By Deb Silverthorn
Dallas’ own Frederick “Fred” Nathan, a lifelong educator, has put pen to paper once again, releasing his second novel, “Diversions.” Nathan’s first book, “Explosions,” was released in 2013.
“I spent my career teaching, and I still do some of that, but it was time for me to do something I never had time to,” said Nathan, who still studies history and politics.
“Diversions,” with a strong pro-Israel stance, follows a terrorist cell, deeply embedded in American society, that carries out a massive attack. This cell kills and maims hundreds, almost claiming the president as one of its victims. The horrific attack, which followed previous failed attempts by this same group, emboldens its leader to plan a larger, multifaceted attack directed at the heart of America’s leadership.
The expanding web of terror ensnares a brilliant high school senior, a quiet loner with a strong sense of justice, and a lone terrorist seeking revenge on his former colleagues. The Anti-Terrorist Task Force is charged with uncovering the plot and destroying the terrorist cell. In an effort to divert the task force from uncovering his real objectives, the cell leader plans additional, smaller, but nonetheless devastating attacks.
“Explosions,” meanwhile, tells the story of an Islamist cell deeply embedded in the U.S., led by a sociopath and lead operative who is extraordinarily successful in carrying out his missions. A master of explosives and disguise, he most believably passes himself off as a beautiful young woman as he prepares for the plot to realize on July 4.
“I was head of school at the Beren Academy in Houston on 9/11 and the police came in and said we needed to be on lock-down, that we were vulnerable,” Nathan said. “It brought home how real the possibility of terrorism was, how it had touched so close. Since then we’ve seen and heard of other terrorist plots, and we can only imagine those that have failed. Still, in telling my stories, there are Muslim characters who are heroic, because in life and in my fiction, I don’t want to place labels.”
A Dallas resident since 2002, Nathan grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Yetta and Abraham Nathan, of blessed memory, and the brother of Harvey and Wallace. He has been married to his beloved Esther for 55 years; she is the former director of Dallas’ then Department of Jewish Education (now the Center for Jewish Education). The couple’s family includes children Alysa (Eric) Segal, Tamar (David) Halberstam and Aaron; and grandchildren Avrumi and Sholom Tzvi Halberstam and Becca, Brian, Dan and Joshua Segal.
Nathan served as head of school at the Ann and Nate Levine Academy for six years, and was honored with a Doctor of Pedagogy by the Jewish Theological Seminary, a Life Achievement Award by the Board of Jewish Education in San Francisco and a Merit Award for Exemplary Leadership by the University of Judaism in Los Angeles for his accomplishments in Jewish education.
Taking a job teaching while he was in school redirected his mother’s dream for him to become an attorney; he believed that education was something he was meant to do. A product of Jewish day schools, NYU and Yeshiva University’s graduate schools, Nathan has, from the time he was 23 years old, had education at the core of his resume.
Nathan still teaches at Kehillat Chaverim, and is involved in, and a regular Torah reader at, Congregation Anshai Torah, where he is a member. While he works on the future pages of stories still to be told, he hopes for his books to be optioned for film or television. From friends and strangers alike, the reviews for his books are good.
“Fred is an incredible writer and these first two read like he’s written 30. I hope he’ll do more,” said Gary Solomon, a longtime friend and discerning reader, who had a first read while Nathan was still making edits to the first book. “He weaves a great story together in a really nice manner and held my interest. The books are a fast read and I found I could not put them down.”
General reviews on Amazon also provide five of five stars. Readers call the book an easy read, a gripping, well-crafted and action-packed novel in which Nathan describes characters in detail, uniquely weaving characters’ paths together. Reviews credit both of Nathan’s books as being well written and full of suspense, with logical thinking, believability, and the mirroring of the possible intrigue in life today.
“I’ve always written to escape, opening chapters but I never had enough time to complete them,” Nathan said. “Now, I wanted to finish a dream.”
Fred Nathan’s books are available on Amazon.