Saturday, May 16, 2015

Detained by Don Brown

Not only is this a very well written suspense novel, it also contains a powerful message about the government and our constitutional rights.

Brown explores the issues by presenting two stories that come together in the end. One story involves two Lebanese nationals, Hasan Makari and his son. When Hasan comes to America to visit his son whose is serving in the U.S. Navy, he is immediately arrested and charged with terrorism. He is taken to Guantanamo and his son soon follows. All of this on false charges. Their only hope for freedom is Navy JAG Officer Matt Davis. The Makaris are Lebanese Christians and it was great to see how their faith carried them through.

The other story follows Emily Gardner, a top TSA lawyer. When she is invited by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to become their top legal counsel, she discovers a scheme so dangerous, she knows she has to do something about it. But what can she do, especially since others who have opposed the scheme have been murdered?

This novel confronts issues on these two fronts – the conditions and operations at Guantanamo and the violation of constitutional rights by a rogue leader in the government. Reading about the conditions and torture the Makaris experienced was heartbreaking. I do hope the kind of treatment they received there was fiction, but I think not.

Brown deftly shows what can happen when someone in power wants to grab even more, all in the name of national security. He has taken recent governmental actions and magnified them, showing how they could be used to control citizens.

There is much for readers to think about in this novel. When do we trash the U.S. Constitution to protect people from harm? When is it right to kill some Americans to save others? Is it ever right to not allow due process of law? Great discussion questions at the end will help generate a lively book group discussion.

Two aspects of the novel make it less than perfect. One was the lack of Russian response. All that buildup and tension and then … nothing from the Russians? The other aspect was the quick resolution. The presidential action was totally unrealistic. He calls for so much that depends upon congressional approval, it would just never happen. And, by the way, they all watch FOX News? I don't think so.

Nonetheless, this is a very good novel of governmental intrigue. It is very thought provoking in addition to a great suspense novel. I highly recommend it.

Don Brown is the author of several novels of military suspense. He served five years in the U. S. Navy as an officer in the JAG Corps. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice. He and his family live in North Carolina. You can find out more at

Zondervan, 416 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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