Montreal, Quebec. Homicide detective Sophie Gillette, still mourning the death of her brother during covert military operations in Afghanistan, is dispatched to the scene of a fatal hit-and run during a January snowstorm. Defying easy resolution, the case launches her on a collision course with biker wars, arms smuggling by First Nations warriors and, unexpectedly, a deadly terrorist plot.
For years the CIA has warned Canada’s Security Intelligence Service that Montreal, where almost one in four residents has ties to Muslim or Arabic-speaking homelands, is a hot-bed of Al-Qaeda sleeper cells awaiting the call to jihad.
Gillette, a talented young investigator on the fast track, carries a load of emotional baggage – father and brother both dead of unnatural causes, mother on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Despite her supportive relationship with an RCMP officer, Gillette suffers anxiety, self-doubt and fear of emotional commitments. Meanwhile, her desire to provide justice and closure for a young widow drives her to resolve the hit-and-run case.
In the course of their investigation, Gillette and her partner uncover a cadre of militant student activists, drug financiers, gun-runners and a rogue professor with a PhD in chemical toxicology, all with vague links to a shadowy figure known only as al-Quebeca.
Dispatched from Paris to strike America and its ally Canada, terrorist Mustafa Nadir is on a bold mission to assassinate an American governor, disable New England’s electrical grid, and kill 10,000 hockey fans. Even as his love for a woman is swept aside by his fanaticism, Gillette pursues him to a brutal confrontation.
Makes Scandinavian crime seem like a day at the sauna!
By turns a police procedural murder mystery, then a suspense thriller, and in the end a pedal-to-the-metal action movie, AL-QUEBECA hits all the bases. Montreal homicide detective Sophie Gillette is emotionally wounded, fiercely competitive and authority-defiant in her pursuit of a case that quickly obsesses her. The characters (and the city) are deftly-drawn, the plot smokes and flares like a gasoline fire, while the overall premise is so realistic there’s a danger it’ll inspire real terrorists. Makes Scandinavian crime feel like a day at the sauna!