Happy Release Day to author Phetra Novak, whose thriller Silent Terrorism is out today. I wasn’t supposed to even sneak a peek until I took it with me on holiday, but of course I couldn’t do that! So I read the first chapter and… then I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s not an easy book, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s well in line with the tough choices, tricky subject matter, and grim realism I come to expect when I pick up a Skandinavian thriller. Reading Phetra’s post below, I’ll also know that this book will challenge me and my views and I welcome that. Just as there’s space for feel-good stories, there’s room in my life for stories that make me reassess what I think I know and change my perceptions.
I’ll be back with a review when I’ve finished Silent Terrorism. For now, I’d like to congratulate Phetra Novak on her latest release and urge you to keep reading. Because Phetra’s conviction will tell you much better than I can why she needed to write Silent Terrorism.
Human rights activist
That was my dad’s odd little “nickname” for me. He always used to say that whatever I did in some way had a human’s right perspective. I might like the thing I bought or what I did but if there was a way for me buying it, or doing a thing, and it can benefit a greater cause I rather do that way; even if it meant paying more or it is taking longer to do it. That is just who I am. I hate injustices, I honestly don’t understand hatred towards other people just because they don’t look like me, act like me, talk like me, love like me and so on I don’t get it. I don’t want to get it. People are people, I might not like everything everyone else does but I sure as hell don’t hate them or want to kill them because they are different. So, all my life being a fighter for human rights has always been a part of who I am. One of the quotes I always lived by is: I may disapprove of what you say but I’ll defend to death your right to say it.~ E.B. Hall (not said by Voltair as many people believe).
That is how Silent Terrorism came to be. It is my way of describing the modern evil of the world call it ignorance, hate, religion whatever you like, it all comes down to the same thing focusing on destroying what you don’t agree on because you think you have the right in doing so. Silent Terrorism is extreme, it’s meant to be, to prove a point, make you think and open your eyes to your own prejudices (and we all have them – those who say they don’t are those who most likely have the most). Silent Terrorism is my “American Beauty” (the movie from 1999 with Kevin Spacy) that was extreme in its way and filled with symbolism to prove the points the director wanted to make using both extreme acting portraying the world and the color red and roses to do so.
Many will most likely see me as disloyal by the way I portray Swedish politicians. I’m not. I’m actually being very loyal to my country and my fellow countrymen defying what so many of us feel. I don’t hate Swedish politicians. I just think they are cowards and yes Sayers because they don’t have the back bone to stand up for anything worth standing up for in the fear of being called a racist or having to actually defend the right thing to do even if it means going against the norm. They don’t do what is best, they do what is most comfortable for them and they are afraid to take a stand. The same thing goes for portraying Middle Eastern people as bigoted and narrowminded, they all aren’t at all but that part of the world no matter how we look at it isn’t very diverse friendly. Saying it is just to avoid getting in trouble or being called racist won’t solve the problems they have and we as a world have, it will only make us look dumb and unwilling to deal with what is real. I don’t think all Middle Eastern people are hateful or in agreement with what goes on in their own home countries just as much as I don’t agree with what goes on in mine, but I do believe they (just like we do) have societal issues that we need to work on because it is harmful to other human beings and no matter what you beliefs are, that is NOT ok!
I don’t care who you are, what religion, God you believe in or what no God you believe in, no one has the right to say that another human being is less than anyone else because they are different. You may not agree with their differences, well to bad, you’re a grown-up deal with it! Don’t see them, hang out with them or have anything to do with them but don’t push your own judgements on them because you don’t like it. “Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that‘s not where equality comes from. Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they are.” Matt Bomer
Silent Terrorism is a story, sort of LGBT, sort of political, sort of suspense, based on facts, somewhat based on real life people and events, but it is fiction. Even though it is fiction, even though things are extreme, we the people of this world need to stop what we are doing and stop destroying our own race. We are letting hate dictate our way of living, we spend more time hating and banishing others for not being like “me” instead of trying to see if there’s anything we can learn from someone else’s point of view, or at least try to understand why they are acting like they are or just accepting we don’t all have to be the same to coexist. When it comes to being LGBTQ, or being a woman, there are still many countries, too many countries, who have it listed as a crime to be LGBTQ, or do certain things that is every person’s right to do because you are a woman, who have no or very few human rights laws or rather follow those that the rest of the world has agreed to follow. To not being able to live free of persecution for who you love, or if you are raped you are seen as the perpetrator, or because you are a woman you are less because you are not a man. The list of inhuman lists of hate and illegal “crimes” just goes on and on. The only ones who can fight these injustices and say enough are we, we the people of the world. Don’t leave it to someone else to do it because if everyone thinks someone else have to deal with no one will do a thing!
Personally, I don’t fear countries like Saudi Arabia, who are open with their philosophies and way of living, who never claim they want to be a western world, but I fear those countries like mine, Sweden or even worse, the United States of America; who claim repeatedly to be civilized nations. These so-called civilized nations are wolves in sheep’s clothing, because civilized nations do not rule their countries with religious laws, civilized nations do not hide behind mommy’s skirt because they are too much of a coward to do the right thing, civilized nations do not punish, criminalize or take away basic human rights such as the right to marry, get medical treatment because of other people’s religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identification or the color of their skin. Civilized nations believe in equality for all of mankind!
Finally, I want to leave you with the words of the UN Secretary General:
“To those who use religious or cultural arguments to deprive LGBT people of their human rights, I ask: What do you gain by making others less equal? Is your religion or culture so weak that you need to deprive others of their fundamental human rights?” UN Secretary General – 21st sept 2016
Length: 209 pages
Genre: political thriller / LGBTQ+ / suspense
Buy at: amazon
Early morning, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Swedish correspondent cameraman Ebbe Skoog is out getting shots for an upcoming story and stumbles upon something he isn’t supposed to see. On a building site, on the outskirts of the city, four men looking a lot like the Mabahith—the secret police—are sending a bound man to a certain death by stoning.
With the camera still rolling, Ebbe begins to retreat when a second man enters the scene and throws himself on top of the dying man, shielding him with his body, soothing with loving words. Ebbe’s reaction is immediate. Clutching his camera, he drags the screaming lover out of the rain of stones and in a storm of sand, they flee into the brutal uncertainty of the desert.
Correspondent reporter Mattis Andersson is the wild card, the rebel. He’s also Ebbe’s only hope of getting out alive with his new companion, Aasim El-Batal, and the memory card holding the footage that will make Saudi Arabia burn in the eyes of human rights activists the world over.
With their past as lovers, and their present as colleagues and best friends who would take a bullet for each other, it now falls on Mattis to protect his and Ebbe’s future. But the Swedish government wants to silence them, unwilling to jeopardize years of lucrative weapons deals for “some petty gay love affair.” It’s an impossible mission that will draw on every strength the two men possess.
Excerpt from Silent Terrorism by Phetra Novak
A loud scream rent the air, startling him enough that he jerked and let go of his camera. Experience and a couple of bad drops had taught him to always have it around his neck, and now he was happy that he did as the camera bounced hard against his chest and came to a rest on his gut.
What on earth was that? Not a wild animal, which he had hoped for, but a human voice. Or perhaps he’d imagined it.
Looking toward the building the scream had come from, he still wasn’t sure of what he’d heard and was about to move on, in spite of the fact that every part of his reporter’s brain was telling him something was wrong. But fear was rolling over him like a tidal wave. Another scream tore through the building, echoing off the half-built walls, and this time, he knew what he heard was not imagined.
“What the hell?” He didn’t dare move. He didn’t know if he could. The screams were horrific, yet there was nothing else. No call for help, no thud of someone falling from the building, no other sound at all.
“Get out, Ebbe,” he told himself. “Get help, don’t go in there.”
But he knew before he uttered the last words that he would go in there. It was who he was; he needed to know who had screamed and why.
With a quick glance around—there was nothing apart from his car way back in the distance—he moved forward. Whoever was in the building wouldn’t have seen or heard him, and he was grateful for that. There was something not right, though he couldn’t put his finger on what. He just knew. Through years of doing what he was doing, in places that didn’t always operate according to Western norms, he had learned to trust his gut.
His heart was beating wildly as he walked the few steps toward the building, ready to duck and hide at the first sign of trouble. Nearing the first opening, he stopped and flattened himself against the wall, straining to hear. He could make out muffled voices and even quieter muffled screams.
He knew without looking what it meant. Someone in there was being tied up and gagged.
Leave, go back to the car, call Mattis. He’ll have the authorities and the international press on it in a matter of minutes.
But even if Mattis and he worked quickly, whoever was in there would be long gone, and there would be no evidence there had been any sort of foul play. Somewhere deep inside of him, Ebbe still hoped he was wrong, that he’d look around that corner and find some sort of consensual ritual going on.
Closing his eyes, he shook his head. Damn it to hell! You’refooling yourself. Look at where you are. Making sure his camera was secure in his hand and ready to go, he opened his eyes and took one last look at his car while trying to talk some sense into the logical part of his brain. It didn’t work.
Pushing everything else out of his mind, he peeked around the corner, slowly letting out the breath he’d been holding when he saw there was no one there. He needed to go deeper inside, and edged around the building, ducking into a dark alcove, where he got his camera ready to film.
There were no muffled screams now, only the sound of soft chanting murmurs from the other side of the cement wall. If he could get to the opening at the end of the wall, that should give him a view of the men he imagined he would see.
Mattis is going to kick my ass for this…for putting myself in danger, and for not letting him in on the action.
Hunched down, he moved as silently as he could to the opening in the wall, the voices becoming clearer the closer he came. Dropping one knee to the floor to stabilize himself, he tried to make his large body as small as possible before peeking around the corner with his rolling camera.
Four men standing in a circle…
A man slumped on his knees on the hard floor, head hanging, hands bound to his back…
At a closer look, Ebbe saw there was something stuffed in the man’s mouth. It made his stomach churn, and what he really wanted to do was to throw up. Covering his mouth with his hand, he pressed his forehead against the cool, rough wall, trying to get his nausea under control. What the hell had he just walked in on?
The anger was sudden and instant, the burst of adrenaline giving him the courage and stamina needed to not only stay put but get his mind moving. If he didn’t do something, the man was going to die. They—who looked an awful a lot like the Mabahith, the brutal Saudi Arabian Secret Police—had gagged him to quiet his screams and make their job easier. Blood streamed down the man’s face, and it looked as if his shoulder might be dislocated.
With the camera still shooting the scene before him, Ebbe pushed up on his feet and moved closer to the opening. He
couldn’t leave a man to a certain death or let these bastards get away with what they were doing. If all else failed, he needed to get their shitty faces on film so he could show the world what went on behind closed doors.
Lifting his camera once more, he focused in on the group of men so all of them were in the shot and there would be no question of identification. The four men, who momentarily had been still, were now moving in a creepy,
synchronized way and raised their arms as they started up with what they must have been doing before to cause the man to scream in such agony.
Armed with stones big as fists, they launched them at the man on the ground who yelled and rolled into a ball as the rocks rained down on his broken body. A huge chunk of skin and flesh flew off as one hit his head. Ebbe bit his tongue to stop his own scream escaping. He bit so hard he could taste blood.
When a particularly big rock hit the kneeling man’s cheek, his head jerked to the side, giving a perfect view of the man’s face.
Ebbe gasped out loud and his heart stopped for a second or maybe even two.
“Kadar,” he whispered. It was the same young man he had talked to at the football game only a few hours ago—the young man he’d given his card to. The young man who wanted out so he could see the pretty blond people. It didn’t make sense. Ebbe shot up from his hiding place, ready to charge right over there, but was stopped when another man came tearing into the building, shouting out Kadar’s name.
“Kadar! I am here, my love,” he yelled in Arabic.
About Phetra Novak
Phetra often refers to herself as the odd man out, the dorky book nerd. She’d rather spend time with a good book or making up fantastic stories with even more fantastic characters, than live in the real world, dealing with real people.
The real world is strange, in a very non-humorous way, and people in it complicate it to the point of wearing you out. In the written-word world, whether it’s someone else’s words or her own, things might get busy, complicated, and even downright painful, but somewhere along the line, a hero’s always on the horizon. He’s probably not a prim and proper, church-going pretty-boy, since the author prefers rebellious men and women who don’t follow the protocols of society.
One of her favorite sayings is that “Only dead fish follow the stream,” and, well, she ain’t no dead fish.
Phetra lives with her family—two children, a domestic partner, and their two cats—in Gothenburg, Sweden. When reading her books, you’ll notice she always finds a way to bring her own culture into her stories.
The joy of reading and writing comes from her childhood and is something she has always loved and been passionate to share with others. Phetra loves hearing from her readers, even with ideas of what they’d like to come next.
If you are looking for her, the best place to start looking is at home in the quietest corner of the house, where she’ll be curled up with either her Kindle, reading, or her laptop, typing away.
You can contact Phetra on: http://www.phetranovak.com
More from Phetra Novak
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Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon