February proves to be a bang-up month for mysteries and thrillers, as evidenced by several sizzling new releases. First up is Prayers for the Assassin, in which veteran favorite Robert Ferrigno hypothesizes a future America transformed into an Islamic republic after a civil war. The Bible Belt has seceded and formed a separate Christian nation. The war was predicated by an event that came to be known as The Zionist Betrayal, a simultaneous sneak nuclear attack on Washington, New York and Mecca that was blamed (perhaps erroneously) on Israel. Now, a couple of decades later, historian Sarah Dougan has stumbled upon evidence that not only seems to exonerate Israel in the bombings, but also suggests the implication of a fanatical billionaire Muslim extremist, who intends to re-unify the country (after a fashion) by obliterating the Christian South. As you might imagine, there are several powerful forces dedicated to seeing that this sensitive information never sees the light of day, and Dougan quickly finds herself on the run, hunted by a raging psychopathic killer known simply as Darwin (think survival of the fittest ). Prayers for the Assassin brings to mind Fatherland, in which author Robert Harris conjectured a world 25 years after the Germans won WWII; both are chilling, cleverly rendered and endlessly thought-provoking.

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