Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

Dangerous Past

Title: Dangerous Past
Author: A. F. Ebbers
Genre: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Reviewer: Stephen Phillips

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0978948238

This is a contemporary story of Airline Captain Frank Braden, a former Vietnam pilot, who is being stalked by unknown assassins who must arrange his death to look like a suicide or an accident before a specific deadline. And Braden has no clue as to why people would want to kill him.

Soon after the assassins arrive in Austin, Texas, the airliner Braden is flying undergoes a terrifying and deadly decompression explosion. Braden is suspended from his flying job and is suspected of being unstable since the FBI is led to believe he caused the airliner explosion in a suicide attempt.

Little by little Braden and his wife are pulled deeper and deeper into a dangerous web of intrigue that will eventually rock the highest levels of Washington.

Several attempts are made on his life and even his wife and children are threatened with death. And when Braden turns to the local police for help, they do not believe his stories since they think he is schizophrenic and suicidal, exactly what his assailants want the authorities to believe.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Ebbers, A. F.

Internal Conflicts

Title: Internal Conflicts
Author: Flint Whitlock
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1934980692

The novel follows the life of Peter Luton, a young, idealistic Army officer in the mid-1960s caught up by the events of the Vietnam War and desperately seeking a path to manhood. Stationed in West Germany where he is enjoying the hedonistic good life, he is fearful of being sent to Vietnam. At last the inevitable happens and he finds himself in the war zone. He comes to the conclusion that manhood can only be won on the battlefield--a realization that leads to a shattering climax on a South Vietnamese highway.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Whitlock, Flint

Crack Between the Worlds

Title: Crack Between the Worlds
Author: Carmen Stenholm
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Reviewer: Bob Flounoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0980006473

There is an interesting story to tell about all of us and our families. Crack Between the Worlds is such a story. It has universal appeal because, through this family, we have a mirror that reflects our own ancestors --- and the courage, unyielding tenacity, and occasional bouts of luck that
must have occurred in a somewhat similar fashion, to bring each of us into the world. The power of this story comes from an unflinching look at the character's lives. In it, heroism is balanced with selfishness and petty concerns; perseverance is sometimes rewarded and sometimes dreadfully crushed. It's a story of horrific tragedies and unquestioning resolution to keep living despite the cost. It's a story of big mistakes and small kindnesses, of roads taken at great cost and roads untaken, perhaps at greater cost. It's the story best summed up by the words of Johanna, the family matriarch, who, on the day the Nazi soldiers ravaged her town said to her granddaughter in response to the child's desire to simply give up, "You have to care, Ella. That's what this is all about, you know---to care even when it hurts, to have the strength and courage, my little one, to care even when your mind and body want nothing more than to run away."

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Stenholm, Carmen

Letter, The

Title: The Letter
Author: Jerry Yellin
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Reviewer: Kathleen Rodgers

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1590957342

A powerful fundamental End Time Christian Senator, anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic, discovers that his birth parents were Catholic and Jewish through a letter written by his dying Catholic mother to the Jewish father who knew nothing about having fathered a son.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Yellin, Jerry

Digger Dogface Brownjob Grunt

Title: Digger Dogface Brownjob Grunt
Author: Gary Prisk
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0615253431

Digger Dogface... is the winner of "Best New Fiction"and "Fiction & Literature: Literary Fiction" in The National Best Books 2009 Awards. (May 2010) Digger is a winner in ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year Awards 2009. (May 2010) Digger is the Winner for "The Best Fiction Book 2010" in the International Book Awards. Gary Prisk brings to the art and craft of fiction the sensibility and the facility of a poet, rendering his narrative with a depth and texture that is unique and rare. Raw, gritty and saturated with black humor, "Digger..." is tender in a way most will struggle to understand. *****APEX REVIEWS 5-star. Over the past four decades, countless books have been written about the Vietnam War, often highlighting the experiences of soldiers who fought -and -died in it. Very few works, though, offer the unique perspective of the soldier on the ground, in the heat of battle, detailing the conflicting thoughts and emotions that often consumed them from day to day - and moment to moment.-----Throughout the pages of "Digger Dogface...", though, Gary Prisk provides the reader with just such insight. Based on his own experiences in Vietnam, "Digger..." takes the reader on a vicarious journey through the heart, mind, and soul of a soldier struggling to come to grips with the unfamiliarity of his surroundings, as well as the uncertainty surrounding his future. Deep, raw, and real, Prisk's riveting narrative will serve as an eye-opening introduction to the gritty truths of war and conflict for readers heretofore influenced by pop culture's more glamorous depiction of its true nature. Furthermore, the not-so-subtle commentary that Prisk proffers on the Vietnam War - and such conflicts in general - ultimately proves to be quite difficult to rebut. Equally tinged with humor and gravitas, "Digger Dogface..." is an intellegent, insightful take on a pivotal time in world history that will never be forgotten. A highly recommended, enlightening read.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Prisk, Gary

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