Without Warning: A J. B. Collins Novel
J. B. Collins, chief foreign correspondent for the New York Times, has survived a terrorist attack on what would have been a historic peace agreement meeting between Israel and Palestine. He has met with and interviewed the head of the attacking jihadist ISIS forces, Abu Khalif, and heard the terrorist outline the plans he has to go to war against all who do not swear loyalty to him. The journalist has helped rescue the president of the United States, Harrison Taylor, held captive by Khalif. Then, Collins laid for months in a hospital bed following surgeries to correct injuries sustained in that rescue. Now, he is seated in the Oval Office at the invitation of President Taylor. He’s been invited to attend the State of the Union address as the president’s guest. He’s about to ride in the presidential motorcade from the White House to the U.S. Capitol and receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But Collins is not a happy man.
One would imagine that if a U.S. president were rescued from being held hostage by ISIS, he would recognize the jihadists as a serious foe to be reckoned with. Especially if that foe has repeatedly promised to assassinate Taylor and raise the ISIS flag over the White House. At least, that’s what Collins imagines. But apparently the president doesn’t agree.
"If you love the ABC drama 'Designated Survivor' or are always looking for the next well-written novel about America and her fight against terrorism, you’ll definitely want to pick up WITHOUT WARNING."
Oh, he has declared that he will hunt down the terrorists. He has said he will make sure that ISIL is on the run. But Collins senses that the president is more interested in resting on the laurels he’s accrued after having been rescued and riding out his political capital as the most popular president in recent years. Collins tries to pin him down, asking if he has plans to hunt down and eradicate Khalif. After hemming and hawing, he finally says that he does, although he doesn’t share those plans. But, as a measure of Taylor’s displeasure with that conversation, Collins is banished from the presidential limo to one of the town cars that will follow behind it in the motorcade.
The motorcade arrives at the Capitol, and the delegation heads into the building, pausing at the door of the House of Representatives chamber. The sergeant-at-arms loudly announces the arrival of the president. And the group processes down the aisle to their seats as the longest standing ovation in presidential history commences. Finally, President Taylor is able to begin his speech. He reminds America that they have stood strong against terrorism. He tells them that he, and Congress, have sent 50,000 American soldiers to the Middle East and that those soldiers have successfully hunted down and are eradicating the enemy. He honors the Delta force that rescued him from captivity and recognizes Collins, showing presidential appreciation for the journalist’s assistance in his rescue.
Before Taylor can continue, though, there is a loud boom, almost like thunder. But Collins knows it can’t be thunder, because when they drove from the White House, it was snowing. Another boom shakes the chamber, and still another. The Capitol is under attack.
The president is hustled out by his Secret Service agents, Collins by his friend and CIA agent Arthur Harris. Mortar fire from all sides pummels the beautiful Capitol dome and the rest of the building. They make it out alive, but hundreds of others are not so fortunate. Once they get out to the street and into the presidential motorcade, another attack begins. Terrifyingly, it’s RPGs, and they’re being aimed at the vehicles. It turns out that Collins’ concerns were warranted. America is under attack on numerous fronts by ISIS.
Collins is once again embroiled in terrorists’ plots. This time, however, the attacks are taking place on American soil. He and his family seem to be squarely in the sights of snipers’ rifles. Yet President Taylor still doesn’t think the situation is that serious. Collins may be America’s only hope, and he sets out to find allies in his quest to defeat ISIS and Khalif.
Joel C. Rosenberg is one of my favorite authors. I haven’t missed any of his political thrillers, and I thoroughly recommend his work. He writes fascinating, readable fiction that almost seems as though it’s actually current events. If you love the ABC drama “Designated Survivor” or are always looking for the next well-written novel about America and her fight against terrorism, you’ll definitely want to pick up WITHOUT WARNING. (Just be sure to read the other two books in the series first; you won’t want to miss the excitement AND the full story!)
Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on March 17, 2017