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A heart-stopping thriller set at the intersection of religion, neuropsychology and international politics

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What if there was a “God Machine”?

What if the top neurologists in America figured out a way to fire a magnetic pulse at an exact part of the brain that would trigger a religious epiphany—or something exactly like it—anytime, in anyone?

Who would want control over this power and what would they do with it?

How far would they go to get it?

The answers are by turns shocking and awe-inspiring, and they are revealed with a suspense master’s touch in THE JERICHO DECEPTION by Jeffrey Small (West Hills, 9781933512440, on sale May 2, 2013, $15.95). Small’s debut novel The Breath of God proved his deep knowledge of the world’s religions and his deft skill crafting a breathless, page-turning narrative with vivid, three-dimensional characters. It was hailed as “a thought-provoking masterpiece” by RT Book Reviews, “visionary fiction” by Library Journal, and “a fast-paced adventure” by Kirkus Reviews.

But it was just a warm-up for THE JERICHO DECEPTION.

At Yale University, Dr. Ethan Lightman and his mentor Dr. Elijah Schiff are working long hours and late nights ironing out the final kinks in the Logos machine. After five years, they know they are close to an incredible breakthrough that will—at the very least—change the fields of neuroscience and psychology forever.

Their bureaucratic department head, who is not privy to the astonishing connections between the Logos and humanity’s relationship with God, is losing patience with the project, as it seems to be dragging out indefinitely, and he threatens to shut them down.

Meanwhile, in an opulent Dubai shopping mall, orthopedic surgeon Mousa bin Ibrahim Al-Mohammad and his six year-old daughter narrowly avoid death in a terrorist bombing. Many others are not so lucky. The shaken doctor books a flight home to Jordan, but he is suddenly arrested in the airport by armed men, separated from his daughter, blindfolded, and thrown into a squalid prison. As he is brutally tortured for a crime he did not commit, he prays to Allah for a merciful death.

He is not aware yet that he is no mere political prisoner. And he is certainly not aware of who his captors are allied with and the plans they have in store for him

Back in the US, CIA Deputy Director Casey Richards wants answers. He’s sunk millions of taxpayer dollars into a PSYOPS campaign called Project Jericho but is not getting enough concrete results from Dr. Allen Wolfe—the mysterious and brilliant psychologist with a plan to reprogram Islamic terrorists into American military assets. Richards and Wolfe believe Project Jericho’s success will permanently end all conflict in the Middle East. But they can’t do it on their own. Wolfe needs access to Ethan’s and Elijah’s Logos machine. And he’s willing to get it at any price.

When Ethan finds his mentor, Elijah, murdered in their Yale lab and the Logos machine is seized as evidence, Ethan is thrust headfirst into a web of deceit and treachery that will push his core beliefs about religion, science, and patriotism to the breaking point. An attractive graduate student named Rachel Riley is drawn into the adventure too by her insatiable curiosity about the Logos and what it could mean for the human brain… not to mention by her growing (and reciprocated) attraction to her professor.

Ethan and Rachel are kidnapped by Wolfe’s agents and brought to a secret CIA facility masked as a monastery in the remote Egyptian desert, where they find Mousa who has been transferred and nursed back to health for a sinister purpose. During his recovery he has been exposed to experiences that have given him glimpses of a spiritual infinity few have ever seen . As he struggles to understand what has happened to him, and Ethan and Rachel plot their escape, they combine their talents to peel away the layers of deception that hide the truth behind Project Jericho and the Logos machine.

After a daring escape from the monastery while being pursued by a rogue military assassin whose love of stalking prey supersedes his obedience to his orders, the story culminates at Luxor, one of the world’s most ancient and holy sites. Alliances are tested, blood is spilled, and Ethan finds a power inside himself beyond anything that could be created by a machine in a lab .

Jeffrey Small is no mere dilettante, holding an undergraduate degree from Yale, a graduate degree from Harvard (summa cum laude and magna cum laude, respectively), and a Masters in the Study of Religions from Oxford University. Only an author of such deep learning and sensitivity could weave these diverse plot and character threads into THE JERICHO DECEPTION—a coherent tapestry of intense suspense, profound spiritual reflection and authentic scholarship that is certain to electrify readers and occupy best-seller lists in Spring 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Jeffrey Small is the author of the best-selling thriller, The Breath of God, which won the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Best Fiction and was hailed as "a thought-provoking masterpiece" by RT Book Reviews, "visionary fiction" by Library Journal, and "a fast-paced adventure" by Kirkus Reviews. He is also a popular blogger on Huffington Post, and an acclaimed speaker on religious and spirituality topics.

Jeffrey graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School where he was elected to the Board of Student Advisors and taught speech, legal writing, and research. Jeffrey next earned a Masters in the Study of Religions from Oxford University in England where he was a member of Oriel College.

Jeffrey is active in the Episcopal Church, currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at General Theological Seminary in New York, but he has also studied Yoga in India, practiced Buddhist meditation in Bhutan, explored the ancient temples in Egypt, and journeyed throughout the Holy Land.

When not pursing his passion for theological discourse, Jeffrey is the CEO and founder of MDH Partners, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate investment and development company that has participated in over $2 billion of acquisitions and developments.

Jeffrey’s eclectic hobbies include being a former US Champion amateur ballroom dancer with his wife, Alison. He also held the rank of Black Sash in Kung Fu, specializing in the Internal Arts.

Suggested interview questions for Jeffrey Small

  • How did you conceive of the Logos machine that is central to THE JERICHO DECEPTION? How far away do you think we are from something like this becoming real?
  • One of the central heroic characters in the book, Mousa, is a Muslim. Why did you take the unusual step for an American thriller of portraying Islam in a favorable light?
  • Who are the authors who inspire you, both in terms of style and content?
  • As an active Episcopalian, what is the key to remaining objective as you write about other religions and the people who practice them?
  • Do you see Dr. Ethan Lightman returning in future novels?
  • THE JERICHO DECEPTION delves into the overlap of science and religious experience. In the world today in which science and religion seem to be at such odds, do you see these realms growing closer together or further apart?