Marifel Landas knows that Samir Haddad is no terrorist, but how can she prove it when the charges he’s faced with and the evidence against him are secret under a so-called “security certificate” issued by the Canadian government?
Tactictec President Ted Whitmer died under suspicious circumstances. Montréal police have been pulled from the investigation by federal authorities who have arrested the Arab computer consultant as a suspected Hezbollah sympathizer.
To say that Marifel is new to the international spy game is an understatement. She is the Whitmer family’s nanny and maid. But because she is ordered by Mr. Whitmer’s widow to clean the embarrassing mess of alcohol and drug paraphernalia in the midst of which Mr. Whitmer’s half-naked dead body was found, the Filipina immigrant is the only person to see crucial murder scene clues.
The victim, Ted Whitmer, is the head of Tactictec, a multinational security firm with mercenaries operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The prime suspect is Samir Haddad, an Arab businessman, husband and father of six. Marifel ends up working to help Samir’s wife clear his name. In the process she uncovers a conspiracy involving the CIA, private security firms, corrupt Afghan officials, drug smuggling, arms dealing, black prisons and torture.
As an immigrant working in a menial job, Marifel lacks the resources of police investigators. But being a domestic employee in the mansion of a security firm executive gives her opportunities to eavesdrop and allows her to enlist the help of Tess Whitmer, the teenage daughter of the deceased who also happens to be a computer whiz.
Tess ends up learning more than she would like about her father’s dubious activities. Marifel does her best to prove that Samir Haddad is not a terrorist, but in the process she discovers that he is not the paragon of Muslim virtue he pretends to be. Like everyone else in Collateral Murder, the computer consultant has a skeleton or two hiding in his closet.
Finding the murderer is one thing, but bringing him to justice and getting Haddad out of jail is another. In the war on terror, the only murderers are the terrorists. Those killed by “the good guys” must be either terrorists, or “collateral damage.” There is no such thing as collateral murder.
To right the wrong done to Samir Haddad, Marifel must improvise; threatening the corrupt authorities with the thing they fear most – exposure. WikiLeaks becomes the vehicle for the Filipina immigrant’s approximation of justice, but as both Bradley Manning and Julian Assange know, exposing international corruption is a risky business.