On this day of mourning and rememberance, I felt it was a good day to share my review of an excellent novel by J.P. McCarthy entitled GROUND ZERO AND BEYOND.
Today marks the second anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks that leveled the World Trade Center and scarred the Pentagon. The terrorists succeeded in killing thousands of people. They also succeeded in awakening the American people to the very real menace that rules the Middle East. They also succeeded in raising the level of patriotism and heroism that is only continuing to rise.
Yes, the terrorists succeeded in changing America on September 11, 2001. Our war on terrorism is a constant topic of the news media. But the focus seems to have shifted from finding the Al-Qae'da terrorists and their leader Osama bin Laden, to trying to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan and seeking Saddam Hussein. More American soldiers have lost their lives since the main battles of combat were declared over than were lost when it was in full force. Now, the President is asking Congress to set aside $87 Billion for continuing the war on terror and rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan.
The question that crosses the minds of most Americans now is, "What about Osama bin Laden, the al-Qae'da, and the Taliban?" Two years have passed and we still don't know where bin Laden is, if he's dead, or if his organization has more terror planned for us. How were four planes successfully hijacked to be used against us? Did anybody in any branch of the U.S. government know anything about their plans? Is there any proof linking the key players together?
All of these questions are expertly woven together and answered in a fantastic tale of espionage and heroism by author J.P. McCarthy. His first novel GROUND ZERO AND BEYOND tells the story of forensic dental expert and Vietnam Army Ranger Patrick Murphy, who's called to Manhattan after the tragedy to lead the dental ID unit in their massive undertaking of identifying those who did not survive.
Murphy discovers a unique denture that was custom designed for the purpose of concealing a micro diskette with critical instructions for the al-Qae'da trained terrorists to not only execute their Sept. 11th attacks, but gave details about further plans to come. This disk was naturally sought by many organizations, as it was the vital evidence needed to prove who was behind the attacks.
Fate brings Murphy back into a working and romantic relationship with a former flame, Marion Masterson, who set up the computer center of the makeshift identification facility. She is the only one Murphy can trust to help discover the contents of the disk. Once they do, they realize that al-Qae'da, the Israeli Mossad secret service, and even traitorous FBI agents are after them to recover the disk.
All of this builds to a fevered pitch as Murphy pits his patriotism and personal desires to exact revenge versus his fears and doubts from his Vietnam experiences and the desire to be with his new love who's life is in danger.
The author brings his own military and medical experience directly into the book and this evident throughout. His writing style grips the reader because the characters and events are so real you hope they will unravel the mysteries that are buried at Ground Zero and beyond.
I myself am not an avid reader of espionage books of such writers as Clancy. I normally read fiction that takes you away to a fantasy world for escape; where the goal is to make the unreal believable. But McCarthy's book takes a tragic reality and brings a wonderful chance for hope and inspiration. Though this book is fictional, you can't help but want it to be true . To me, that is the mark of an excellent writer. I am most definitely looking forward to the second Murphy novel, MURDER ON THE GREEN.