The Terrorist Next Door: Synopsis
He’s Homeland Security’s worst nightmare. More than a decade after 9/11, someone is setting off fire bombs in Chicago using untraceable cell phones. The international terror channels are silent. An unknown group calling itself the Islamic Freedom Federation takes credit for the bombings and demands the release of Hassan Al-Shahid, a University of Chicago graduate student whose plan to set off a bomb at the Art Institute was thwarted at the last minute by Detective David Gold and his long-time partner, Detective Paul Liszewski. Their heroic efforts had cost Liszewski his life and put Gold in the hospital. The FBI and Homeland Security believe the new bomber is a “lone wolf”—a freelancer who operates off the grid. That makes him even more dangerous.
Meet Detective David Gold. He’s a third generation native of South Chicago, the hardscrabble neighborhood of steel mills, smokestacks, and steeples near the Indiana border. He’s also one of Chicago’s most decorated homicide detectives.
Meet Gold’s new partner, Detective A.C. Battle. He’s a native of Mississippi whose family moved to Chicago to escape the Jim Crow South. He grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes—the penal colony of high rises across the Dan Ryan Expressway from Mayor Daley’s house and Comiskey Park
Gold is still suffering from the aftereffects of Liszewski’s death when he receives a Medal of Valor on the steps of the Art Institute. During the ceremony, a car bomb explodes across the street, killing one passerby and showering pedestrians with shrapnel and glass. A moment later, Gold receives a cryptic text message: “It isn’t over.”
It’s just the beginning. Untraceable car bombs are detonated at the Wrigley Field El station, Millennium Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, O’Hare Airport, the Hyde Park train station, and the upscale Rush Street area near North Michigan Avenue. The best minds at Chicago PD, the FBI, and Homeland Security can’t trace him, but the evidence points toward members of Chicago’s Islamic community. Within a day, the bomber accomplishes the seemingly impossible: a single person has shut down a major U.S. city.
As the explosions rock Chicago and the death toll mounts, Gold and Battle are drawn into a desperate cat-and-mouse game against a brilliant and cunning mind. THE TERRORIST NEXT DOOR is a timely, compelling, and, at times, terrifying read by a master of suspense. From its opening scene to its stunning climax, New York Times best selling author Sheldon Siegel writes a lightning paced thriller capturing the complexity and fears of the post-9/11 world. Along the way, he gives his readers an insider’s look at Chicago’s colorful neighborhoods—from the high rises of the Magnificent Mile to century-old churches where mass is still celebrated in Polish to the ivy-covered buildings at the University of Chicago to crumbling old synagogues and gritty seafood shacks next to the ghostly expanses of vacant land where the steel mills once stood.
Read chapter 1 of The Terrorist Next Door.