An End to the Means is the debut novel by author JC Leland.
When Kira Farooq applies to the Central Intelligence Agency on a whim, she has no idea her decision will turn her into a pawn for the intelligence organization and for the father she has never known, each with a separate but similar agenda.
Shortly before Kira’s graduation from Hunter College, her mother is killed in a tragic accident. Her part-time job as a bicycle messenger in New York City becomes her sole means of support and Kira is forced to put her dreams of pursuing a diplomatic career aside. Several months later, determined to get her life back on track, Kira attends a government job fair. The State Department representative dismisses her, temporarily dashing her dream of becoming the next Condoleezza Rice. However, a CIA recruiter steps in and convinces Kira to submit her résumé and apply to the Agency. Her Pakistani heritage, fluency in Arabic and Urdu, political science degree, and street smarts all make Kira an ideal candidate for CIA operative training. The Agency invites her to its three-day screening in Washington, DC, which consists of an intensive interview, polygraph, language-skill testing, and a comprehensive medical profile.
She excels in each area and seems to be the perfect recruit–until a sample of her DNA turns out to be a 99.99% match to a profile on the International DNA Database. It is not a match to her own DNA but a paternal match to a man named Mohammed Khan. Interest immediately turns to suspicion; Kira claimed in her interview that she grew up never knowing her father. There is another glitch- she is not a US citizen.
When Paul Santini, learns about Kira’s situation, he is interested in the young woman. The Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center has heard of Mohammed Khan before. During his previous tour as the Chief of Station in Kabul, Afghanistan, Khan’s name frequently surfaced in intelligence reports as the behind-the-scenes financier of Mullah Amil Jehani and his Pakistani terrorist network, Nabiji ki Aulad. Now, through further research, Santini not only confirms this Mohammed Khan is one and the same man, he discovers Khan changed his name to Michael Nasiri and is the CEO of a successful London-based, import-export company. Santini seizes this opportunity to use Kira as a means to trap his elusive prey.
Kira’s lack of citizenship prevents her from being selected for case officer training so Santini uses his influence to secure a research position for her at a firm that does contract work for the CIA in Washington, DC in order to buy time and figure out his next steps.
Before leaving for her new job, Kira sorts through her late mother’s belongings and finds Michael Nasiri’s name in an old address book. She decides to write to him, assuming he was an old friend of her mother’s who would want to know of her death. Across the Atlantic, Michael Nasiri at first dismisses the letter from Kira. A few weeks later, he travels to Pakistan to meet Jehani. This time the terrorist leader does not ask for money. Instead, he requests that Kahn find a wife for his 26-year-old son, whom he is grooming to take over ‘‘Nabiji ki Aulad’’. The woman must be of Pakistani descent, Muslim, and most importantly, a US or UK citizen. Nasiri immediately thinks of Kira as a potential bride and begins communicating with her on a regular basis.
Kira’s simple career move takes a different turn than what she could have envisioned. Both the Central Intelligence Agency and Michael Nasiri now have a stake in the former bike messenger who will either lead one to the terrorist leader…or for the other, become Mullah Jehani’s leading candidate for a daughter-in-law.
An End to the Means depicts the depths to which people will go to reach their ends, whether noble, self-righteous, just or fanatical. However, An End to the Means is also a tribute to one woman’s values as she searches for her own identity amidst tremendous outside influences.