Israelis

When Mossad operative Dov Shamir kills an al-Quaida terrorist in London, his face is captured on a webcam, turning a routine elimination into a nightmare.

Branded a “rogue operative” and abandoned by his own people, Dov takes refuge in the home of the one man he can count on to help him – a Palestinian intellectual who was his professor and mentor at the School of Oriental and African Studies where he did his PhD. Though Dov and Rahman are divided by politics, Rahman is a man of immense personal loyalty and a staunch opponent of anything that will bring the Palestinian cause into disrepute (as well as being Dov’s former SCUBA diving partner).

But it becomes particularly important to help when Dov reveals the terrorists’ plan to blow up the sunken wreckage of an old World War II munitions ship packed with high explosives. And when the terrorists ambush them, Dov has to form an uneasy alliance with Salima – Rahman’s feisty and distrustful 24-year-old daughter.

Unable to convince the skeptical authorities that the attack on the ship is anything other than a desperate fabrication by Dov, their only hope is a junior police officer. But he has motives of his own. And with the net closing in on the fleeing Israeli operative, Dov and Salima find themselves caught in a race against time to stop the attack before hundreds of innocent people are killed.

I have to confess that I had reservations about Hidden Menace, because on re-reading, it does seem to stereotype Arabs somewhat. I say “stereotype” rather than “demonize” because the book does have some “good” Arabs too – i.e. those who oppose terrorism. But I still can’t escape the feeling that I have created stereotypes and effectively sold my soul to the realms of Hackdom, as it were.

This is not what I am about – normally. I like to think that I possess a modicum of literary sophistication. To this end, I try to avoid stereotypes in my characterization, just as in my use of language I avoid cliches like the plague. On the other hand, controversy sells. Look at good ol’ Jeremy Clarkson raising hell by suggesting that public sector workers who go on strike against unilateral attempts to breach the pension provisions of their contracts should be shot. A silly off-the-cuff comment that is quintessentially Jeremy Clarkson. In other words, the kind of low-brow, man-in-the-pub macho talk upon which Clarkson has built his stag-party reputation.

And guess what? All of a sudden, everyone’s talking about Jeremy Clarkson just when his star was fading. It seems that just as being outrageous can buy the untalented their proverbial 15 minutes, it can also breathe a new lease of life into the talented but erratic.

And while we’re on the subject of talented but erratic, let’s get back to talking about me! My new book may not be a literary masterpiece. As with cars that’s my other book. But it is what I would call an excellent Velvet Underground piece – in other words, a Loo Read.

And as for that cheap shot at publicity…. well here’s my contribution to the debate: Jeremy Clarkson should be shot! Now would somebody kindly report me to the Director of Public Prosecutions – PLEASE!!!!!!