Jungle in Black by Steve Maguire

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

The True Story of One Soldier's Long Journey Home from Vietnam

This is the memoir of Steve Maguire, a decorated young Airborne Ranger, infantry officer who commanded a 9th infantry Division battalion reconnaissance platoon in the Mekong Delta.  It was there in November 1969 while on am airmobile operation that an exploding Viet Cong mine blinded him for life.

He lost his sight but not his courage.

Jungle in Black is an honest first-person account that never wallows in self pity as the author reassembles his life in a country that had turned its back on the war. Set in Long An Province. Vietnam, Camp Zama. Japan, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, this powerful yet often witty human drama details one man's successful struggle against the war's desolation.


ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-49230-332-9
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 423
 

From Both Sides Now by Harry Stevenson

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

From hot, sweaty, often bloody infantry battles in Vietnam to high-altitude supersonic fighter engagements in the Middle East lasting only seconds, Steve Stevenson mixed two disparate careers into one.  Not appreciated at home, Steve and the Vietnam era troops performed every challenging task assigned.  Many of the painful Vietnam problems were corrected in Middle East conflicts twenty years later by senior leaders who fought as junior officers in Vietnam.

Known by his Air Force call sign “Grunt” in F-4s, he pushed the importance of and need for Close Air Support for the ground troops, to an extent that occasionally got him in trouble.  Steve takes you into the life of young paratroopers in combat, into the mostly untold lives and actions of US Special Forces, into the rowdy squadrons and cramped cockpits of fighter pilots.  Along the way, he preaches Jointness and inter-service cooperation, accepted by the “boots on the ground”, but often opposed by the parochialism of senior leaders in all services.  The generals often talk a good game until it comes down to their dollars. 

From the Vietnam War, Yom Kippur War, Turkish Invasion of Cyprus, Desert Storm to “black” special ops, Steve volunteered for or was at the right place at the right time.  He captures the comradeship, dedication, and patriotism of these warriors and their families, raucous parties and the heartbreak of friends lost.

Steve believed people were his greatest assets and rewarded his troops, sometimes when it may have been unauthorized.  But, higher headquarters never knew.  Ms. Joni Mitchell’s 1967 song “Both Sides Now” seems a perfect summary of Steve’s unique career.


ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-692-71989-3
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Memoir
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 396
 

Sins of the Fathers by Joseph Badal

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

The Danforth family returns in this sixth edition of the Danforth Saga. Sins of the Fathers takes the reader on a tension-filled journey from a kidnapping of Michael and Robbie Danforth in Colorado, to America’s worst terrorist-sponsored attacks, to Special Ops operations in Mexico, Greece, Turkey, and Syria. This epic tale includes political intrigue, CIA and military operations, terrorist sleeper cells, drug cartels, and action scenes that will keep you pinned to the edge of your seat.
Joseph Badal’s 12th novel is complex, stimulating, and un-put-down-able. You will love his heroes and hate his villains, and you will root for the triumph of good over evil.
 This is fiction as close to reality as you will ever find.

ISBN/ASIN: B0764KCDR8
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 399
 

Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee by Ann Marie Ackermann

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

From the depths of German and American archives comes a story one soldier never wanted told. The first volunteer killed defending Robert E. Lee’s position in battle was really a German assassin. After fleeing to the United States to escape prosecution for murder, the assassin enlisted in a German company of the Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Mexican-American War and died defending Lee’s battery at the Siege of Veracruz in 1847. Lee wrote a letter home, praising this unnamed fallen volunteer defender. Military records identify him, but none of the Americans knew about his past life of crime. This story tells American military history in an exciting true crime format.

ISBN/ASIN: 1606353047
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 204
 

Wonderful Flying Machines by Barrett Beard

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

The story of the helicopter and its creator, Igor Sikorsky, and chief promoter, a young Coast Guard lieutenant, Frank Erickson, closely parallels that of Wilber and Orville Wright and their first flying machine. A small cadre of courageous visionaries, joining with Erickson, also risked their lives and careers on a dream. Dubbed "Igor's Nightmare" the helicopter brought derision and ridicule on its few supporters. The pioneers' story demonstrates the problems encountered by the personalities involved and their eventual strengths in overcoming adversity and overwhelming opposition in developing the helicopter for naval service (Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard). Erickson, with his friend and mentor, Coast Guard Captain William Kossler, undaunted by their lack of support, fought with single-minded intensity to establish the helicopter as a vital aviation tool. Kossler died in the project's infancy leaving Erickson undefended to suffer in disgrace for nearly a decade following. However, Erickson endured and did live to see his efforts succeed when the helicopter revolutionized, among its many eventual tasks foreseen by him, the saving of millions of lives worldwide, Erickson's first dream.

ISBN/ASIN: 1-55750-086-X
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History, Biography, Reference
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 240
 

A Diary for 1849 by Barrett Beard

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

A Diary for 1849, written by Elihu Burritt Beard and edited with revealing evidence by great-great-grandson, Barrett Thomas Beard, reveals the story of the American frontier's middle road--Indiana and Ohio--in the great Manifest Destiny. These contemporary, personal observations of a 24-year-old student completing college open a small window through which the modern reader views thoughts about the state, slavery, church, health, education, and social intercourse in mid-nineteenth century America. The practice of medicine teeters between sophistry and learned inquiry. Cholera reaps a broad swath of death in the frontier civilizations. Robust evangelism blends established religious orders. Emancipation is a wound on the nation festering without cure. The loom of war creeps up on the political horizon. The young man, Elihu, sees it all, records it and reacts. Elihu, in private thoughts, condemns man's evil to man. Civil War more than a decade away is already an issue blisteringly debated. Through the teachings of Friends Church, Elihu develops a deep conviction for rights of individuals. With boldness, he embraces equal rights for all, including women and slaves. He abhors demeaning of mankind with punitive laws or liquor--both made by men. This is the attitude he took west to California with the Gold Rush, there to become an influence on a new frontier in the last great leap in America's destiny.

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN: BOOGNIJB94  ISBN: 0-7392-0178-6
Book Format(s): Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History, Memoir
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 114
 

The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault by William C McDonald III

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault is the story of a remarkable career, and a man who bore witness to some of the twentieth century’s historic events and pivotal characters. It traces Billy McDonald, Jr’s flying career beginning at  Maxwell AFB on "The Three Men on a Flying Trapeze" with Claire Chennault. Much of the book focuses on McDonald’s time in China where he worked  with Chennault to lay the foundation for the Flying Tigers, served as a combat pilot while  training the Chinese Air Force, and made hundreds of life saving flights through the Himalayas. Through McDonald’s own letters and photographs, readers will experience first-hand adventures including the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, a spy mission to pick up Chennault in Japan, a harrowing landing in the middle of the Yangtze River, and countless flights ferrying world-famous passengers and high-value cargo for the China National Aviation Corporation.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-945333-05-7       978-1-945333-02-6
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 338
 

The Devil's Horseshoe by Gary Best

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

Two young crop dusters from the San Joaquin Valley of California are recruited by the air force to fly C-47s during WW II in the China-Burma-India Theater of war. The people they meet and the relationships forged are tested daily by the stress and pressure faced by aviators who fly the twin engine, unprotected, unarmed, glider-towing cargo planes, the Skytrain.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN: 978-1-55571-886-2
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 333
Link to Book on Amazon:
http://www.hellgatepress.com
 

Mission of Honor by Jim Crigler

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

Most of us never get to test ourselves in combat. As UH-1 Helicopter pilot flying in the jungle highlands of South Vietnam, Warrant Officer Jim Crigler and the men he flew with were tested daily. Coming of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s was challenging for most young men of that era. Throw in drugs, free love, draft notices, the Vietnam War and a country deeply divided, and you have one of the most important books of this genre. This true story is a raw, bold, introspective autobiography where the author openly wrestles with his personal moral dilemma to find meaning and purpose in his life. He calls it his "Mission of Honor."
 

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-784521-08-0
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 305

The Assassins by Gayle Lynds

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MWSA Review
 

Review Missing
 

Author's Synopsis

Six master assassins, each a legend in the dark corners of international espionage, banded together to steal a fortune in the midst of a war zone. But the mission went tragically wrong, and they retreated into the shadows―until now…

Former military spy Judd Ryder is walking in his own Washington, D.C. neighborhood when he spots someone coming out the front door of his home―who looks just like him, and is wearing his clothes. Just as Ryder starts to trail him, the imposter is killed in a hit-and-run that’s no accident. Was the man the intended victim, or Ryder himself?
Ryder learns that a link to his double’s murder is an infamous Cold War assassin: Code name, the Carnivore. Two of the last people to see the Carnivore were Ryder and CIA trainee Eva Blake, and someone is using them to lure him out. Now, from D.C. all the way to Baghdad, the league of assassins will wage a final battle―even against one another―in a death match for Saddam Hussein’s long-missing billion-dollar fortune. And Judd and Eva are caught in the crossfire...

 

Edge of Valor by John Gobbell

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MWSA Review
The story begins on 9 August 1945, a date marking the end of the Japanese Empire and the end of WWII. USS Maxwell (DD 525), flagship of Destroyer Squadron 77 is part of a group of cruisers and destroyers protecting the battleship Iowa, which, after a day of shelling Hitachi, Japan, is withdrawing to the east. What is so important about the date? At 1102 hours Nagasaki, Japan was destroyed by the United States’ second atomic bomb, and Japan was forced to face defeat — but terms of surrender take time to arrange, providing ample opportunities for mischief and intrigue by our ally Joseph Stalin et. al.

As the sun sets on this fateful day, Commander Todd Ingram, the exhausted captain of the Maxwell, and Captain Jeremiah T. (Boom Boom) Landa, the squadron’s commodore, are standing n Maxwell’s bridge watching the sunset. Word of the second atomic bomb has reached the fleet, and everyone is wondering if the war is finally over. 

Joseph Stalin knew Japan has to surrender, and he makes a last minute grab for a piece of the Empire’s pie.

Maxwell’s executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Eldon (Tubby) White, enters the bridge with a message. The Soviet Union has declared war on Japan, invaded Mongolia, and plans to occupy one of the main Japanese islands.

The author weaves a complex tale encompassing the remainder of 1945, starting with events leading up to Japan’s formal surrender. A surrender opposed by elements of the Japanese military because surrendering violated the code of bushido. After the formal surrender, Ingram is sent on a top secret mission without being told its real purpose, and finds himself a pawn in a game between the NKVD and the OSS, with guidance (misguidance?) provided by the State Department. During the mission and afterwards, he encounters Soviet duplicity. In addition to naval action, the tale includes a double agent, two love stories, and lots of intrigue. 

Edge of Valor is a story built around real events and historical facts — Japanese Unit 731 for example. 

Interplay between characters is reminiscent of books authored by W.E.B. Griffin.

Edge of Valor is the fifth novel in the Todd Ingram series, which presents the author with a dilemma—how much of the story already told must be retold? In the case of Edge of Valor, the author thankfully provided a list of names and titles at the front of the book. A list I found very helpful.

This is an excellent, accurate, well-written and plotted historical novel. I highly recommend Edge of Valor.

Reviewed by: Lee Boyland (2015)


Author's Synopsis

EDGE OF VALOR is the fifth thriller by John J. Gobbell featuring the World War II exploits of Cdr. Todd Ingram, commanding officer of the destroyer USS Maxwell (DD 525) who saves his ship when it is hit by a kamikaze off Okinawa. For repairs, they pull into Kerama Rhetto, Okinawa, where they receive news of the war’s end. 

Ingram expects to be shipped home like the rest of his crew but instead receives orders to fly to Manila, where he is met by Brig. Gen. Otis Dewitt, an Army buddy from his days on Corregidor who is now intelligence aide to Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, chief of staff to General MacArthur. On Ingram’s C-54 are sixteen Japanese senior military and civilian diplomats who meet with Sutherland to discuss formal surrender arrangements. Two days later the terms are settled and Ingram is working with one of the Japanese delegates to ensure that mines laid in Tokyo Bay are neutralized, allowing for safe passage of more than two hundred Allied ships.

While Ingram is promised that he can attend the surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri (BB 63), DeWitt, in concert with the State Department, has an ulterior motive and sends Ingram to Karafuto (Sakhalin Island, according to Soviet maps) to defuse a Soviet attack on Hokkaido, the northernmost home island of Japan. Ingram’s old adversary, Edward Dezhnev, is the brigade commander responsible for laying siege to a Japanese holdout garrison in Toro, a natural jumping-off place for an attack on Hokkaido.

Also in Toro, DeWitt explains, is Walter Boring, a Red Cross representative holding two crates of overwhelming photographic evidence of Japan’s experiments on live human beings in China. Ingram is expected to return with those crates, but how can he when Boring is being protected by the Japanese garrison in Toro, where Dezhnev and his troops stand ready to overpower them at any moment?

As his shipmates prepare to return to their loved ones, Ingram’s war continues. Three weeks earlier he had been fighting the Japanese, and the Russians were supposed to be friends. Now he doesn’t know whom to trust.

 

Emmerspitz, 1938 by David Andrew Westwood

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MWSA Review

David Andrew Westwood has written another historical fiction about the impact of war on people in Emmersmitz, 1938.  It is the story of three adventurous young British girls who set out to have an adventure with old family friends in Austria. 

It is a revealing portrait of the changes on society caused by political ambition and war.  The girls find their old friends will not be friends in the future.  Along the way one young lady finds love, loses it, but saves a national Jewish treasure that she didn't even fully comprehend.

It is a good book and highly recommended to lovers of history, especially military history.

Reviewed by: Michael D. Mullins  (2015)


Author's Synopsis

Over the summer of 1938, three spoilt English girls take a trip to Austria to visit the sons of family friends. They hope to recreate the enjoyment of the boys’ visit to Britain two years earlier, but in the intervening two years things have changed, and for the worse. Austria has voted to become part of Germany, a Third Reich run by an ever-increasingly powerful Hitler. 

Even the small Austrian town of Emmerspitz is affected by the spread of Nazism, and it seems that everyone there has their secrets. Without meaning to, the girls discover the darker side of their friends’ lives, and the mountain itself hides the largest secret of all.

 

Charentin, 1918 by David Andrew Westwood

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MWSA Review

David Andrew Westwood tells a story about a young man who lies about his age to fight for his beliefs and country in World War I.

The story follows him through his youth, made complicated by his physical challenge, with all its ups and downs.

The story melds the impact of war on families, the horrors of "modern warfare" in the first major world war, and the results of the war on those fighting it.

It is emotional, intriguing and well written. I highly recommend this novel for anyone seeking a better understanding of the world's environment and the pain of battle during the period over which World War I occurred.

Reviewed by:Michael D. Mullins


Author's Synopsis

Arthur Wheatcroft, a hearing-impaired teen who works with his father on New Zealand’s railways, is content to sit out the war in the belief that he is not wanted. But his experience with trains is needed at the front, and he is recruited to train in England as an officer in the Royal Engineers.

In a town on the River Somme in France, schoolteacher and widow Anneliese Palyart is preparing to evacuate her frightened pupils to a small village away from the fighting. She has lost not only her husband to the war but also her will to live, and she holds no real hope that they will survive.

Meanwhile, General Major of German artillery Ernst Fleischer has been in the forefront of attacks across Belgium, and now it is France’s turn to face his cannon’s wrath. He intends to annihilate anything that stands in the way of his armor and his ambition.

All three are destined to meet on the latest battlefield: Charentin. But why is Arthur found wearing a German uniform and denied a British military burial?

 

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green

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MWSA Review

In Yankee in Atlanta, author Jocelyn Green has given uIn Yankee s another fascinating look at life, death, and love during the American Civil War. This third book in Green’s Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War series is a must read for those who enjoy historical fiction and romance.  The author’s heroin is indeed a Yankee trapped in Atlanta during the waning days of the Civil War. With Sherman on the steps of Atlanta, scarce food throughout the city, and suspicious eyes everywhere, Jocelyn Green has staged a setting that can’t help but grab the reader’s attention.  I found this book enjoyable, and I found myself cheering for the “good guys” as the book reached its climax.  If you want to know who those good guys are, read the book.  I recommend it!

Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2015)


Author's Synopsis

When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin's only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta.

 

Pass in Review: Country by Brian Utermahlen

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MWSA Review

A fascinating novel that reveals tenacious dedication to country in the midst of personal and political chaos during the Vietnam War. Excellent development of characters and places, written by a West Point graduate and Vietnam Combat Veteran.  The author does a splendid job of mixing the complex Vietnam War era issues together, both at war and home, to create a page turning stew.  He craftily ties in three generations of family military service to America with romances lost and found due to circumstances faced.  This third book in the author's series gives the impression you are "there" -  whether in a Senate hearing chaired by a powerful tyrant, in a violent fire-fight, or with family and loved ones during the socially conflicting 70's.  Scenes written were deeply believable ... and, as the author admits, were meant to mesh fact and fiction together.  An excellent, highly recommended read for anyone desiring a view of American history on a touching level!

Reviewed by: Hodge Wood (2015)


Author's Synopsis

Two brothers - one a helicopter pilot, the other an infantry soldier - and a gutsy, dedicated nurse bring to life the real story of Vietnam that the news media, protestors, politicians and the public never saw or understood.

COUNTRY takes you into the cockpit of the workhorse Huey helicopter to fly with Brad Nolan on combat assaults into hot Landing Zones, medical evacuations and night fire support missions.

COUNTRY puts you on combat patrol with Glenn Nolan, on an American firebase being overrun and in the middle of firefights with North Vietnamese regulars in the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia.

And COUNTRY also puts you inside the trauma-laden operating rooms of American Surgical hospitals with Jenny Kolarik and her nurses as they fight for the life of every wounded soldier.

Pass in Review - COUNTRY is the third and final book of a three generational saga about the Nolans, a twentieth century military family. This is the story of a family, a nation, an Army and the institution of West Point struggling with challenges to the concept of Duty-Honor-Country during the Vietnam era.

Throughout this series, the fictional Nolan family interacts with actual historical characters including Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Charles Lindbergh, FDR, Winston Churchill, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and many others.

Book 1 (DUTY) is about the patriarch - Dave Nolan and covers the period from just before America's entry into World War I until the late 1930s. Pass in Review - DUTY won the 2012 Military Writers Society of America Bronze Award for best Historical Fiction.

Book 2 (HONOR) continues where DUTY left off. The book chronicles the story of both Dave Nolan and his son, Mitch, who is a fighter pilot in Europe during WWII. HONOR received the 2013 Military Writers Society Silver Award for Historical Fiction.

The final book of this trilogy brings to conclusion this saga and finally reconciles many of the personal and professional issues of family and service to country begun in the very first chapter of DUTY. Yet questions still linger about the future of the family, the country and the Academy.

Read the series and enjoy the ride.

 

Secret Assault by Don Helin

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MWSA Review

All the superlative clichés  used in describing extraordinary thrillers are applicable to “Secret Assault” – action packed, exciting, spellbinding, suspenseful, infighting -- just to list a few. Well written, this military thriller kept me up well into the night because I couldn’t put it down until its end.  The characters are well defined and realistic.

Author Don Helin, an Army veteran with years of service in the Pentagon, captures the reader from the start as he describes the shooting of the National Security Adviser, a retiring four-star general, at a Washington area hotel. The general’s protégé, Army Colonel Zack Kelly chases the shooter, a Vietnamese man who is killed in traffic as he tries to escape. Kelly soon learns that several other retired generals and two retired sergeants major has been assassinated or are targeted. A common thread connecting the victims is service with the Americal Division in Vietnam about the time of the My Lai massacre.   

Although working in the nation’s capital, Kelly’s military background includes extensive special operations service, which enhances his ability to rapidly adjust to the face-paced, white knuckled events threatening Vietnam veterans.

As Army, FBI and Washington area police investigators search for the assassins, personal tragedy hits Kelly in an unrelated situation. An old nemesis kidnaps Kelly’s daughter as a ploy to make the colonel suffer a horrific fate for ruining the kidnapper’s career and putting him in prison.

“Secret Assault” is a sequel to Helin’s acclaimed “Devil’s Den” published in 2013.

Reviewed by: Joe Epley (2015)


Author's Synopsis

 The President's National Security Advisor, General Aaron Hightower, is leaving his retirement party when he is gunned down by a Vietnamese assassin. Colonel Zack Kelly gives chase, but the shooter is hit by a truck and killed. Zack and his partner, Rene Garcia, determine that Hightower is the sixth military leader attacked in the past four months. They investigate the chilling possibility the shootings are part of a plot against the government. Things are not as they seem, however. After two more army retirees are murdered, Zack's world is rocked by an event so traumatic; the hunt for the killers turns deadly personal

 

Evil Deeds by Joseph Badal

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MWSA Review

Two families struggle to overcome events that start 28 years earlier when a two-year-old child is kidnapped and the child’s father kills the kidnapper’s son. In four parts with three primarily set in the former Yugoslavia during the bloody 1999 ethnic conflict.

Suspense, tension, and excitement are Evil Deeds main elements. Additional characteristics are adrenalin-pumping, gritty, rousing, and fast-paced plot with international political intrigue and terrorism.

Obviously well-researched, with details lending themselves to an authoritative voice that makes the entire tale believable. Behaviors of a number of characters are exactly what you would expect from a real-life version of that character. The author uses the book to illustrate the brutality of the ethnic-cleansing type of brutality that may not have been reported in the press or read by the average media consumer.

The reader’s feelings are successfully manipulated by the author to direct a visceral reaction to words on paper. We anticipate actions and are heartened by actions to bring the “bad guys” to justice. High levels of anxiety make this a page-turner of break-neck pace. There is large-scale villainy to include the office of the president of Yugoslavia. There is espionage and government conspiracy. The main characters face death. Initially the forces of evil are more powerful than those of good. There is a quest for justice and morality that cannot be abandoned by either side.

A mystery is known to the reader and some but not to one of the most significant characters. The reader can “hear” an action sound track that would accompany the prose. The main characters on the side of good are represented as innocents in a corrupt world. The main characters on the side of good are dragged into situations for which they are not prepared or equipped. Some very nice twists to the plot with unexpected changes in direction. One of those is a foreign assassin operating inside U.S. borders. Recommended for readers, who enjoy this genre.

Reviewed by: Jim Tritten (2015)


 


Author's Synopsis

Evil Deeds is an 118,100-word, four-part thriller spanning a twenty-eight-year period. 
Part I begins in 1971 in Greece with the kidnapping of Bob and Liz Danforth’s two-year-old son, Michael, by a renegade band of Gypsies led by Stefan Radko. Radko and his group kidnap children, spirit them north, and sell them to the Bulgarian Government. The Bulgarians raise the children as Greeks, indoctrinate them as Communists, and train the best and brightest as espionage agents. Years later, these children will be infiltrated back into Greece as Communist agents. Michael’s abduction sets in motion a search by Bob and Liz, in partnership with an U.S. Intelligence Officer, Franklin Meers, and a former Communist agent, George Makris. George was kidnapped at the age of six, raised in the same Bulgarian orphanage Michael is taken to, infiltrated back into Greece twenty-five years later, and arrested by the Greeks as a spy. Bob and George illegally cross into Bulgaria to try to find Michael in the orphanage. Instead, they find the building recently evacuated. While they search the building, Radko and his teenaged son, Gregorie, show up with another kidnapped infant. A gun battle ensues and Bob kills Radko’s son. Radko wounds Bob and George, then escapes. Bob and George rescue the infant and struggle to return to Greece. While Bob and George flee Bulgaria, an alert U.S Embassy employee spots Michael with a woman in a park in Sofia, Bulgaria. Michael is returned to his parents. Bob’s unauthorized excursion into Bulgaria lands him in hot water with the Army. The CIA recruits Bob after he is forced to resign from the military.

 

Hellbound by Chester D. Campbell

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MWSA Review

Hellbound, is a thrilling and well woven story, intricate in its blending of mafia bad guys and everyday elderly people on a church bus tour.

Vignettes of the lives of individuals on the bus, both known and hidden, are brought to us mixed in with the unknown to the passenger’s drama, played out slowly over the course of the tour. Campbell, keeps us on the edge of our seats as the relentless pursuit by the mafia of the central character Bryce Reynolds (Pat Pagano) reaches a conclusion. 

The ending will surprise the reader. A great story, that I can see as a made for TV movie that will hold an audience’s attention..

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2015)


Author's Synopsis

The story takes place in 1999. When a busload of seniors from a suburban Nashville church head down the Natchez Trace on a carefree journey to The Big Easy, they are unaware that a Mafia hit squad is playing a deadly game of tag with them. All except one passenger. The man they know as Bryce Reynolds is really Pat Pagano, a Medal of Honor winner from World War II and a successful Las Vegas stockbroker who was lured into handling investments for a New York crime family.

After his two grown sons are killed in an attack by a rival gang and his wife succumbs to cancer, Pagano decimates the mob with his testimony in federal court. He disappears, and then resurfaces in Nashville as Reynolds, a retired businessman from Oklahoma. But after years of searching, an old Mafia capo tracks Pagano to the church bus enroute to New Orleans. 

 

Murder in the Slaughterhouse by Tom Crowley

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MWSA Review

The murder of a boy and the visual it relates combined with friendship finds Matt Chance drawn into the search for the truth of why this boy was so brutally murdered.

Mysterious Bangkok, Thailand adds to the drama of Matt's search and leads him in directions he could not have forseen. Al-Qaeda, the CIA and intelligence services in Thailand all add to the story Tom Crowley has written in "Murder in the Slaughterhouse."

From the slums of Bangkok to Washington DC Matt searches for the truth and for the help he needs in finding the answer he has promised to a friend. Placing his own life in danger he moves in the circles of drug trafficer, terrorists, and the CIA agent gone bad.

The answers and the end result are not expected, the reader will keep turning the pages to find out the who, what, when, and where. A good read.

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2015)


Author's Synopsis

A homeless teenage boy is found murdered in a Bangkok slum slaughterhouse where they kill the pigs. Afraid that the police will not give their full attention to the murder, a social worker calls on former U.S. Army Ranger Matt Chance to help find the killer. 

What Matt finds leads him first to the world of human traffickers, and then to those who have reason to protect the traffickers and want Matt’s investigation stopped. As Matt starts to uncover ties between the traffickers and the international terrorist organization Al-Qaeda and the CIA, he becomes the target of those who want the investigation dropped and finds himself fighting for his life.

 

Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

A series of unfortunate traumas, family secrets, and maternal rejection propel the protagonist, Johnnie Kitchen, on a journey of healing through self-discovery and truth, in Kathleen M. Rodger's Johnnie Come Lately

Abandoned by her mother, and blaming herself for the turmoil in her life, Johnnie Kitchen seeks to find love, forgiveness, and acceptance, not only from her family members, but mostly from Johnnie, herself. 

Kathleen hooks the reader in the first passage, and doesn't let go until the last page is turned.  The author builds on layers of interactions and deceits, to reveal a carefully woven tapestry of mystery in Johnnie Come Lately. Her plausible course of events lends credibility to the plot; her characters are real, flawed, and likable, which adds authenticity to her tale. The reader becomes entangled, unable turn away, as the pieces of Johnnie's puzzle fall into place.

Johnnie Come Lately takes the reader on a passionate rollercoaster of redemption through brute honesty. The telling is full of raw emotion which touches the reader through myriad sensations. I found myself crying, amused, animated, and angered... and full of anticipation. I look forward to reading Kathleen M. Rodger's next book.

Reviewed by: Sandra Linhart (2015)


Author's Synopsis

Would life have been different for Johnnie if she’d been named after a woman rather than her dead uncle? Or if her mama hadn’t been quite so beautiful or flighty? The grandparents who raised her were loving, but they didn’t understand the turmoil roiling within her. And they had so many, many secrets. Why did her mama leave? Would she ever return? How did her Uncle Johnny really die? Who was her father? 

Now Johnnie Kitchen is a 43-year-old woman with three beautiful children, two of them grown. She has a handsome, hardworking husband who adores her, and they live in the historic North Texas town of Portion in a charming bungalow. But she never finished college and her only creative outlet is a journal of letters addressed to both the living and the dead. Although she has conquered the bulimia that almost killed her, Johnnie can never let down her guard, lest the old demons return. Or perhaps they never went away to begin with. For Johnnie has secrets of her own, and her worst fear is that the life she’s always wanted—the one where she gets to pursue her own dreams—will never begin. 

Not until her ghosts reveal themselves.