In The River Panj, Derek Braun, an ex-Notre Dame football star, was getting ready to play in the NFL, but then he screwed up. On Sept. 11, 2001, he’s working in emergency relief in Afghanistan when America is attacked. And his fiancée and elderly colleague are kidnapped along the border with ex-Soviet Tajikistan, which is struggling out of its own civil war. With no one to help, he goes in search, and on this dangerous journey, he faces Islamic terrorists, heroin smugglers, corrupt Russian soldiers, Iranian spies, and incompetent CIA agents.
Meanwhile, terrorists begin using bodies of released hostages to transport cesium-137 powder to the United States. Osama bin Laden stated he wants to acquire the powder from an old Soviet nuclear plant still operating in Tajikistan, but is al-Qaeda involved in this plot? Or another terrorist group?
Derek Braun finds out. But how can he save his loved ones and stop the world’s first suicide dirty bomb before it’s too late?
“(Raterman) knows his stuff, because he’s walked the dusty roads of Central Asia and he’s looked al-Qaeda mujahadeen in the eyes and lived to tell about it. Raterman is the real deal. Just read the first few pages of THE RIVER PANJ and you’ll discover an exciting new writer.”
- David Hagberg, best-selling thriller novelist
“David Raterman has published what may be the first thriller set in Afghanistan on 9-11 with ‘The River Panj.’ Raterman’s debut uses the world events of Sept. 11, 2001, to show a personal tale of Derek Braun, a former Notre Dame football star who has found a calling doing relief work in Afghanistan. As terrorists shock the world, Derek is on his own when his fiancée and a colleague are kidnapped.”
- Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun Sentinel
“The profession of relief worker is difficult and demands an enormous commitment, but gets hardly noticed except at the moment of great crises. I like this book for the way it is written but also because it sheds light on this incredibly important job.”
- Peter Goossens, deputy country director of the UN World Food Programme in Afghanistan from 1999 to Sept. 13, 2001
“The humanitarian effort that goes with major combat operations isn’t always clean and precise. Terrorists look for every opportunity to exploit those trying to help. David Raterman’s novel has vividly captured the true essence of that.”
- US Army Lt. Col. Blain Reeves, who served in combat operations with the 101st Airborne