The Next Target

The Next Target

4.1 17
by Nikki Arana

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When extremists target Austia Donatelli’s underground ministry to Muslims in the U.S., she risks everything to share her faith and protect innocent lives, including her own.

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When extremists target Austia Donatelli’s underground ministry to Muslims in the U.S., she risks everything to share her faith and protect innocent lives, including her own.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Award-winning novelist Arana (The Winds of Sonoma) brings her real-life ministry among Muslim women to bear in her newest. When ESL teacher Austia hires a translator, Zaki, to work among Muslim immigrants learning English, she soon suspects he is involved with a plot to kill her because of his ties to a terrorist cell. But Zaki is actually an operative for the FBI infiltrating the cell to bring it down. He’s torn between a tough assignment and a precarious cover, and any overt action to keep Austia safe will jeopardize his mission. Arana’s vivid imagery is imbued with spiritual force (“The single, avid eye of hell was focused on her every move”), and her pacing is fiercely powerful. The novel raises gripping issues of liberties, religion, and cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogue. Through the eyes of Zaki and Austia, deep religious and moral conviction is examined in real-life situations. Characters are multidimensional as they fight “or truths that were self-evident, for rights endowed by the Creator...” Above all else, Arana treats the interplay of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism compassionately and fairly. Agent: Natasha Kern. (June)
Library Journal
Austia Donatelli's husband ministered to Muslims before his death. Deciding to continue with his evangelical work, she begins teaching English to immigrant women at the local career center. When several question her about Christianity, Austia instructs them even though she knows she could put her students in a precarious position in their family and faith communities. Then, a student, Sabirah, is found shot to death, and a Muslim man named Zaki applies for a job at the center as an interpreter. Has he been sent by Muslim extremists to spy on Austia? Will she become the next target? VERDICT Arana's (The Winds of Sonoma) vivid use of dark and light imagery imbues her well-written suspense story with a spiritual force. The continual repetition of backstory to remind readers of previous events mars the novel's pacing. Still, readers who enjoyed Davis Bunn's Riders of the Pale Horse will want to try this title.

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Product Details

Cook, David C.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Next Target

By Nikki Arano

David C. Cook

Copyright © 2012 Nikki Arano
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-78140-431-0

Chapter One

Sabirah's heart pounded as she felt in the bottom of her purse for her car keys. Finally, locating the blade of the ignition key, she took them in hand. Her grip tightened. "Oh, Jesus, protect me." Then she slipped out the employee exit of the restaurant, pulling the door shut behind her.

A crescent moon provided the only light as she scanned the parking lot. She'd been careful that her family didn't know where she lived or where she'd found work. Still ...

Seeing no one, she felt her heartbeat slow. She took a deep breath and raised her eyes heavenward. There was nothing to be afraid of.

A gentle breeze kicked up, teasing her with the scent of ocean air and turning her thoughts to the church picnic planned for Saturday. Paul was meeting her there. She felt heat rise in her cheeks at the thought of the handsome young man who led the singles' group. She lowered her eyes. The idea of dating was still new to her. And ... well ... She just didn't know what to expect. Her arm dropped to her side and a smile touched her lips as she made her way to her car. She'd decided to bring baklava, the sweet Middle Eastern pastry that Americans seemed to love. She was making it from scratch so it would be fresh. Pastor John had said she could use the church kitchen since—The hairs on the back of her neck rose as an almost-tangible malevolent energy manifested in the air around her.

A shadow fell across her shoulder.


At the sound of her uncle's voice she whirled to face him. Her eyes darted to his hands. Empty.

"Don't be afraid. Your mother has sent me with a special message." As his words hung in the air she tried to process them.

"Your baby brother is sick."

"Uncle?" She studied his face. The man who had favored her with bangles for her wrists, the one who had tenderly taught her the daily prayers to Allah. She had been his favorite of all the nieces ... until she told her family of her conversion to Christianity.

"You should be at home caring for your brothers and sisters, Sabirah."

"How is that possible, Uncle? My father has rejected me."

His face contorted with anger and his eyes hardened with hate. "Why have you shamed us? You know these Christians are infidels." He stepped closer to her, his voice rising. "Look at yourself. Look how you're dressed. Out here exposing yourself to the eyes of men."

She touched the top of her modest scoop-neck sweater. These were the lies of the Enemy and they no longer had power over her. She stood her ground and held his gaze. "I found Jesus and true peace."

His eyes widened with rage as he slapped her. "You shame your father. Disgrace your family. You disgrace Islam."

He grabbed her wrist in one hand and with the other pulled a gun from his pocket. He jabbed the muzzle of the gun into her temple. "Who is it that corrupted you?"

The certainty of death sucked her breath from her lungs and terror ran riot through her. But she would not speak. She would not betray another.

Silence was her answer.

"Tell, and save yourself. You know I have ways of finding out." He spit on her. "And you know I will."

She lifted her chin. "I love you, Uncle. I love my parents and my whole family. But I also love Jesus."

"Then death to you." He jerked her to her knees. "I will restore your family's honor. It is my duty before Allah. Allahu akbar."

The cold metal tip of the gun pressed into her scalp and asphalt cut into her legs. "Jesus, help me. Jesus—"

The rush of a mighty wind encircled her, drawing her from her body, gathering her with dominion and power to eternity and the presence of the Father. Leaving but an empty shell in the hands of her accuser.

The sound of a gunshot echoed far below as a legion of angels fanned out before her and the heavens unfurled like a scroll.


Excerpted from The Next Target by Nikki Arano Copyright © 2012 by Nikki Arano. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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