Monday, April 20, 2015

Don Brown: Detained

By Kelly Bridgewater

From Amazon
Back Cover Copy:

A man and his son dreamed of America’s freedom, but the dream became a nightmare when they ended up at Guantanamo Bay.

Hasan Makari and his son Najib, both Lebanese nationals, have dreamed of the day they would experience the shining freedom of America. But when they arrive in the US, they are arrested, accused of terrorism, and incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, all on false charges. Suddenly, they face the nightmare of death by execution.

Their only hope is Navy JAG Officer Matt Davis, who has been assigned to the case of his life—to defend the Makaris in court at Guantanamo Bay. Matt believes his clients are innocent but faces monumental opposition—not only from powerful federal prosecutors with a huge agenda and an unlimited budget, but also from the woman he loves who, as a fellow JAG officer, has been ordered onto the prosecution team to convict the Makaris.

As the drama unfolds in Cuba, Emily Gardner, a top-ranking TSA lawyer, has just received a larger-than-life nomination as General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security. While preparing for confirmation by the US Senate, she discovers a shocking scheme that will turn her life upside down. Can Emily expose the truth in time to save the lives of those being accused—and escape with her own life? Somewhere between the war-torn plains of Northern Lebanon and the secret torture chamber of Guantanamo Bay lie the keys to justice.

My Thoughts:

I am drawn to books and movies with car chases and high chances for danger. That is why the Fast and Furious movies are my all time favorite. Plus, I love the family and religious aspects woven in the plot. Similarly, I am a fan of NCIS, the television show. I have never read anything by Don Brown, but when the opportunity arose to review his newest book, Detained, I jumped on the chance. True to a thriller, Brown captures his readers with high speed chases, terrorist threats, and characters who tug at your heart.

In Detained, there are a lot of main characters, which bring this thriller to life. There is Najib and Hasan Makari, Diane Brewer Cobernian and her husband Zach Brewer, Matt Davis, Amy Debenedetto, Emily Gardner, Willie Roberts, and Secretary General TSA Strayhorn. That is a lot of characters to keep track of, especially in the beginning when you’re scratching your head, trying to figure out why there are so many characters. But after finishing the book, I realized that each individual character was important to tell the story. As you can understand from reading the synopsis, Najib and Hasan Makari are Lebanon citizens who are wrongly accused of terrorism over eleven years ago. The pain the TSA agents made them endure made my heart ache for these innocent men. None of the other characters took a leading role throughout the rest of the story. The story portrayed them all. Emily, Matt, and Amy were brave characters who fought for American justice. Zach and Diane spent a lot of time praying and enforcing the Constitution. However, the mention of God was not preachy, but woven in as the individual character’s strength, not as a sign of weakness.

This brings me to the idea of conflict and tension, running rapid across the novel. From Philadelphia to Washington D. C. to Norfolk, Virginia, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Rome, Italy, to a plane over the Atlantic Ocean. The story starts off with watching an assassination on an American ambassador and does not let go until the end. It was fast moving and explosive. A few scenes had me cringing while others had my eyes flying over the words, so I could keep up with the action. True to the thriller genre, the tension and conflict caused nail-biting moments mixed in with political wrong, begging the readers not to put the book down.

By wrapping your mind around the original and totally unpredictable thriller written by Don Brown, readers notice the writing. The prose and dialogue started out a little unbalanced. Brown uses way too much prose in the novel’s beginning. The dialogue is sparse, not allowing the reader to truly get into the character’s mind. As the action picks up, Brown evens them out, making the story more powerful. Another aspect to make the novel more realistic is Brown’s vast knowledge into this Navy community. Brown spent five years as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) before starting his own private practice. It definitely shows with his knowledge of the inner workings of the Navy and chain of command.

Conservation readers should be cautioned that there are vivid descriptions of TSA enforcers torturing Najib and Hasan, brutality, and a suicide. Even with this, the story grabbed my attention and did not let go. I would love to see Detained in a movie, but the movie has to be done right like Brown wrote it. Fans of NCIS and Mel Odom’s NCIS book series (Paid in Blood, Blood Evidence, and Blood Lines), which I love and own, would devour this book. Now that I have found a new author to enjoy, I want to go get his other eight books.

Overall, Don Brown’s, Detained, questions his readers to ask themselves what would you do to see justice served? Detained is a high adrenaline chase thriller, pulling the readers through a series of emotions while keeping their focus riveted on the page.

I received a complimentary copy of Detained from Zondervan and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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