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Torn between two cultures—allegiance to two families—a child in the middle

Nicole Nelson and Ahmed Masud are a dynamic, highly successful Philadelphia couple. They are partners in a thriving plastic surgery practice, are very much in love, and they adore their young son, Alex. But cracks are beginning to appear in their fairy-tale life: lingering post-9/11 prejudice against Arab men, accumulating malpractice lawsuits for Ahmed, and most recently, pressure from Ahmed’s wealthy family in Cairo for him to return to Egypt—permanently—with his son.

The Masud family pressure becomes a demand as the Hosni Mubarak regime is seriously threatened by protestors in Egypt. Ahmed’s family owes their control of the Egyptian cotton empire directly to Mubarak cronyism. If Mubarak goes down, the Masuds will surely lose their wealth, maybe even their lives. They need Ahmed back in Egypt to implement their plan to move their fortune and family out of Egypt and into South America.

Ahmed must make a decision—stay with Nicole in America or obey his father. And what about their son?

Tragic consequences, which Ahmed could have never foreseen, propel both the Masud family and the Nelson family on a path toward unspeakable tragedy.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Gussin discussed her latest novel, COME HOME, with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I have always been fascinated with families, with how they come together and draw apart, especially multicultural families. COME HOME stresses that dynamic when a seemingly happy couple responds to life’s stresses differently and families put impossible demands on their children. I hope that readers will come away with a better appreciation of multicultural issues and the core value of family.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

COME HOME is, at its core, a thriller, but the combination and interweaving of elements provide a unique approach. Family dynamics, the blending and disruption of cultures, the historical setting of Arab Spring, international politics, a setting on three continents, and the kidnapping of a small child, all play a role leading to a catastrophic climax.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

Abduction of a child—even and sometimes especially—by a parent is the most horrific terror a parent can endure. Suddenly, a child—in this case a five-year-old little boy—is missing, gone. In COME HOME, the mother has no insight as to the child’s well-being, safety, even survival. As a mother, I found this to be an emotionally profound experience; the intensity really surprised me.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

My protagonist has a twin sister who, with her husband, plays a major role in the primary kidnapping plot. As she does, a secondary plot emerges, related to her job as a pharmaceutical scientist as A drug’s side effect presents a parallel crisis that contributes to the intrigue.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

The bisection of romance-saga writer Barbara Taylor Bradford and adventure-saga writer Wilbur Smith have inspired me greatly. Both about families; both about conflict, albeit quite different – domestic or on the African Savannah. I read every thriller writer I can, but at the top of my list is Ken Follett for his Eye of the Needle and then for Pillars of the Earth and The Century Trilogy.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Gussin is a physician who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, practiced in Philadelphia, and now lives on Longboat Key, Florida, with her husband Robert Gussin. She is the author of seven novels including Shadow of Death, Thriller Award nominee for Best First Novel, and After the Fall, winner of the Florida Book Award.

To learn more about Patricia, please visit her website.