On Hurricane Island (Paperback)
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As a major hurricane threatens the northeast, math professor Gandalf Cohen is abducted by federal agents and flown to a secret interrogation center off the coast of Maine. Austin Coombs, a young local resident, is a newly hired civilian guard assigned to the detention center. Henry Ames, a man of personal secrets, is the FBI special agent in charge of Gandalf’s case and doubts the professor’s terrorist involvement; Tobias, his second-in-command, disagrees, preferring violent interrogation. As the hurricane slams the shore, conflict detonates and each character must choose a side if they’re to survive the storm.
Told over the five days approaching the anniversary of 9/11, by varying voices on both extremes of the political divide, On Hurricane Island is both a fast-paced political thriller and a literary examination of the sociopolitical storm facing our society. How far should government go in the name of protecting our national security? What happens when governmental powers of surveillance and extra-legal interrogation are expanded? How free are we?
About the Author
Ellen Meeropol’s characters live on the fault lines of political turmoil and human connection. She is the author of one previous novel, House Arrest (Red Hen Press, 2011). A literary late bloomer, she began seriously writing fiction in her fifties. Her short fiction and essays have been published in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, The Rumpus, Portland Magazine, Beyond the Margins, The Drum, and The Writer’s Chronicle. A former pediatric nurse practitioner and part-time bookseller, Ellen holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. She lives in Western Massachusetts.
“On Hurricane Island is unflinchingly political, unashamedly suspenseful, and, above all, deeply human. Here is a writer who knows how to ramp up the tension while never sacrificing the spirit of her conviction, the sense of grounding in the natural world, or the heartbreaking complexity of her characters.”
—Naomi Benaron, Bellwether Prize winner for Running the Rift
“On Hurricane Island is a chilling, Kafkaesque story about what happens when the United States does to citizens at home what it has done to others abroad. Meeropol puts the reader right into the middle of these practices through characters about whom you really care and a story you can’t put down; a really good book.”
—Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights
“On Hurricane Island takes us into the world of an imprisoned math professor who is clueless as to why she’s being interrogated. We enter the reality of federal agents facing terrifying expectations, and of a rookie civilian employee horrified by secret tasks thrust on her. Ellen Meeropol’s masterful novel rings of truth—a petrifying truth that had me whipping pages, covering my eyes, and questioning how much I really know about the growing cost of the War on Terror.”
—Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Comfort of Lies
“In On Hurricane Island, Ellen Meeropol takes on the complexities and dangers of contemporary life in a novel that starts fast and ratchets up the tension all the way to the end. She brings to her writing a sharp, observant eye, great skill in characterization, and, best of all, a talent for taut, suspenseful narrative in the style of Graham Greene.”
—W. D. Wetherell, author of A Century of November
“Ellen Meeropol can be counted on to write with intelligence and heart. In On Hurricane Island, she also manages to give us characters who we care deeply about, perfect pitch dialogue and a gripping story about civilian detention centers designed for the likes of you and me. Thoughtful and compelling.”
—Jacqueline Sheehan, author of Picture This