Waiting for Paradise by Dan Drost
Sean MacNamee has just been given the opportunity to be what he's always dreamed of being: a true hero. A self-decribed "lowly prison guard" whose real love is boozin', women, and Bruce Springsteen songs, MacNamee is stunned to learn that he has been chosen by the warden to interview an imprisoned Palestinian terrorist, Ali Hassam, in hopes of gathering insights that could be useful in the war against terrorism. Following the murder of two Israelis and four Jewish-Americans in Jerusalem, Hassam has been in the U.S. prison for 25 years and has not spoken a word to anyone in that time. But after 9/11, the United States is leaving no stone unturned in the search for ways to decipher the minds of radical Muslims. Still, the guard can't believe that he--with a lifetime of underachievement behind him--was given this assignment. Was MacNamee being set up by the warden? How can he explain his association with the country's most infamous Islamic terrorist to his Jewish friends? And, anyway, why would Hassam open up to him? Incredibly, MacNamee is able to get Hassam to tell him the story of Deir Yassin and the village's role in the current Middle East conflict. But his Jewish friends have a different story to tell, while the government may have a separate agenda. Sean's confusion ultimately yields to a fateful decision, one that could either make him a hero--or get him killed.