Mercenaries of Panama (Shada) by Lee Dorsey

mercenaries_of_panama_shada_cover_art__47976.1421773771.1280.1280Shada Amiri is a young Iranian woman with a troubled past and insatiable desires. When Shada was a girl, her parents were abducted by the government and she was sent to live with her aunt. It was around this time that Shada met Agrajeeta, a member of Al Qaeda whose passion for the cause convinced Shada to become a terrorist herself. After completing medical school, Shada resumes her involvement with Al Qaeda – but is soon apprehended by a group of formal Navy SEALs known as “the Company.” Shada is given a simple choice: either join the Company and continue to do what she does best – mainly, killing – or resign herself to a quick and senseless execution. Opting to live, Shada is assigned work with the Company, her missions taking her to all points of the globe. But Shada soon learns that leaving the Company is not as easy as joining it. When a series of revelations leads Shada to reconsider her new employers, she decides to plan her escape. Staying alive is going to take everything she has – and more.

Mercenaries of Panama is a fast-paced, cinematic thriller with a colorful cast of characters, but even amidst such company, Shada herself shines most brightly of all. With a skillful hand, Dorsey paints Shada with layers of layers of appeal: there is her seductiveness, of course, as well as an edge of danger; her idealistic nature, which others seek to contort to fit their political agendas; and there is her very understandable need for human compassion and connection. Though the narrative is sometimes heavy-handed – chiefly, in the number of gratuitous sex scenes featuring Shada and an ever-changing buffet of lovers – Shada’s story will undoubtedly connect with readers on a visceral level, and in her struggle for freedom, one can find room both for entertainment and contemplation.

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