Friday, September 19, 2014

Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista

In Extraordinary Rendition, Byron Carlos Johnson volunteers to defend a man, Ali Hussein, who's suspected to be the banker for Al Qaeda. Almost immediately, Johnson's life is under scrutiny and in danger from both the government and terrorist operatives. To get through this case, Johnson must use his all of his skills to outwit those who have surrounded him, in a world where no one is who they say they are.

When this book first arrived, I found the description intriguing. I don't think I've read a book before that focused on the American legal system at a federal level. Having said that, I wasn't at all sure I was going to enjoy it. I thought it might be beyond my understanding because I don't follow American politics or the war on terror that much and figured that most of it was going to be inaccessible to someone like me. However, that wasn't the case at all! I really enjoyed it. It was immediately engaging and interesting enough that I really didn't want to put it down. It really is a great book!

I think the author could have explained the title a bit better. According to, the term extraordinary rendition is defined as "the process by which a country seizes a person assumed to be involved in terrorist activity and then transports him or her for interrogation to a country where due process of law is unlikely to be respected". Essentially, detaining then sending a prisoner suspected of terrorism to a country where he can be treated inhumanely in exchange for information. Since I was unfamiliar with the term, I was left wondering what it really meant. If the term was spelled out in the book, I don't think it was done as clearly as this.

While the author included some details of Ali Hussein's treatment, he didn't go overboard with the gory or horrific bits. I think that would have made it too hard to read. That isn't to say he minimized them or trivialized them. What happened to this man at the hands of a supposedly respectable first world country is inconceivable. Generally, the book left me appalled by what a government can do all in the name of fighting terrorism. It's sad, really. But this is fiction, right?

The ending surprised me at first. However, upon further reflection it couldn't have ended any other way. Overall, it's top notch story telling!

Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book or to purchase it directly from the publisher, please visit the Astor + Blue Editions website. Other retailers: Amazon, B&N.

I'd like to thank Nicole at Astor + Blue Editions for this review copy.

Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista, Astor + Blue Editions, ©2012. ISBN 9781938231261(Trade paperback), 314p.

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