A terrorist attack casts one man as a hero—and suspect—in this “remarkable” thriller from the New York Times–bestselling author (Stephen King).
Coney Island is a weird place, packed with people from every walk of life, and David Fitzgerald fits in well. An English professor at a tough public school, he works hard to connect with students with whom he has little in common. Sometimes he succeeds; sometimes he fails. But one of his failures is about to become a catastrophe. A former student of David’s, Nasser Hamdy, has fallen in with a group of Islamic extremists who practice a cheap kind of jihad, mugging and robbing in the name of their holy war. But when they graduate to bomb-making, David finds himself wrapped up in their scheme—first as a target, and then as a suspect. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Peter Blauner including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
Thorough reportage and dead-on description make Blauner's latest city-streets novel (after 1997's paperback bestseller The Intruder) as impressive for its realism as for its suspense. David Fitzgerald is a slang-talking, highly literate 40-year-old English teacher who tolerates the frustrations of working at dilapidated Coney Island High School for the sake of students like bright, conflicted Palestinian Elizabeth Hamdy. Elizabeth's older brother, Nasser, was also once in Fitzgerald's class. Unreachable and full of hatred for America and Israel, he has joined a terrorist group that practices jihad, believing that even robbing a convenience store or killing a child is sanctioned by God's will. When Nasser and his fellow terrorists plant a bomb in a school bus, Fitzgerald becomes an accidental hero by preventing most of his class from entering the vehicle and then risking his life to rescue a pregnant teenager who is already on board. Circumstantial factors, however, soon reverse Fitzgerald's image and he becomes a prime suspect in the bombing, savaged by the system but never officially accused. Dysfunctional urban settings inhabited by uneasy, suspicious immigrants create a backdrop to Fitzgerald's personal drama: a marriage to a mentally unstable actress, and a deep fear that his contact with his son will be terminated. Blauner, a former journalist, writes about the media with the jaded authority of an insider. His novel looks unflinchingly at the aspects of contemporary American life that make morality a transient, relative principle.
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I came across this book a year or two ago. It's a really great book. The authors way of being very descriptive makes this book go from words on a page to a movie in your mind. I recommend this book.