Guardian Book Review – The Kurdish Connection
Michigan author Randall Krzak’s recently released novel titled The Kurdish Connection is a fast-paced Middle East tale filled with intriguing characters and a plot brimming with such vivid imagery the reader will become engrossed in an adventure on the other side of the world. The Kurdish Connection centers on the story of Iraqi Kurdish scavengers, who in their daily struggle for survival, uncover a cache of chemical weapons.
According to Krzak’s website, www.randallkrzak.com, these Iraqi Kurdish scavengers “offer the weapons to Kurdish rebels in Turkey and Syria to assist in their quest to free an imprisoned leader and create a unified homeland. After receiving a tip form an unlikely source, the newly formed Special Operations Bedlam team is called to arms. Cant he team recover the weapons before it’s too late?”
The Kurdish Connection is Krzak’s debut thriller and will be part of a four-book series. Krzak is a U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, spending almost 30 years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East; Krzak’s knowledge of the Middle East has offered him a firsthand glimpse into a war-torn region making him an expert at creating authentic characters and bringing this area of the world to life. When an international team is sent on an impossible mission, readers will find themselves rooting for the Special Operations Bedlam team to successfully locate and secure numerous sarin gas canisters before these chemical weapons fall into the wrong hands. Concurrently, readers will also be silently urging some of the Iraqi Kurdish scavengers to make the right decision.
Krzak’s military knowledge has aided him in crafting a believable and powerful story. Secret meetings and a desire for revenge contribut to the intrigue as the Kurds struggle to have their own homeland. Krzak takes his readers on a journey that will leave them wondering if this tale really did happen—or could something similar occur in today’s world?
For ordering information, to schedule an interview with the author, and to learn more about The Kurdish Connection and additional upcoming books, please email author Randall Krzak at email@example.com, or visit his website at www.randallkrzak.com.
© Copyright 2017 The Lakeshore Guardian, May 2017, Volume 19, Issue 3, Page 3.
International writer Randall Krzak addresses one of the world’s saddest ongoing tragedies in The Kurdish Connection, a thriller about the plight of the Kurdish people and a desperate plan to free them from their fate.
In a world awash with refugees, perhaps no greater tragedy exists than the ongoing fate of the Kurds of the Middle East, roughly 30 million sect members spread between Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Connected by language, religion, and history, this group has no country to call their own. The Kurds have been the subject of several attempts by international agreements to help them create a haven, the most recent in northern Iraq’s no-fly zone. Meanwhile, all four host countries have ruthlessly suppressed Kurdish hopes and dreams politically and especially militarily.
Among the most vicious suppression efforts were those of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who used deadly sarin nerve gas against them, most notably in the village of Halabja, in which up to 5,000 Kurds perished and another 10,000 were wounded.
The Kurdish Connection takes us deep inside that struggle.
Two young Iraqi Kurds, Dersim and Ismet, scavengers by trade and refugees from Halabja with searing memories from their youth of Saddam’s gas attack, accidentally stumble on a large cache of sarin gas canisters leftover by Saddam’s army. The pair are stunned by the possibilities of what can be done with it. They, in turn, make their finding known to a group of Kurdish mullahs who find themselves torn by the possibilities of how the weapons can be used.
Eventually, they agree that the sarin gas might help them free a powerful mullah named Muhammed Baziyan, imprisoned for many years under tight security by the Turks. The Kurds believe that this one man could be the leader to pull them together and unite them as a single voice.
Meanwhile, half a world away, a new international counterterrorism group called Bedlam assembles in Washington D.C. to explore a rumor from on-the-ground intelligence that an Iraqi sarin gas cache exists. Its goal becomes a frantic effort to locate the canisters, disable or destroy them, and stop them from falling into the wrong hands.
With few intelligence assets on the ground, Bedlam assigns their operatives to travel to Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Using various identities such as amateur archeologists, members of MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders), and cultural tourists, they use their limited information plus sophisticated chemical detectors to try and locate the deadly cache.
At the same time, the mullahs make plans to use the gas to disrupt Turkish military forces and other pressure tactics, including kidnapping foreigners to show the world some of the brutal tactics used by military forces against Kurds. In the most recently reported event, they want to show the world how Syrian troops viciously put down a peaceful Kurdish demonstration over bakery prices, which the Syrian government claimed was an attack instigated by the Kurds.
The mullahs’ overall plan is to instigate several near-simultaneous attacks in Turkey to draw out Turkish military forces and disguise their main effort, to free the mullah Baziyan from his well-guarded Turkish prison. Using sarin gas to kill Turkish troops seems like a good plan, but no one wishes to harm civilians. Not everyone agrees with the deployment of sarin gas.
The action is set against the exotic, fairytale-like landscape of Capadoccia, Turkey, with its soaring natural towers, and Gobekli Tepi, an archeological dig of an ancient temple built 6,000 years before Stonehenge. Equipped with sophisticated chemical detectors, built James Bond-like into their gear, the Bedlam teams ready themselves for their mission. A further refinement of Bedlam’s plans is to substitute phony sarin containers for their more dangerous counterparts.
Randall Krzak delivers an exciting cat-and-mouse game between the Bedlam team, suspicious Kurds, and equally suspicious Turkish government spies.
The Kurdish Connection soars in the detailed accounts of towns and villages, the people there, and even the weaponry and vehicles used. Readers will find themselves in the middle of the action as the Kurds successfully bomb a Turkish oil field, terrorize a soccer stadium, and stage a murderous assault on the prison where the mullah is kept. Krzak takes us into the dank caves and sewers where the Bedlam teams go to locate and sabotage the horrific sarin canisters from being used by anyone.
Above all, The Kurdish Connection offers readers a compassionate look at one of the world’s most intractable social conflicts, wrapped in the pages of a thriller that will keep readers glued to its pages until the final sentence. The Kurdish Connection is the first book in Krzak’s Bedlam series. Please read our reviews of the following books by clicking on their titles: Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore.
Carnage in Singapore, the third volume in Randall Krzak’s Bedlam counterterrorism thriller series, takes the team to the Far East for action against Muslim terrorists with a ripped-from-the-headlines plot to destroy Western influence by any means.
The terrorists’ idea unfolds as simple, even ingenious. Terrify residents and non-Muslims in major cities such as Jakarta and Singapore with a series of spectacular bombings designed to kill as many people as possible. Follow up with kidnapping ambassadors from Great Britain, Australia, and the United States – with such ruthlessness that Western-leaning nations will cease repression of Muslims, curtail training police and soldiers who hunt Muslim terrorists, and end support for anti-terrorism activities around the world.
The plot grows into actionable items among different Indonesian terrorist groups working together – if somewhat uneasily – with a common goal.
Their scheme calls for launching near-simultaneous multiple attacks against unsuspecting citizens, destroying the illusion of safety in daily life. By making the attacks in this way, they cripple the police and other civic services. The first strike uses rockets launched from a small obscure offshore island. The rockets explode in a crowded grandstand watching a Formula One Grand Prix auto race in Singapore. Other sites bombed or strafed include an amusement park, a traffic-laden bridge, and a Chinese cathedral.
All schemes execute without a hitch. All hit their targets with devastating accuracy. Hundreds are either lost or become hostages. Next comes the kidnapping of the ambassadors.
Some Indonesian groups come under suspicion. The ruthless Detachment 88 interrogates the suspects, but their brutality yields dead suspects instead of interrogated suspects.
Into the melee comes Bedlam Charlie, an international team of anti-terrorist experts trained in all phases of investigation and apprehension. Their mission? Simple – to stop the bombings and free various prisoners in the attacks. They must deal with a mélange of bad investigations and spies within the police ranks who thwart their moves and even place team members in mortal danger.
The political motives behind the governments involved in deploying Bedlam Charlie don’t lack complexity. Will the Indonesian police accept their help? Will the governments behind Bedlam Charlie allow the team to get involved and risk the political outfall if they fail?
The terrorists come well-armed and tactically highly skilled, able to break through even the most sophisticated protection schemes to kidnap their high-profile targets.
Naming real sites as the intended targets of the terrorist attacks helps to separate this book from several others of this genre.
If a novel about terrorism in New York City named the Marriott Hotel on Times Square, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, and Yankee Stadium as successful targets, the gut-level effect here would be similar. The fictional terrorists’ logic matches actual attacks on cities and nations around the world including our own.
The novel also explores the aspirations and the politics within the terrorists’ ranks. Various factions and individuals find themselves looking for their own moment of glory as they both complete their missions and compete for attention.
Thriller fans will devour Krzak’s modern us-against-them take on storytelling. Of course, what makes Carnage in Singapore such a strong novel is its plausibility. It’s terrifying and terrific at the same time – and definitely holds its own among modern thriller authors of today. Randall Krzak took home 1st Place for Carnage in Singapore in the 2019 CIBAs Global Thrillers Book Awards.