Harbour Terror
by Steve Ahern
Trafford Publishing

"O'Ryan nodded again and pondered his dilemma, to deploy the detectives near each of the bombers without being noticed, so that they could strike all three at the same time before the tower exploded."

The use of terrorism to attempt to bring attention to a cause or strike back against a more powerful enemy is nothing new; disgruntled individuals and radical political organizations have practiced it for centuries. However, terrorism on a larger, highly coordinated scale as seen in the world today is a modern malady. One of the big questions that arises when a scheme is thwarted and a would-be attacker or suicide bomber is captured is what caused the individual to turn toward violence in the first place. How an ordinary person can either become radicalized or turned into an unwitting pawn in a terrorist plot is one of the more interesting elements of Ahern's gripping novel.

Luke is an angry, young man. Like many teens who struggle with the angst typical of their age, he sees his teachers and the other adults around him as out-of-touch and too conservative for his tastes. When a classmate from Indonesia named Bilal befriends him and manages to get Luke's show back on the air at the community radio station, he believes he has found a kindred spirit, despite the fact that his friends don't trust the newcomer. His belief in Bilal seems to be well-placed, especially after the new, more political format of their radio show attracts more listeners. But are Bilal, his uncle, and the other new people Luke is meeting in their circle really to be trusted, or is James Overton, a man from the British Consulate that Luke is secretly in contact with, right about what he sees as their true agenda?

The author's background in media enriches his storyline. Well-paced and suspenseful, Ahern's debut novel offers plenty of action but truly sparkles as it explores how the discontented can be lured into the web of radicalism.

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