Small town policeman Brant Discher, originally a Philly cop, investigates what at first appears to be a suicide in his small rural town. It turns out to be much more than that, with a single thread leading to a major terrorist operation much like the 9-11 attacks. This next assault involves embedded young jihadist-indoctrinated orphans placed in all 50 states for nearly a decade, producing slow-ticking teen time-bombs set to go off at one single moment.
The premise of Joseph DiFrancesco DiFrancesco and Oak Anderson’s ON THIS DAY is intriguing, and policeman Brant and his ex-girlfriend Kendra—an FBI counter-terrorism hot-shot—are great characters. Their on-and-off relationship is the warm, wholesome setting for the violence and mayhem to come. We come to like them and hope for the best for the pair.
Another engrossing aspect of DiFrancesco and Anderson’s novel is the way many of the embedded terrorists are seduced by the American way of life through their growing years, forcing their handlers to cut them out of the operation when their dedication wanes. This echoes what we know of some of the 9-11 terrorists.
Attempts to widen the scope of the book with Twitter blurbs fall flat, unfortunately, and the invention of a “popular uprising” against the terrorists also seems unrealistic and contrived—more wish-fulfillment than reality. The idea that average citizens can defeat the terrorists is interesting (a la Flight 93), but it’s undercut somewhat by the book itself, which focuses on top professionals in the field. Because of the large number of separate targets, and the many characters and locations involved, the book feels thin in places, especially when the hero, Brant, is far from the main action. Abbreviating some of the threads and concentrating on others might have helped.
Not surprisingly, given their backgrounds, writers DiFrancesco and Anderson are at their best describing full-out combat and the weaponry involved. The authors have come up with some provocative and deadly terrorism targets, too, with many ingenious twists. Their knowledge of the cities involved—Philly, Denver, Los Angeles, and others—enhances the drama considerably as well.
ON THIS DAY is an exciting and well-written read, with an intriguing premise and action that is fast, furious and riveting.
~Dave Eisenstark for IndieReader