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Asim Zahid, the unassuming 19-year-old protagonist of Zebrun's refreshing 9/11 novel (after Someone You Know), is gay, runs a theater in Lackawanna, N.Y., and has a brother who has disappeared to Afghanistan to prepare for jihad. The book begins the week before 9/11 with Asim receiving an ominous delivery: a package from his brother, Tarik, containing the skull of a Jewish boy. As Tarik's motivations become clear, Asim finds something like comfort in a friendship with his dead father's ex-lover, Sonia. Both Asim and Sonia are steeped in isolation and depend on films to find context for their lives, comparing people to actors and real-life events to famous film scenes. Lackawanna, meanwhile, gets some big city problems-a priest is stabbed, a small business owner is murdered and a homemade bomb makes an appearance. Though some developments are a bit outlandish, Zebrun moves the story along easily and never predictably as the fateful event draws near and life-changing decisions are made. With his memorable cast and nicely underplayed big themes, Zebrun delivers a new and worthy perspective on the 9/11 experience. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.