“Silent Terrorism: Saudi Arabia” by Phetra H. Novak— A Political Thriller

Novak, Phetra H. “Silent Terrorism: Saudi Arabia”, Beaten Track Publishing, 2018. A Political Thriller Amos Lassen In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia we meet Swedish correspondent and cameraman Ebbe Skoog who is out nearly in the morning getting shots for an upcoming story when he comes upon something he isn’t supposed to see. On a building site, on the outskirts of the city, four men who look like the secret police are stoning a man to death. Ebbe  retreats but continues filming when another man comes onto the scene and throws himself on top of the dying man, shielding him with his body and tries to soothe him. Ebbe’s reaction is immediate and he grabs  his camera and drags the man and they head for the desert.

Correspondent reporter Mattis Andersson is a rebel and Ebbe’s only hope of getting out alive with his new companion, Aasim El-Batal, and the footage that will hurt Saudi Arabia in the eyes of human rights activists the world over. Andersson and Ebbe had once been lovers and now Andersson must protect his and Ebbe’s future. However,  the Swedish government wants to silence them and is not willing to jeopardize years of lucrative weapons deals for a gay love affair. Some of the descriptions of violence are hard to read.
The story moves very quickly and so do the characters.

This is a political thriller about the plight of the LGBT community in Saudi Arabia. It is a raw and in-your-face story of human rights violations. Ebbe Skoog learns that the man was stoned because he was gay. His partner Aasim El-Batal who appears on the scene is rescued by Ebbe who has managed to secretly film the event and the pair barely escape with their lives. Their only hope is a dash across the desert to the border. Ebbe manages to warn his assignment partner and on-off lover, journalist Mattis Andersson who escapes the country and on arriving home puts out a call for help and tries to put pressure on the Swedish government to get them involved in their rescue.
While this story is set in Saudi Arabia, it and involves the Swedish government. It is important to remember that repression of basic human rights occurs in many countries within the western world and not just the Middle East.

This is not a love story. The two main characters are best friends but they are work partners. It is a very emotional story. There is murder, violence and torture.

Leave a Reply