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C H Foertmeyer

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by C H Foertmeyer   

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Books by C H Foertmeyer
· The Wager
· Taylor Manse
· Hell's Interstate
· The Room Beyond the Veil
· Sonoma Quadrant
                >> View all



Publisher:  iUniverse, Inc. ISBN-10:  0595438571 Type: 


Copyright:  Mar 31, 2007 ISBN-13:  9780595438570

Marlin Goldburg, a forty-year-old Jewish realtor living in the United States, is killed in a terrible traffic accident. Later that day, in Sarsarif, Iraq, Abdul-Halim is blessed with the birth of his first son, whom he names, Badr. What can the two events have in common? As the years go by, Badr is taught at home, hate for the rich American Jews that finance Israel’s existence in Arab lands. His father and uncles teach him to hate all infidels, especially the American infidels who have now invaded his country and hometown. But, as the lessons in hate began, so did Badr’s dreams of pale white hands, always held together, as if in prayer. The praying, pale white hands, obviously those of an infidel, seem to be in direct contrast to his family’s teachings. So, whose hands are they, and what are they trying to tell Badr, who has now grown up to be “Lone Wolf”, the most deadly of Iraqi insurgents? Is Marlin Goldburg speaking to Badr from the grave? But how, and why?

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Foertmeyer Fiction

        Sitting down across from her at the kitchen table, he asked, “Has it been twenty minutes already?”

        “More like half an hour,” she replied.

        “Huh–I’d have never guessed. It seems like you were just out there with me.”

        “I was, a half hour ago,” she said, smiling and shaking her head. “You always lose track of time when you’re in the garden. You know that.”

        “Yeah, but this time it wasn’t just that. Something happened to me out there–twice. Like my mind wandered off to someplace else.”

        “And you know that happens to you too, when you’re in that garden of yours.”

        “Yeah, but his time I saw what wasn’t there, I mean…”

        Marlin paused, thinking how best to explain what had happened.

        “And,” Annie said, when he didn’t continue. “What did you see?”

        “It’s not just what I saw, but also what I didn’t see.”

        “Is this some sort of riddle?”

        “No, while I was digging, I saw my hands change to those of someone very tan, wearing long, buttoned down khaki sleeves. The hands were digging, just like mine were, but in very dry, sandy soil.”

        “Have you checked your sugar this morning?”

        “Yes, it’s fine. The second time this happened, when my hands returned to normal, I guess you’d say, there was a jonquil bulb placed in the bottom of the hole. Annie, I hadn’t even opened the bag yet.”

        “Then how’d the bulb get there?”

        “Well, the bag was open when I looked around to it, but I didn’t open it, or at least I don’t remember opening it.”

        “Well you must have. You were the only one out there, dear. Maybe…”

        “Maybe,” Marlin said, cutting Annie off, “maybe I have a brain tumor.”

        Annie stared blankly at Marlin’s bombshell self-diagnosis, and then replied, “Now that’s a leap. Maybe you’d better check your sugar again.”

        “My sugar’s fine, dammit,” he barked out. “So, how else do you explain me seeing what I saw, and then not remembering my having planted that bulb?”

        “Check your sugar, Marlin, and then eat your breakfast before it gets cold.”

        Annie could play this off, as if it were just his sugar, but Marlin had been there before, and this was not just a case of his sugar being too high, or too low. He knew what that felt like, and this wasn’t that. But, to prove his point, while Annie went on eating, he got out his tester and did as she had suggested.

        “Ha, see,” he blurted out, as the reading was displayed, “one hundred two. That’s as normal as normal gets.”

        “And that proves what?” Annie asked. “That you have a brain tumor? I don’t think so.”

        “No, it just proves that it’s not my sugar, but it could still be a brain tumor.”

        Anne just gave him a cold stare, rose from the table with her dirty dishes, and walked to the sink. Then, she looked over her shoulder and said, “Finish your breakfast. I don’t intend to stand here doing dishes all morning. I’ve got better things to do.”

        Marlin picked up his fork and resumed his meal, but he had no more than stabbed his first piece of waffle, when the tan hands appeared again, breaking bread over a tin plate. Gone was the chinaware he had been eating from, and gone was the flatware he had been using. The tabletop was no longer light yellow Formica with red binkies, but rough, unfinished wood. As he watched the hands tear away a piece of the obviously homemade bread, he noticed again the khaki sleeves, this time rolled up to mid-forearm. The vision lingered, and as one of the tan hands brought a piece of bread to his lips, he could actually taste its somewhat salty flavor.

        He shook his head violently, trying to break the images before him, and succeeded, only to look up at the face of his very worried wife, staring straight at him from across the table.

        “Are you all right?” she asked, as she came into focus. “Marlin?”

        “Yeah, yeah I’m back–okay, I think.”

        “You were just sitting there, staring at your plate, and you wouldn’t answer me.”

        “For how long?”

        “Jeez, for about five minutes, I guess. You scared me.”

        “Not as much as it’s scaring me. What’s wrong with me? I saw those hands again, and I wasn’t here…”

        Marlin stopped.

        “You weren’t here?” Anne asked.

        “No, not here. I was at someone else’s table, eating bread from a tin plate.”

        “You saw that?”

        “Yes, it was like I was actually there, wherever there is.”

        “Well, I sure couldn’t get through to you. Maybe you should go see Doctor Frazier, just for a checkup maybe. Maybe it’s some sort of virus, or something–something going around maybe.”

        “Yeah, maybe.”

Professional Reviews

Suspenseful, Well-Told
C. H. Foertmeyer's stories are always a pleasing surprise. Each of his twelve novels has a suspenseful plot with intriguing twists, real-life characters -- common folk struggling against overwhelming odds -- and an underlying message of hope. I probably say this in each review of Foertmeyer's latest book, but I mean it with all sincerity: Badr just may be his best book yet.

Marlin Goldburg is a quiet, sensible man who enjoys the solitary peace of working in his gardens. As the book begins, Marlin fears he may be losing touch with reality. Odd visions come and go unpredictably while working in the garden, during breakfast, even while driving on the interstate that cuts through Cincinnati. Without warning, Marlin is transported to another time and place. He sees tan hands and a forearm marked with a distinctive tattoo. The hands are digging in sand, burying bombs. Marlin and his wife Anne research the tattoo because they feel it is key to his visions. The tattoo is a red Star of David pierced by a black scimitar. The mystery of his visions dies with Marlin in an accident on the interstate on May 13, 1986.

Badr is born in Iraq on May 13, 1986. As soon as he is old enough to think for himself, Badr hates Americans and American Jews in particular. As a young man he funnels that powerful hate into surreptitious acts of violence against the American soldiers occupying his land. He avoids joining jihadist groups and works alone, earning the name Lone Wolf. Neither the soldiers nor his people know Lone Wolf's true identity. Badr masquerades as a friend to the Americans, earning their trust. His goal is to move to America, become a citizen, and sacrifice himself in one horrendous act. From childhood, Badr has been haunted by frightening visions of pale-skinned hands digging in rich dirt, planting flower bulbs.

Marlin's God and Badr's Allah work in mysterious ways. Badr does reach American soil with his hate and plans intact, but is Allah on his side? Does Allah honor a young man with murderous hate in his heart? That's where several delicious, suspenseful plot twists come in. You'll have to read the book to learn the answer. If you enjoy a suspenseful story, well told, Badr is highly recommended.

Review by Laurel Johnson

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Reader Reviews for "Badr"

Reviewed by Reginald Johnson 8/28/2007
I had fun reading Badr! It is a well crafted story; the main characters were defined, shaped, and developed to the point I felt I was there ... living in the moment ... waiting for the next surprise.

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