I ripped through Robert Ferrigno's novel, Prayers for the Assassin on my recent trip. It was a fast-paced, intriguing, and fun read. Before starting the book, I was a little doubtful that I would be able to adequately suspend my disbelief to enjoy it. The idea of an "Islamic States of America" in 2040 seemed just a little too far fetched, even for a work in the futurist/thriller genre.
But only ten pages in, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my nagging voice of skeptical disbelief had receded into the background. Sure, there were times when it reappeared for short bursts. After all, this is not exactly the most sophisticated look at a possible future. There is no doubt that Ferrigno did a great deal of research on Islamic culture, mores, and laws. But you get the impression that he's often going for the obvious reference and sometimes tries too hard to squeeze them in at ever possible opportunity.
Subtlety, thy name is not Ferrigno. But then neither it is Crichton and I rather enjoy his writing, despite his need to hammer you over the head, again and again, with whatever message he happens to be delivering. In fact, I can say with some confidence that if you enjoy Crichton, you'll very likely enjoy "Prayers of the Assassin." While not all may consider that high praise, in my eyes it's a solid recommendation for this type of work.