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by Lloyd Johnson
She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nearly killed in Seattle during a jihadist bombing, Ashley recognizes the synagogue bomber and is later stalked by a hired Muslim hit man in Israel. There she visits the home of Najid, the Christian Palestinian scholar she had left behind at the University of Washington. She falls in love with him, putting her at odds with her Zionist pro-Israeli convictions.
On the run, Ashley sees the beautiful rock churches and shrines. But the living stones, the people of the Holy Land intrigue her. She meets Jews and Palestinians, Rabbis for and against Israeli settlement expansion. Gentle Palestinians like Najid’s family, and those in the West Bank suffering under military occupation. Both Muslims and Christians living peacefully together.
Najid and Ashley find the bomber in Seattle despite the FBI dragnet put out to arrest him. Living Stones is the story of an American woman coming to terms with the truth of the Middle East, and the lies she had been fed. Will she survive the forces that threaten to tear her apart?
Distributor: Ingram Publisher Services
Pub Date : 09/01/2013
Price : $16.95 USD / $17.95 CAD
EAN: 978 1 938467 57 8
Trim : 6×9
Format : Trade Paper
Pages : 270
BISAC Code Category:
FIC002000 Fiction/Action & Adventure
KEY SELLING POINTS
• The author lived in Bethlehem recently as well as two Middle East visits in past years.
• The book illustrates Palestinian/Israeli issues many in the U.S. have never considered.
• The Arab Spring and the turmoil in the Middle East makes Living Stones timely.
• The phrase “Living Stones” is understood by many Christians as it is both biblical and applied by many organizations to the people of the Holy Land vs. the “dead stones” of ancient buildings and shrines.
• Palestinian and Jewish Americans
• Readers interested in the Middle East
With special interest in the current Middle East, retired surgeon Dr. Lloyd Johnson turned to fiction writing, putting out two books, with a sequel in the works. He is a member of Seattle writing group, and blogs regularly on Israel/Palestine subjects. Johnson is a Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in the Department of Surgery. He is Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and past president of the Seattle Surgical Society. He authored 26 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals/texts. He has worked and traveled extensively overseas, including Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and served for six years as volunteer executive director and board member of a humanitarian NGO in Central Asia. The author lives in Edmonds, Washington.
Ashley Wells crumpled on the sidewalk as the synogage behind her collapsed in a cascade of debris and dust spraying in a thousand directions. The shock wave leveled everything in its path, including Ashley and her fellow graduate student, Najid Haddad, who had been standing on the sidewalk chatting on a sunny Friday afternoon. Ashley had noticed a young Caucasian man across the street in a hoodie staring at them, but she didn’t think much of it. Other pedestrians had slowed to admire the magnificent stone Jewish house of prayer.
After their eyes briefly met, the man in the hoodie wheeled around and walked away. Ashley turned back to Najid. Suddenly a roar overwhelmed her and in the same second she was slammed to the ground. Next came agonizing pain, then blackness.
Najid stood unharmed except for minor lacerations on his arms. Ashley’s body had protected him. He turned her onto her back. “Ashley, can you hear me? Ashley! Ashley!” Blood pooled on the sidewalk. She moaned. He felt a rapid pulse at her wrist. He waved his arms. “Help! Help!” His voice just another in chorus of screams as people scurried to the crowd gathered in the street. Then everything blurred as sirens screeched and police and Medic-I ambulances appeared. Najid stepped aside, shaking his head, wide–eyed. He trembled. “Oh God, help Ashley! Make her live!”
Emergency personnel swarmed around her, quickly pouring in IV fluids. They moved her onto a stretcher and into a Medic-I van, which then sped away with siren blaring and red lights flashing. Police, guns drawn, with helmets and flak jackets, rushed into the debris of the synagogue searching for other victims.
Najid gazed at the bloody sidewalk, shaking his head. His mind whirled and echoed with the explosion, unable to focus. It seemed unreal. He had fled violence in the Middle East for a peaceful education in Seattle. In a daze, he began walking slowly past large maple trees and older homes with wooden porches. Tears welled in his eyes. The prayer kept coming, “Oh God, please help Ashley. Don’t let her die.”
Still dazed, he heard staccato footsteps behind him and someone yelling. Suddenly a policeman yanked Najid from behind, clamped handcuffs on his wrists, and pushed him into a car with blue lights blazing. Najid shuddered. This happens in America too?