Garage sale pivotal in terrorist plot set in affluent suburb

Garage Sale Diamonds, by Suzi Weinert.  Barringer Publishers. 464 pages. Trade paper $15.95.

The sequel to “Garage Sale Stalker” will please fans of Ms. Weinert’s first novel, which was adapted for a television movie called “Garage Sale Mystery” that aired on the Hallmark Movie Channel this past September.  “Diamonds” continues the delightfully drawn domestic tensions of the Shannon family as the three generations get ready to assemble for Thanksgiving. However, in the week or so before the holiday, danger finds them. And, yes, a garage sale has something to do with it.  DiamondCov

As readers step into the day-to-day details of domestic life in McLean, Virginia, which means Jennifer and Jason Shannon constructively interacting with their several adult children and growing number of grandchildren (affectionately labeled as the “Grands”), some bad news comes to the family. The woman next door dies under mysterious circumstances and her husband, a good friend of the Shannons, is despondent. This secondary plot line develops slowly and in unexpected ways to a stunning conclusion.

More bad news arrives: the town of McLean is targeted by Islamic terrorists as part of a nationwide plan to launch a massive attack in similar locations across the United States.

Meet Ahmed, a man whose mission to die for Allah was seeded in childhood when he was told that his parents were killed by American Jews. Raised, educated, and trained for eventual action in a terrorist camp, he is now secretly (and illegally) transported to McLean where he meets others who had been planted in the states long ago and brought to McLean with Ahmed to accomplish their mission – a mission for which all are ready to give their lives.

Ahmed is hosted by a Muslim couple. The husband is a true believer in terrorist jihad. The wife is an American woman who, while a convert to Islam, is not at all an extremist. She lives in fear of her abusive husband. Their gorgeous daughter, Khadija, is the linchpin in the terrorism story line.

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Khadija is at once Muslim and thoroughly American – though to her fundamentalist father she is a disgrace. Her presence and manner are totally disorienting to Ahmed, who is at first unable to balance his long indoctrination into radical Islam thought and behavior with the liberating, humanistic values that Khadija both represents and articulates with passion and clarity.

Resistant to having his long-engrained identity threatened, he nevertheless takes the first steps: he begins to think for himself.

His attraction to Khadija is so strong that there is hope for a new Ahmed to emerge, but how can he extricate himself from his mission without being tortured and murdered as a traitor?

And what does any of this have to do with Jennifer Shannon and her family? Hey, it’s the diamonds!

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the January 22, 2014 edition of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the January 23 Bonita Springs edition, click here Florida Weekly – Weinert Diamonds 1 and here Florida Weekly – Weinert Diamonds 2.

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