Dark Harvest, by David L. Thompson

Eight stars

In a political thriller with strong terrorist themes, David L. Thompson dazzles readers with an intricate storyline and well-developed characters. After terrorists attack a Montreal church, the world takes notice. The FBI wonders from across the border if a prominent terror cell may be behind the attack. When a major explosion rocks the bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, all eyes turn to the Feds, apparently asleep at the switch, especially after events the previous day. As a Deputy Director, Bradley Parsons is forced to take much of the blame, though he tries to make it clear that he has been working with limited resources. As SCIMITAR claims responsibility for the attack, there is more to come. One of its leaders, Mustafa Suleyman, warns of a major attack on the D.C. area, which will likely include Sarin gas. Mass panic ensues as Parsons tries to mobilise and discover where the attack is centred. As numerous smaller cells begin to lay the groundwork for the attack, Parsons debates taking the ultimate steps that will neutralise SCIMITAR once and for all. With other attacks around Europe and into the Arab countries, Parsons convinces the US President to begin Operation: Dark Harvest, a multi-state initiative that may be the only hope to end the violence. With the help of Europe and Israel, it may work, but there remains the problematic attack slated for D.C. Time is running out and Parsons has more than himself to worry about, forcing him to work in conjunction with others to ensure the region is safe and SCIMITAR disappears once and for all. However, terrorism is more like the Hydra, resuming its efforts as soon as one cell is dismantled. Parsons will have to act quickly and with all the force he can to ensure success. Thompson does well to keep the reader engaged throughout this high-impact thriller. Perfect for fans of terrorism novels, especially those who like a new spin on an overworked theme.

I was intrigued when David L. Thompson approached me to read this piece. A fellow Canadian, I was sure to get a new and unique perspective on the terrorism theme within the thriller genre. While much of the story is set in the U.S., Thompson offers up some grit without the usual approach that has been woven into the American psyche by past administrations and their departments. Bradley Parsons proves to be a great protagonist, forced to fight against the larger FBI hierarchy. While he is saddled with much of the blame for the early SCIMITAR attacks, he works diligently to get to the root of the major plots being hatched. With a spouse who works within the Agency, Parsons cannot risk everything or be overly self-centred. The Parsons character contrasts nicely with the likes of Mustafa Suleyman, whose connections and ability to bring about chaos knows no end. With a past connection to Parsons, the story revolves around them and trying to flex their respective muscles in times of crisis. The terror threats seem unending and multi-faceted, making the clash between Parsons and Suleyman all the more intriguing. With a large cast of characters, Thompson enriches his story with a rich collection of individuals who advance the narrative in many ways. All support the aforementioned two key characters in their own ways, allowing Thompson a wide berth to develop his plot. In a story that seeks to stand out from the various novels on an over-worked terrorism theme, Thompson finds new ways to keep the reader enthralled. Adding his Canadian flavour to the story, Thompson is able to compete in the genre without using too many of the usual themes that have gone stale years ago. With five primary chapters that work as ‘parts’ of the novel, Thompson uses ‘sub-chapters’ to develop his plot effectively. Some are short and offer wonderful teasers while others are longer and much more detailed. This lures the reader in and then hooks them as the plot develops over time. I am eager to see what else Thompson has to offer, as this was surely a stellar introduction to his writing, which is both tight and full of life.

Kudos, Mr. Thompson, for asking me to read this wonderful piece. I can only hope that others will discover this novel and be as impressed as I was throughout.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons