Collateral Murder

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? More

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About David Bernans

Dr. David Bernans spent most of his youth in Ontario but is now a Québec-based writer and translator. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from York University (1998) and a graduate diploma in Translation from Concordia University (2007).

David’s only nonfiction book, Con U Inc.: Privatization, Marketization and Globalization at Concordia University (and Beyond), was published by the Concordia Student Union in 2001. While he continues to write nonfiction articles and blog posts as well as political satire, most of David’s work these days is of the fictional variety.

David’s first novel, North of 9/11 (Cumulus Press, 2006), made international headlines (with a little help from Concordia University whose security team spied on the author and whose “risk assessment committee” banned a reading planned for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks).

The fictional plot of North of 9/11 is set in the corridors of Concordia’s urban campus in the burning autumn of 2001. Rebellious pierced and tattered punks and proud uncompromising youth of the Arab Diaspora naively brave the flames of chauvinism unleashed by the exploding planes of 9/11. Because they so forcefully reject the calls for vengeance on Afghanistan, the anti-war activists become targets of an intelligence agency keeping a watchful eye on “subversive” student organizations. Paranoia and incompetence are rife in Concordia’s bureaucracy and the RCMP. Plans for non-violent anti-war direct action are mistaken for the activities of a terrorist sleeper cell. Intelligence failures result in tragic consequences.

The real-world actions of Concordia’s risk assessment committee targeting the author of the fictional story on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 seemed designed to prove the political moral of North of 9/11 and gave the work much more publicity than any promotional campaign could have done. The story made the front page of the Montreal Gazette; it was picked up by news services and student newspapers across Canada and even internationally. (See

With Collateral Murder (Kindle edition, 2012), David continues to raise questions about the US-led war on terror and the role it has played in perpetuating the violence it is supposedly combating. As a mystery novel, Collateral Murder is not as overtly political as the historical novel, North of 9/11. However, the murder mystery genre allows the unlikely sleuth, the Filipina domestic Marifel Landas, to ask important questions about crime and punishment in the post-9/11 moral universe.

Although most of Collateral Murder is set in Montréal, its author no longer lives in the metropolis. David now lives part time on a small farm in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (where he writes) and part time in Québec City (where he works as a translator). Follow him on twitter @dbernans.

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