Another Thriller in the Award-winning Sam and James Series

Fiction - Thriller - Terrorist
328 Pages
Reviewed on 02/19/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

Reading Qisas by A. A. Freda is like riding in a speeding truck with your family being pursued by the most dangerous people in the world. The action and complications never stop, and you are forever trying to figure out exactly what is going on. As a reader, it keeps you on your mental toes. “Qisas” is an Arabic word that means revenge, an eye for an eye. Well, let’s start at the beginning. Four Palestinians led by one Afghan concoct a plan to kill over 500 churchgoers and possibly to blow up the church. James Coppi, however, happens to be there to give a speech. James is a decorated Vietnam vet who, during the attack, borrows a gun from a parishioner, and with great damage to himself, manages to kill the four intruders as the Afghan leader escapes in a van from a local utility service. And off we go on an international chase of two groups each trying to exact “qisas” on the other.

I enjoyed the action but also the setup. A. A. Freda takes the time to introduce us to James Coppi’s family, especially his wife Samantha, who is a co-protagonist. He uses the present tense to keep things immediate and switches points of view so we see the actions and plans from the Americans and the Middle-Easterners, although there’s no doubt who we’re rooting for. James and Samantha have a business empire worth billions, as well as a lovely family situated on a Colorado horse ranch. Their relationship, she a believer and he an agnostic, has some domestic conflicts, but they pale in comparison to being hunted for James’s having minimized the damage to the Lubbock church and attendees. Author Freda’s prose is action-oriented, direct, gritty, soft when needed, and well-informed of the cultural contrasts—a perfect example of exactly what an action novel should be. So, fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride!

Steven Robson

Qisas by A. A. Freda is an international thriller, and another sojourn into the dynamic Sam and James Series, taking us back to a period in time when the world watched as Afghanistan strove to expel a Russian invasion force. The dangerous complexity permeating this period was palpable, giving rise to betrayals, deadly terrorist factions, changing alliances, as well as secret government-sanctioned politics cloaked in the vessel of ‘the greater good’. Sam and James are sucked into this maelstrom when James, through a simple act of attending church in Lubbock, Texas, is swept into the path of a terrorist action designed with the intent to drive all foreign interest from the Middle East. Already on overload running their multi-million dollar empire, with a major business change in course and an urgent Royal contract being activated, Sam and James are forced to accommodate an even higher priority; a battle for survival that will result in multiple fatalities and an explosive climax to this pulsating adventure.

A. A. Freda’s Qisas is ripping action on an impressive scale. This is a story with a relentless beat of movement and with each turn clearly demonstrates precise knowledge of the skills required to lend realism to the many dangerous environments portrayed. Equally precise is the character building, with each player having their own personality traits, and at times subtle humor that doesn’t come across as forced. All of the relationships are genuine, no matter friend or foe, and the parent-child bonds within the Coppi family are well crafted; the inclusion of Molly’s altercation with Robbie at school was very apropos. The deft handling of the two climactic confrontations in Monaco and Peshawar was very good, creating subtle uncertainties and genuine apprehension as to the ultimate outcome. Qisas is a definite read for anyone seeking action, intrigue, and a dramatic conclusion that remains in doubt until the very end.

Lesley Jones

In Qisas by AA Freda, Faakhur, a mujahedeen fighter, bides his time patiently outside the First Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. Inside the church, James Coppi, a Vietnam veteran and successful businessman, is in attendance along with 500 other worshippers, unaware that his life may soon end. As Faakhur is driven away to safety, his men burst in and begin to fire indiscriminately at the innocent men, women, and children. When James manages to save many lives and becomes a hero, the man who planned the attack now wants vengeance. Faakhur is ordered to carry out Qisas, the death sentence for James and his entire family. While his wife, Sam, works to secure the sale of their multi-million-pound business, James discovers she and his children's lives are at risk and decides to hunt Faakhur down himself. As James travels to the Middle East, Faakhur has already followed Sam to Milan. With his wife's life in danger, James will stop at nothing to eliminate those who wish her harm. But does he realize how far his enemies will go to win?

The well-written storyline will absolutely grab your attention from the outset. The action and adventure are supported brilliantly by excellent characters, especially James and Sam. Theirs was an enviable relationship, they were a superb match both personally and professionally. James' actions as he tries to persuade Faakhur to help was chilling. I loved how we were given an insight into their roles as parents too as we saw another side of their personalities. I also thought gaining an insight into Faakhur's point of view gave the story much more added interest. Qisas by AA Freda has some fantastic sub-plots and each of them was as strong as the main storyline. The dialogue highlighted the personalities of each character really well and James had a few explosive lines. This piece of advice to Moshar was my favourite, "We only have to win once. You have to win all the time. And you won’t." The novel also covers the important topic of war and the repercussions of conflict, especially the tensions in the Middle East. The plot has many twists and turns and the obstacles both Sam and James have to overcome will keep you on the edge of your seat. The explosive finale will definitely leave you wanting more from these characters.

Rabia Tanveer

Qisas: Another Thriller in the Award-winning Sam and James Series by AA Freda continues the story of Sam and James as they face down a new enemy. James was waiting to speak at a church when it was attacked by Middle Eastern terrorists. The terrorists were able to kill some people, but James managed to save the rest. However, that heroism cost him the peace and serenity that he had built with Sam. James knew there would be retribution, and it came in the form of Sam being taken away from him. Sam was kidnapped by terrorists, and James had no idea how he was going to get her back. Was there any way to get her back? Or was this the end of their story? Would James make his family whole again?

The flow of the story had me hooked and entrapped by attention from the beginning. The author created a believable storyline, added the right amount of action, and sprinkled in a dash of intrigue too. The subplots carried the main plot forward and created opportunities for the characters to develop to their full potential. James and Sam’s relationship had evolved, they were stronger than before and trusted each other better. Author AA Freda’s unique narrative style made the story a lot more interesting. The descriptions were vivid, the imagery was real, and I could feel the emotions that James and Sam felt. The tension was running high until the very end and I was holding my breath to see what would happen next. Qisas is yet another masterpiece by AA Freda, brilliant as always.