THE BLASPHEMER - John Ling
Up front, the only complaint I've got about THE BLASPHEMER is that the ending came way too quickly. From the opening scenes, when an armed fanatic breaks into the house of, we discover, Abraham Khan and his wife, things just keep moving fast. Much like the cavalcade required to move Khan from one safe location to another. Much like the speed at which security operator Maya Raines has to move to keep the principal (Khan) safe.
Set in New Zealand, there's never a moment when anything "really... in New Zealand..." enters your mind. The threat from extremists, the use of drugs - both as a controlling and financing device, the radicalisation of members of the Somali community, the whole lurking mysterious man in the background works.
The action scenes are really well written, realistic and tightly drawn. The characters are strong, particularly the female lead Maya Raines - she's capable, clever and real as well.
The scenario of Security Operatives, close protection experts is interesting, and works really well as a perspective to look at terrorism. The only problem with THE BLASPHEMER is that it feels very short, and ended quite abruptly. Which could mean there's another episode in the making. But it did have a slight feeling of an episode, rather than a fully explored book. Or I could just be being greedy.
When Abraham Khan releases an e-book condemning radical Islam, the consequences hit him fast and hard -- an armed fanatic smashes into his home one evening, trying to kill him. He survives the harrowing attempt. Just barely. But will he survive the next one?
Maya Raines is the security operator brought in to protect Abraham. She is tough and committed. The very best at what she does. Always one step ahead of the threat.
But Abraham is no ordinary principal -- he will not hide, and he will not stay silent. And as rage explodes on the streets and the nation is propelled to the brink, Maya will have to ask herself the hardest question of all: how far would you go to protect one man's right to speak?