Almost Dead – Assaf Gavron
A thirtysomething Tel Aviv businessman, Eitan “Croc” Einoch’s life is turned upside down when he narrowly escapes a suicide bombing on the minibus he rides to work. When he lives through a second attack, and then a third, he becomes, reluctantly, a national media celebrity. Naturally, the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the attacks are less than happy. This embarrassing symbol of their failure—this “CrocAttack”—must be neutralised.
Meanwhile, Fahmi Sabih lies in a coma, quarrelling with his conscience. The young Palestinian suicide bomber has learned everything he knows about bombs, targets, and revenge from his brother. So why has Einoch survived? As Fahmi’s story unfolds, it becomes clear that their paths are destined to cross again—for there is another bombing still to come—and then luck will change drastically for one or both of them. But who, if anyone, has right on his side?
Gardens of Water – Alan Drew
In a small town outside Istanbul, Sinan Basioglu, a devout Muslim, and his wife, Nilüfer, are preparing for their nine-year-old son’s coming-of-age ceremony. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, İrem, resents the attention her brother, Ismail, receives from their parents. For her, there was no such festive observance–only the wrapping of her head in a dark scarf and strict rules that keep her hidden away from boys and her friends. But even before the night of the celebration, İrem has started to change, to the dismay of her Kurdish father. What Sinan doesn’t know is that much of her transformation is due to her secret relationship with their neighbour, Dylan, the seventeen-year-old American son of expatriate teachers.
İrem sees Dylan as the gateway to a new life, one that will free her from the confines of conservative Islam. Yet the young man’s presence and Sinan’s growing awareness of their relationship affirms Sinan’s wish to move his family to the safety of his old village, a place where his children would be sheltered from the cosmopolitan temptations of Istanbul, and where, as the civil war in the south wanes, he hopes to raise his children in the Kurdish tradition.
But when a massive earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges. Losing everything, they are forced to forage for themselves, living as refugees in their own country. And their survival becomes dependent on their American neighbours, to whom they are unnervingly indebted. As love develops between İrem and Dylan, Sinan makes a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that push him toward a betrayal that will change everyone’s lives forever.
Secret of the Scroll – Chester D. Campbell
Retired Air Force OSI agent Greg McKenzie thinks his troubles with the Metro Nashville Police are a problem. Then he brings a “souvenir” Dead Sea Scroll home from the Holy Land and things go from bad to worse. A Palestinian terrorist group invades his home, fails to find the scroll, and takes his wife, Jill, hostage. Greg finds himself with an ancient Hebrew scroll worth millions, wanted by both the Palestinians and a radical far-right Israeli organisation. When he tries to exchange it for Jill’s freedom, everything goes wrong. Then the police target him as a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, and he sets out alone on a perilous chase to save her life.
Sand Queen – Helen Benedict
Nineteen-year-old Kate Brady joined the army to bring honour to her family and democracy to the Middle East. Instead, she finds herself in a forgotten corner of the Iraq desert in 2003, guarding a makeshift American prison. There, Kate meets Naema Jassim, an Iraqi medical student whose father and little brother have been detained in the camp.
Kate and Naema promise to help each other, but the war soon strains their intentions. Like any soldier, Kate must face the daily threats of combat duty, but as a woman, she is in equal danger from the predatory men in her unit. Naema suffers bombs, starvation, and the loss of her home and family. As the two women struggle to survive and hold on to the people they love, each comes to have a drastic and unforeseeable effect on the other’s life.
That Summer in Ischia – Penny Feeny
Liddy and Helena are students working as au pairs on the island of Ischia in the summer of 1979. They expect to spend the summer having fun on the beach and in their new, opulent surroundings, looking after the children of the Verduccis and the Baldinis. But they hadn’t counted on a kidnapped child, dangerous love affairs, and the carabinieri.
Twenty-five years later Liddy, walking her dog on an English beach, spies a figure reminiscent of her estranged friend—it is Helena’s daughter, Allie. At the risk of opening an old wound, she befriends her. And so Allie is set upon a startling quest for identity, taking her across Europe to the family villa where it all went so wrong for her mother. Her curiosity and persistence forges surprising links with two families she’d only heard about from Liddy, as she seeks her father and discovers what really took place during that summer in Ischia.
Drowning Rose – Marika Cobbold
It is winter in London. Eliza Cummings, a ceramics restorer at the V&A Museum, is leaving work when she receives an unexpected phone call. Standing in the haze of the Christmas lights she hears a voice which draws her back twenty-five years – to the tragic death of her best friend. But why does Rose’s father want her to visit him? Why now? And why is he killing her with kindness when they both know that he blames her for what happened to his daughter? Grief and guilt cast terrible shadows, but as this beautifully wrought story unfolds and the scene shifts from London to the fairy tale landscape of the Swedish countryside – and back in time to Eliza’s school days – we learn that generosity, humour and friendship can smooth over and restore even the most broken lives, and that some secrets just can’t be kept hidden…
Painted Hands: A Novel – Jennifer Zobair
Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms.
When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband.
Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab’s job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love.