Jilbriil and Adem, two American immigrant youths wanting to become Islamic Jihadists, are on their way to the airport so they can wend their way to Mogadishu, Somalia, for training.
It's winter in New Pheasant Run, Minnesota, and driving conditions are so bad they are swerving on the road. They are stopped by police, initiate a gunfight, and leave two cops dead in their wake. One of them is Cindy Holm, policeman Ray Bleeker's pregnant lover.
The boys' education isn't easy; Adem soon discovers his heart isn't as hard as Jibriil's. His father, Mustafa, aka Bahdoon, former leader of the Menneolus-St. Paul Somali Hardcore Killahs, knows that as well, revealing Adem's whereabouts to a distraught Ray.
The story shifts back and forth between Minnesota and Somalia, separated by half a world, figuratively and literally. Ray and Mustafa join forces in New Pheasant Run, initiating a search for Adem and Jibriil, who are fast losing their "spoiled" ways that they once enjoyed in America. What the adults see and go through – surviving and watching each other’s backs in the dark world outside of normal town life – parallels what the boys are going through in Mogadishu.
Then, a break. Ray and Mustafa come across a Dutch news video from a port city in northern Somalia. There's Adem, acting as a bilingual negotiator, having arranged a settlement between a Dutch shipping company and Somali pirates. A few days later, they're in Bosaso. Unfortunately, there's another player that messes up their effort.
But they hook up with Adem, save him from certain death, actually, only to return with him to Mogadishu, where they find true closure.
All the Young Warriors is basically a pretty good story, a condemnation of radical Islam, but Author Smith has some problems in his writing: Using "you're" for "your," forgetting an auxiliary verb ("he seen"), placing periods and commas outside the quotation marks, confusing "phase" for "faze" and "drug" for "dragged," to name just a few. It's an embarrassment and almost brought down the bookmark rating.
Anthony Neil Smith
Blasted Heath ($.99 digital edition)