“…police agencies the federal government and Homeland Security cannot protect Americans.” Terror in America highlights a porous border as the undoing of all other security spending. Terrorists study American culture customs and speech patterns in a rigorous five-year program. Their colloquial English is almost correct. They feign cell-phone conversations to gain invisibility in public. Carefully groomed they wear blue contact lenses; some go under the knife. The antiheroes thrive because they “…always hide in plain sight.”
The President reacts drastically calling for rationing and rushing into martial law. The business sector constricts spasmodically. A twenty-member terrorist group moves through the country with ease slaughtering at gas-ups and Waffle Houses and a Motel 6 vividly illustrating the fact that there can never be enough funding to stop angry motivated people who are willing to die.
The story is a headfirst charge from the opening following a frighteningly poised and organized force of sworn Yankee-killers who meet a smuggling coyote in Nogales Mexico. Sub-teams of four men each wreak carnage across a dozen states and stretch emergency responders thin. The point of view remains attached to the terrorists switching between the locations of teams. Brief cuts to CNN reports are the only outside news. The timeline covers ten days culminating in a bloody Fourth of July. The terrorists shoot and burn cut throats without qualms. The favored firearm is the Walther PPK a weapon familiar from James Bond books and films. Food is beef stew cold from cans. The tips for housekeeping at motels they depart are timer-activated explosives. There is a plethora of life-stopping action.
The men conform to an undifferentiated group personality. Eight terrorists share two last names—the aliases of Timmons and Jones—first names are used rarely. There is no reflection or inner struggle; achieving that state of mind is implied as a goal of previous paramilitary training. The team members’ daily kill missions are brassy and unrestrained but the chain of events repeats from one unfortunate town to the next resulting in an episodic structure. “As per usual an incendiary detonator had been placed…” A person who drinks a swig of liquor whenever the term “incendiary detonator” pops up may require a hospital visit. These men will attack any target imaginable. “They started fires in malls restaurants motels hotels convenience stores one hospital a carpet store and two schools.” A carpet store?
Ned Kalbfleish founder of the Varmint Hunters Association is a Vietnam veteran a biker and an inventor with an information technology company in Tucson Arizona. This is his first novel. A caution to the impressionable: attacks on nonmilitary Americans are indiscriminate without mercy for children or mothers even targeting nursery schools. This reflects the author’s brutally realistic expectations. Terror in America’s scenario succeeds in its aim to expose broad weakness in the national security apparatus.