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 Available as Audio Book

Ahmed's List

Published March 12, 2019

Book Final cover.jpg

Ahmed Hamed, after achieving his secondary school certificate in war-torn Sana'a, Yemen, is recruited as an Al-Qaeda terrorist. He is sent to the United States to attend the small College of Lake County (in Illinois, located thirty miles north of Chicago) to join an existing terrorist group planning a deadly attack on the nearby Great Lakes navy base.


Ahmed, in need of an attorney to assist him in obtaining a government permit for off-campus employment, finds Benson & Benson, a two-person, pro bono, law firm, newly hatched by senior citizens, Sarah and Bruce Benson. Bruce had recently retired from his successful Chicago litigation firm; and his wife (and now partner), Sarah, had years before left her Chicago large-firm practice to pursue a full-time career (now likewise retired) in motherhood. Their office, opened as a pay-back for their success, is located in Highland Park, Illinois, a middle to high-class, north-shore Chicago suburb (in which they also reside), fairly near Ahmed's college.


The day following a scheduled office appointment with Ahmed, the Bensons leave for Costa Rica to vacation with close Israeli friends, Ari Stern, an active senior officer in the Mossad (Israeli intelligence), and his wife Leah. During a phone call from Sarah to Gilda, their house/dog sitter, Gilda, mentions that client Ahmed had come to the Benson home looking for an "unimportant" hand written list that apparently had fallen from his file during his last appointment.


Ahmed is secretly panicking, for he had been given the list by his cell leader with strict instructions to immediately memorize the twenty-four Muslim names and phone numbers on it and to destroy it. To carelessly allow it to fall into enemy hands would mean the premature, ignoble, and violent end of his young life. Gilda, to his apparent good fortune, soon finds the list and returns it to him. To his bad fortune, however, unbeknownst to him, she photocopies it for the office file.


Thus begins the quest by the Bensons and the Sterns, guided by Ari's Mossad expertise, to determine whether suspicion of Ahmad's terrorist affiliation, first aroused by reason of the infamous list, are sound. If well-founded, they would pursue the terrorists' plans, and attempt to devise a counter plan to safely stop them. Their quest is complicated by a growing fondness for Ahmed, along with Fida, his new-found love, whose name is one of the twenty-four on the list.


Ahmed's List is the story of Islamic terrorism, of the tragedy of ancient and current Yemen, of the beauty and contradictions of Islam, and of love and friendship and the ultimate magic that can be derived therefrom. The background, atmosphere, and locations are real; the story is plausible and compelling. Humor, humanity, and history are woven into and among its characters—to be enjoyed by all.

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