Fort Meyers, Fla. (PRWEB) August 22, 2012
A. E. Pritchard challenges readers to confront their own prejudices and stereotypes in the provocative pages of the newest book in her St. Martins mystery series, “Zahira's Jihad” (published by iUniverse).
Zahira Athar, a young woman of Baghdad, is unwittingly ensnared in an Islamic extremist plot to assassinate the vice president of the United States. The assassin, her cousin Fahad Djebbar, uses Zahira to cover his terrorist identity and advance the plot by persuading her to leave Baghdad with him to study in the U.S., he at Georgetown University, and she at the site of the planned assassination, St. Martins College in Maryland.
As Zahira pursues studies at St. Martins and the VP’s visit approaches, she realizes that the VP’s Secret Service team leader, Owen Michelson, suspects Fahad is a terrorist and may suspect her as well. Yet in interviews with him, Zahira is deeply attracted to Owen and knows he is equally compelled by her. Torn by her longing for Owen and relentlessly mounting doubts about Fahad, Zahira determines to find the truth about her cousin and if she must, dissuade him from terrorism. Her efforts are savagely thwarted by Amir, Fahad’s Iraqi control, who has murdered and stolen a St. Martins student’s identity.
Amir kidnaps Zahira and forces Fahad, now beginning to reject his terrorist mission, to come to St. Martins and proceed with the assassination. In an explosive climax, the lives of three children and countless civilians hang in the balance, and in spite of college supporters’ and Owen’s attempts to save her, Zahira must make her jihad alone.
About the Author
A. E. Pritchard brings experience as a college administrator, professor and blue-water sailor to her St. Martins mystery series. She has published a test-taking program and a college textbook on service learning recognized as definitive in the field. Her novels take place on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the college town of St. Martins and explore her characters’ lives against a backdrop of cultural convention and unconscious prejudice. “Death’s Dark Angel,” first in this series, was published in 2005. The second, “Death at Dames Hundred,” debuted in 2009. Pritchard graduated from the College of William and Mary and earned graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. She and her husband have sailed their 32-foot ketch to Bermuda and back and cruised their 34-foot trawler from Maine to Florida. They live on the Florida Gulf Coast where she administers “Lending Hands,” a neighborhood support program she created, writes plays for community theatre and supports dog parks as recreational opportunities for people and their pets.
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