was good, and if it serves a greater purpose too, so be it. Turk was also a secretly longtime member of the Council of Practitioners of Jihad, a violent veiled face of radical Islam, operating worldwide. As pointed out in the yarn, “technically he was more of a mercenary, a blood-for-hire type, not a theocrat.”

Nathanson has crafted his plot with a thriller-writer's attention to pace and readability where readers will enjoy the suspense and unexpected twists of the story-line that will resonate long after the novel has been put to bed. His foray into the dangerous radical terrorist world interweaves such contemporary themes as radicalization, weapons dealing, terrorist recruitment, terrorism funding, charitable foundation fronts, and intelligence employed in counter terrorism.

On the other hand, he also challenges the stereotyping of Muslims through the voice of Aziz Malawi and his contribution to the investigation. As awful as it may sound, to describe the novel as eerily plausible would not be a distortion because it is securely based on similar events that we have witnessed over the past several years. One word of caution, however, Nathanson does slip in a Christian religious slant which if you are not into this genre of fiction, you may find it a trifle irritating.