The plot is basically itself quite straightforward: a teacher is catapulted to fame when a school bus bombing gives him an opportunity to shine through with courage: he saves one person from the bus. It doesn't last, however, as he is soon the key suspect in the bombing. As the real terrorists plan a new assault, the teacher's life falls apart, and the sister to the man who planted the bomb starts to realize what is going on, the tension jacks up, notch by notch.
Joe Mantegna has a good voice for this tale, moving from the voices of a Moslem teen to a Brookyn teacher with ease, and without sounding overmuch like a bad stereotype. His pacing is excellent.
It's a strong enough story to entertain, and it did make me think a little about the nature of courage and sacrifice.
We know from the very beginning that the real bomber is limo driver Nasser, an ex-student of Fitzgerald's, who is a 24-year old of Palestinian birth previously imprisoned by the Israelis. This experience leaves him hating Israel and, of course, the pro-Zionist American society and everything for which it stands. Now, in America, Nasser has fallen in with a couple of moth-eaten, sad-to-be-alive Arab terrorists that manage to give even that profession a bad name. Thus, the plot inspired very little suspense in this reader, only a mild curiosity as to how the author would redress the balance in order to achieve the de rigueur happy ending.
David is a likable enough character, especially as he's also embroiled in a child custody battle with an ex-wife who, in the technical jargon of psychiatry, is "just plain nuts". As a bombing suspect, he also faces loss of his job and imprisonment. Definitely the makings of a bad hair day. Nonetheless, neither my sympathy for Fitzgerald, nor my esteem for teachers in general, compels me to award this novel anything more than a marginal "thumbs up".