2016 Season

Enemies; by Richard Whitten Barnes

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Enemies share similar perspectives of war, but with an interesting twist.

Vivid memories of the World War I trenches flooded Jurgen Stern as he glanced at drawings found in an Ottawa hotel in 1968. Some of the scenes were from the battlefields where he fought long ago. Stern traced the owner of the drawings to a former Canadian soldier, Brian MacLennan, now like Stern, an old grandfather.

They fought against each other in the same battles, yet had not met. But one of the drawings compelled Stern to track down MacLennan and solve a 50-year-old mystery that had caused the German to hold on to a postcard size portrait sketched on the back of a map that he took from Canadian soldier. The rendering was identical to one in MacLennan's portfolio.

Enemies follows both men as teenagers who matured quickly in their first minutes of combat. Through them, author Richard Whitten Barnes brings alive the fear, sounds, smells, and horrors of trench warfare. The reader experiences the emotional and physical strains on the young soldiers as they watch friends die and become maimed in horrific ways. They both pine for a special girl back home as they try to sleep in water clogged craters.  Through these up close and personal experiences, which are written in a well-balanced narrative, the reader has a realistic view of the “War to end all Wars” from the perspective of privates and junior NCOs.
Through all this is an intricately woven plot that comes to light as the two old veterans meet for the first time and discuss the drawings. They quickly form a friendship that takes the story to a surprising and heartwarming climax.  

I recommend this fast-paced book. 

MWSA Reviewer: Joe Epley

Author's Synopsis

It is November 11, 1968, fifty years to the day since the armistice of the Great War.. The seventy year old German diplomat Jurgen Stern is in Ottawa, Canada on a special assignment. He rescues a portfolio mistakenly left behind in his hotel lobby by a man near his own age. Inside are drawings that are obviously from a soldier’s perspective of WW1. One of the sketches is so intriguing he is compelled to find this man and learn the truth about it.

The story reverts back to 1916 when Brian MacLennan, a farm boy from northern Ontario joins the Canadian Expeditionary Force. At the same time, young Jurgen Stern has been conscripted by the Imperial German Army. Their experiences in that brutal war are followed until they become entangled in a way that will take fifty years to unravel. The two men face the consequences of those events a half century in the past and must put them right.

The War Years and the Willard Years; by Nancy Kauffman

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MWSA Review
Will be added shortly.
MWSA Reviewer: 

Author's Synopsis
Dr. Bill Kauffman was an observant Army physician with a sense of humor who served on troop ships during World War II. He kept journals of his 18 trips mostly in the North Atlantic as well as the invasion of Sicily and a trip around the world; enriching historical context is provided for each journal. After the war, Doc settled in Ohio where he was dedicated his patients, loved especially by children, and where he reached out to his community. This book is a celebration of Doc's life.

Higher Ground by  McKendree Long

MWSA Review

Higher Ground is a fun, action packed story of the old west.  While the author, McKendree Long, loosely traces the adult lives of his three main characters, he does so by weaving in a number of actual historical events and real people.  In doing so, the author creates an interesting cast of characters, and writes history from the eyes of those behind the scenes.  Those individuals whom we can all easily imagine were there, but we just never heard about them.  Long’s fascinating grasp at what life must have been like during the latter part of the nineteenth century allows the reader to get a vivid picture of the action and settings he creates throughout the book.  I enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone who enjoys historical fiction and particularly those fascinated by the wild west during the late 1800’s. Read the book!

MWSA Reviewer: Bob Doerr

Author's Summary

Raw, unvarnished, and authentic, Mike Long doesn't pull any punches when he writes anything western. The detail about the historical events in this book are spot on, including his riveting depiction of what it must have been like to be fighting the Battle of the Big Horn, also known as Custer's Last Stand. Long's command of the language, his use of imagery and his knowledge of weaponry make this a book for any western, adventure, or historical reader.

ISBN-10: 160653100X

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse, by Robin Hutton

MWSA Review

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse
The Little Mare That Could

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse is a beautiful story about an amazing horse and the meaning of the Marine Corp's motto, Semper Fi; but most importantly, it is a story of compassion and loyalty—traits which make American fighting men and women the best in the world. American soldiers are known for their affection toward animals and children in war zones, and so it was during the Korean Conflict.

Reminded of the childhood story, The Little Engine that Could, which taught the value of determination and hard work, I couldn't help but think that this brave little Mongolian-Korean horse, Ah-Chim Hai (which translates Flame in the Morning), exemplified those very traits. Purchased by a Marine lieutenant to haul 75mm Recoilless Rifle ammunition up the steep Korean hills to the guns, Flame took to the job and quickly learned her duties. Fearless and with an indomitable will, The Little Mare That Could became a Marine and met the enemy head on. Time after time the heroic little mare braved combat and incoming fire–usually alone–to deliver ammunition to her Marines on the front lines. Ah-Chim Hai needed an American name and she was named Reckless after the 75mm Recoilless Rifles (a/k/a Reckless Rifles) she supported. Reckless became Sergeant Reckless when she was officially inducted into the Corps and gained the undying loyalty of every U.S. Marine who served with her. 

During the worst day of one of the fiercest battle in Marine history, Sgt. Reckless made 51 round trips up and down steep slopes from the ammo resupply point to her Marines and their 75mm guns. Covering a total of 35 miles, she delivered a total of 9,000 pounds of badly needed ammo. Often she returned with a wounded Marine on her back. Sgt. Reckless was a true Marine and was recognized as one.

Sgt. Reckless' deeds won the respect and admiration of the Marine Corps, and many, many others. She shared the men's trenches, bunkers and tents, often sleeping by their stoves; was known to eat in the mess tent; and even visited the officer's bar on least one occasion. Always hungry, she ate anything, including her Aussie bush hat. She was partial to beer, cake, pie, and chocolate. Known for her escapades, bravery and sense of duty, she became a Marine Corps legend.

Returning to America as a war hero after the Armistice, she retired as a staff sergeant (E-5) in 1960 at Camp Pendleton, California. She was the only animal to be awarded a military rank. She passed away in 1968 at the age of twenty and is buried on Camp Pendleton where a memorial headstone sits at the entrance to Stepp Stables. Her medals and decorations included two Purple Hearts, National Defense Service Medal, U.S. Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, French fourragére, and numerous unit citations.

Finally immortalized in 2013, thanks to the efforts of author Robin Hutton and her TEAM RECKLESS, a 10-foot bronze statue likeness of Staff Sgt. Reckless now proudly stands in the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia. 

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse is a great read, an inspiration for our children, and a book that will permanently reside on my bookshelf. 

Reviewed by: Lee Boyland

She Wasn't a Horse—She Was a Marine!

She might not have been much to look at—a small "Mongolian mare," they called her—but she came from racing stock, and had the blood of a champion. Much more than that, Reckless became a war hero—in fact, she became a combat Marine, earning staff sergeant’s stripes before her retirement to Camp Pendleton.

This once famous horse, recognized as late as 1997 by Life magazine as one of America’s great heroes—the greatest war horse in American history, in fact—has unfortunately now been largely forgotten. But author Robin Hutton is set to change all that. Not only has she been the force behind recognizing Reckless with a monument at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and at Camp Pendleton, but she has now put between hard covers the full story, the rousing—
sometimes comic, sometimes tragic—life of this four-legged war hero who hauled ammunition to frontline Marines and inspired them with her relentless, and reckless, courage.

Seabiscuit, Misty of Chincoteague, Dan Patch, Man O' War, Secretariat... Reckless belongs in their number as one of America's most beloved horses. Hers is a story to inspire young and old, military veteran and casual equestrian. Here is the story of the horse they called Reckless.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Battle Rattle; by Roger Boas

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
In his mid-nineties, Roger Boas penned a memoir of his World War II experiences. Battle Rattle relates the author’s war journey as a forward observer in the Fourth Armored Division under General Patton.

Boas, of Jewish descent, was raised a Christian Scientist. Both his heritage and his faith led him down the path he followed. This Jewish boy would be one of the first American soldiers to enter a Nazi concentration camp. I appreciated the honesty with which Boas approached this and other defining moments in his life. Rather than painting himself a hero, Boas opened his heart and soul to the reader, reliving his mistakes, regrets, and guilt.
Even before he shipped to Europe, we know his strengths and weaknesses. He shows us his family life through letters he wrote home as he grew from an innocent, untested boy into a soldier trained for war.

After his first encounter with German soldiers in which he pulled the trigger first, he writes: “The outrageousness of war struck me hard, even if I didn’t fully process it at the time, and has remained with me ever since.”

If you’re looking for a non-sugarcoated version of a soldier’s life, Battle Rattle is a must read. The author’s willingness to reveal his own character brings an added layer of depth to an often told story. His recollection of seventy-years-plus old details is amazing. 
MWSA Reviewer: Pat Avery

Author's Synopsis
“The war has changed me in ways that will take the better part of my life to understand, let alone make peace with,” begins Roger Boas in his thoughtful, compelling account of World War II. As part of the Fourth Armored Division, he found himself at the spearhead of the Allied thrust into Europe. His memoir re-creates both the tension of the battlefield and the camaraderie behind the front line. It also relates his harrowing experience as a Jew of being one of the first American soldiers to discover a Nazi concentration camp. Boas reveals the powerful impact of war on those who fight.

15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost Of Service; by Kristine Schellhaas

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MWSA Review
When Kristine Schellhaas set out to record the private details of  her marriage to a Marine officer, she knew she had a story that military families would appreciate and understand. Coming from the corporate world where both my husband and I had safe and lucrative jobs, I wasn’t sure I could relate. However when I read her book, the normality of Kristine’s story engaged me. I could understand why she supported her husband’s career—and why she dealt with family tensions alone while he had eight tours of duty and they moved eleven times in fifteen years.

Electronic communications have changed the way military couples deal with loneliness and family decision-making while one spouse is deployed. Skype is almost a tease when babies are being born, and it is totally useless when maternal exhaustion sets in. Yet video chats allow the distant parent to develop or maintain relationships with young children. And emails can provide loving reassurance to partners who must face stressful situations.

The Schellhaases share their lives in 15 Years of War, and it’s both refreshing and heartbreaking. The layout of this book supports the content and keeps the reader’s empathetic reactions for each partner fresh. When Kristine speaks, we feel her concern for Ross, her frustration at being pregnant and alone, her irritation with her mother-in-law, and her stress-filled struggle to care for her children. When Ross talks, he describes the horrors of war, his worries about his Marines, his aggravation with his mother and his deep love for Kristine and their children.

The tale winds through several deployments and two pregnancies before tragedy rips through the soul of a family already toughened by war. Their second baby, George, drowns in a swimming pool. As Kristine and Ross deal with their horrendous loss, Ross is sent back to war a few months after the accident and Kristine discovers that she is pregnant again. Will this be the test that tears them apart? 

15 Years of War is reveals the fight for love like few nonfiction books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it.

MWSA Reviewer:  Joyce Faulkner

Author's Synopsis

Less than 1% of our nation will ever serve in our armed forces, leaving many to wonder what life is really like for military families.

He answers the call of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Pacific; she keeps the home fires burning. Worlds apart, and in the face of indescribable grief, their relationship is pushed to the limits.

15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost Of Service provides a unique he said/she said perspective on coping with war in modern-day America. It reveals a true account of how a dedicated Marine and his equally committed spouse faced unfathomable challenges and achieved triumph, from the days just before 9/11 through 15 years of training workups, deployments, and other separations.

This story of faith, love, and resilience offers insight into how a decade and a half of war has redefined what it means to be a military family.

SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth; by Steve Synder

MWSA Review
As a memoir of World War Two pilot Howard Snyder’s experience in enemy territory, Shot Down by Steve Snyder introduces readers to the extremes of human nature. Soldiers and citizens risk their lives--and many lose their lives--in extraordinary feats that exemplify the concepts of integrity, honor, and courage.  This is in stark contrast to the Nazi soldiers’ cruelty and depraved indifference to human life as depicted through the author’s narrative and his father’s journal entries.  

This book takes the reader on a historical and sometimes moving chronicle of WWII. History emerges as the true main character while the tale of the author’s father, Howard Snyder supports the narrative. Snyder’s experiences in training, combat, and in hiding behind enemy lines provide the backdrop for a factual narrative of each component in Snyder’s tale. For instance, Snyder’s training allows the author to delve into a textbook outline of the rigors involved in training and combat for the crews of B-17’s. The aircraft is also headlined throughout the book, as the author’s research presents itself in page after page of detail on the history and evolution of the B-17. The backdrop, origin, and timeline of World War Two are all thoroughly addressed and bear much of the weight of this book. 

The historical theme of this book is personified through the tale of Howard Snyder. Shot down over enemy territory, Snyder survives and ultimately returns to his family through the courage of citizens who help him and others like him. Diary entries, pictures, and excerpts from letters between Snyder and his wife impart emotion into the historical aspect of this book. A heavy volume of facts about soldiers and citizens alike who battled the Nazis in heroic fashion demands respect and gratitude from the reader for all who fought and sacrificed.

Steve Snyder writes with a passion for history that is illuminated through the evident research he devoted to this book. Historical aficionados will appreciate this detail. 
Reviewed by: Barbara Allen

Author's Synopsis
Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive

For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: 

• separation for young families as men went off to war;
• training before heading to foreign soil;
• military combat operations;
• underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it;
• German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians;
• behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next;
• creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989

Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.

For most, 70 years is a long time ago. World War II fades in importance as each year goes by. Shot Down moves history out of the footnotes into reality, keeping the stories of real people alive as they experience being shot down. You are there, almost holding your breath as Lt. Snyder gets his crew out of his B-17 when bailing out over Nazi occupied Europe.

Terror Cell; by Joseph Badal

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Author Joseph Badal has written a fast-paced, action-packed thriller in his book Terror Cell. Set in Athens, Greece, Badal pits his protagonists, Bob Danforth and his team of CIA operatives, against Greek Spring, a fictional terrorist group that has been operating with impunity in Greece for two decades. Not knowing who to trust is only part of the problem Danforth faces. The terrorists have planned a series of terror attacks that the CIA team believes will culminate with some sort of grand attack at the Olympic games. As the assassinations and bombings evolve, Danforth realizes that they may they not succeed in bringing down Greek Spring. Not only that, but he also may not survive the effort.  

I recommend Terror Cell to anyone who loves thrillers. For those who are not sure, I recommend they read this book to find out if they might be. An easy, quick read, this book will satisfy any reader’s desire for action, suspense, and conflict. The author’s descriptions of the neighborhoods and suburbs of Athens are an added plus.  Read it!

MWSA Reviewer: Bob Doerr

Author's Synopsis

Terror Cell is the second book in the 5-book Danforth Saga, which includes Evil Deeds (Book 1), The Nostradamus Secret (Book 3), The Lone Wolf Agenda (Book 4), & Death Ship (Book 5). “Terror Cell” pits Bob Danforth, a CIA Special Ops Officer, against Greek Spring, a vicious terrorist group that has operated in Athens, Greece for three decades. Danforth’s mission in the summer of 2004 is to identify one or more of the members of the terrorists in order to bring them to justice for the assassination of the CIA’s Station Chief in Athens. What Danforth does not know is that Greek Spring plans a catastrophic attack against the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

Danforth and his CIA team are hampered by years of Congressionally-mandated rules that have weakened U.S. Intelligence gathering capabilities, and by indifference and obstructionism on the part of Greek authorities. His mission becomes even more difficult when he is targeted for assassination after an informant in the Greek government tells the terrorists of Danforth’s presence in Greece.

In Terror Cell, Badal weaves a tale of international intrigue, involving players from the CIA, the Greek government, and terrorists in Greece, Libya, and Iran—all within a historical context. Anyone who keeps up with current events about terrorist activities and security issues at the Athens Olympic Games will find the premise of this book gripping, terrifying, and, most of all, plausible.

Veil of Deception; by Michael Byars Lewis

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
In his second book, Michael Byars Lewis takes his Air Force hero, Jason Conrad, through another non stop thrill ride full of women, violence, and international intrigue.

Conrad is trying to find some normalcy after the events of the first book, and is looking to get on with his career. But when he lands a once in a lifetime job AND the most mysterious woman of his life shows up after six years, he knows life is going to be anything but normal. Throw in a gorgeous red-headed reporter from the New York Times and some Chinese commandos, and things get absolutely crazy.

It’s obvious that Lewis is writing from experience with regards to aviation and the Air Force, and he uses his knowledge to add believable depth to the story. It is as good a techno-thriller/espionage tale as you will find, but without a lot of jargon, so even those lacking aviation or military experience can fully enjoy its telling. This story gets great marks for creativity, action, and some great characters. Highly recommended for fans of Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, or Jeff Edwards.

MWSA Reviewer: Rob Ballister

Author's Synopsis

What if the company building America’s most expensive weapons system was secretly owned by one of our enemies?

Following a terrifying jet crash, Jason Conrad finds himself on a very short list of people on their way out the door. It is a surprise to everyone when he is assigned to the home of the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center, to an aircraft no one thinks he’s qualified for.

Attached to a secret project with a shadowy contractor, Jason is caught between two complications; an overbearing, retired general determined to see him fail; and an aggressive television reporter who wants him in prison.

When a ghost from the past shows up and a beautiful, yet mysterious woman enters his life, Jason soon discovers his special project has more secrets than anyone knows about . . . and it could cost him his life.

Veil of Deception is the second book in the Jason Conrad USAF Thriller series! Fans of Dale Brown and Brad Taylor will love the second installment of Michael Byars Lewis’ page turning series! 

Beijing Red: A Thriller; by Jeffrey Wilson, Alex Ryan, Brian Andrews

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Thoroughly enjoyable techno-thriller

Thrown together by an investigation of a gruesome death, Nick Foley and Dr. “Dash” Chen are the unlikeliest of allies—a former U.S. Navy SEAL and a Chinese microbiologist. However, when the two realize they're dealing with a terrifying new technology that may put thousands of lives at risk, they spring into action. Racing against time, they must figure out who they can trust, and even if they can trust each other.  

One has a proven combat record, fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. The other has a proven record fighting microscopic viral and  bacteriological enemies with the Chinese Centers for Disease Control. One is comfortable in the world of cloak and dagger, the other with lab coat and scalpel. 

Recently separated from his elite warrior comrades, Nick Foley is used to risking his life for his own country, but not for another country… or another woman. Along the way the two cope with international and institutional turf battles, get help from unlikely sources, and track an elusive enemy through underground passageways hidden below modern Beijing. 

Beijing Red has it all: chase scenes, twists and turns, betrayal, and international intrigue. Get ready to break out a microscope and an assault rifle to ride along with Nick and Dash. You'll enjoy this page-turning joy ride.

MWSA Reviewer: John Cathcart

Author's Synopsis
When ex-Navy SEAL Nick Foley travels to China to find purpose and escape the demons of his past, he instead stumbles into a conspiracy his Special Forces training never prepared him for. A mysterious and deadly outbreak ravages a remote area of western China, and Nick finds himself the lead suspect in a bio-terrorism investigation being conducted by China's elite Snow Leopard counter-terrorism unit. To clear his name and avoid prosecution, he must team up with beautiful Chinese CDC microbiologist Dr. Dazhong "Dash" Chen to find who is really behind the attack. As their investigation proceeds, their budding friendship is tested by nationalistic loyalties and suspicion. In a race against time, Nick and Dash must risk everything to stop a mad man before he unleashes the world's next super-weapon in Beijing

Forgotten Heroes of World War II: Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers; by Thomas E. Simmons

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Wear a helmet and tighten you flak jacket. 
Mr. Thomas E. Simmons is to be applauded for both his writing and his service to our country. He is a veteran and a historian. His book, Forgotten Heroes of WWII-Land, Sea, and Air, provides a forum for veterans of that era to vent their memories as painful as they are, for the first time ever in most cases. Simmons doesn't omit a single branch and brings every veteran he interviews into your home and heart. You can feel every story. Some are like a body blow.  Others are almost a knockout punch. Veterans who think they are the only ones who experienced the horror of war should read this, but read it carefully.

I appreciate Simmons' approach. Each is a stand-alone story. This book does not tie together a plot, but the theme is there in cement. It is just as heavy.  Historians will love the book, because it adds realism to reporting and recording the events of that massive undertaking. I respect the author's research and found the story he included about the Japanese medic to be compelling as well as tremendously insightful into the mind of America’s enemy in WWII. 

I recommend this book, but only for mature readers. That warning isn't about language. It is about realism shared in vivid terms. Read and be prepared for the shocking truth.         

MWSA Reviewer: Michael D. Mullins

Author's Synopsis
World War II was the defining event of the twentieth century. For everyone it was a time of confusion and fear, destruction and death on a scale never before seen. Much has been written of the generals, campaigns, and battles of the war, but it was young, ordinary American kids who held our freedom in their hands as they fought for liberty across the globe. Forgotten Heroes of World War II offers a personal understanding of what was demanded of these young heroes through the stories of rank-and-file individuals who served in the navy, marines, army, air corps, and merchant marine in all theaters of the war. Their tales are told without pretense or apology. At the time, each thought himself no different from those around him, for they were all young, scared, and miserable. They were the ordinary, the extraordinary, the forgotten. Multiply their stories by hundreds of thousands, and you begin to understand the words of war correspondent Martha Gellhorn: "There are! those who received brief, poor, or no recognition, all those history leaves unmentioned, not because they are lesser but because they are too many." Recorded more than fifty years after the war, the stories in Forgotten Heroes of World War II were shared quietly, shyly, honestly, and often painfully by these extraordinary ordinary Americans. All of them begin with similar statements—"There’s really not much to tell. I was just there like everyone else. All I wanted to do was get home…" Each was uncomfortable for being singled out to speak of experiences he felt were common to so many others. None of these heroes see themselves as heroes. Indeed, the word seems to embarrass them. Yet they and thousands like them stood their watch and did their duty in spite of fear and danger. One by one they are leaving us. It will soon be too late to thank them. It will never be too late to remember what they did.

Impostor: A Genealogical Mystery; by Richard Davidson

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Beginning in the present day and reaching back through the decades to World War II, Impostor: A Genealogical Mystery by Richard Davidson is a mystery with a great deal of historical fiction thrown in.

Jeremy Hadley’s fiancée, Debbie Danforth, plans to surprise Jeremy with a genealogical research into his origins so that she can present him with a piece of graphic art that represents his family tree. But she runs into complications when she discovers that the man they thought was Jeremy’s great-grandfather was an impostor. Debbie’s research uncovers the fact that the real Michael Farrell Hadley was born in London on 17 April 1914…and died the same day.

In their quest to discover the truth, Debbie and Jeremy travel to England to find answers to the question of his heritage which was conceived in mystery and has been shrouded in secrecy for seventy years. Impostor takes us behind the scenes to the formation of the intelligence gathering community of the late 1930s and carries us through wartime American and British spy rings to the present day farmlands of the English countryside.

Fans of genealogical research are sure to enjoy this fast-paced mystery from its beginning to its surprising and unorthodox conclusion.

MWSA Reviewer: Betsy Beard

Author's Synopsis
When Debbie Danforth discovers a flaw in the genealogy of her live-in boyfriend, Jeremy Hadley, he and his family try to discredit her findings, but eventually admit they must be true. Jeremy and Debbie run a private detective business, the Sandley Agency and commit their skills and resources to learning about the impostor Debbie has discovered in the Hadley ancestry. They are assisted in this effort by Penny and Joe Gonzalez, principals in a covert federal agency, with whom Jeremy has previously worked as a consultant. Their joint investigation uncovers both unique details concerning the mysterious Hadley impostor and little-known facts about events leading up to World War II in both Britain and the United States. Was the person who masqueraded as a Hadley a villain or a hero? Did other Hadleys know he was a fraudulent member of their family? Did his actions assist or impede the British and the Americans as they faced the growing menace in Europe?

The Fifth Bomb; by Kenneth Andrus

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Kenneth Andrus writes with clarity and excitement. The Fifth Bomb will keep you up turning to that next page, then the next, and the next.

Nick Packos, a mid-level intelligence analysis for the Director of National Intelligence is put in charge of a multi-agency task force to investigate the theft of spent radioactive pellets in the Russian Federation. It’s not enough to make a nuclear bomb, but enough to make several dirty bonds.
When the first two bombs explode in Moscow's GUM shopping center, Nick is thrust into a global quest to find the perpetrators and missing radioactive material. His sister agencies in Russia and France have no clue as to whether the bombers are part of an international cabal such as ISIS or a lone-wolf operation.  The search gains in intensity when a third dirty bomb explodes in Paris, targeting the wives of the presidents of France and the United States.

Packos is not the swashbuckling superhero found in many thrillers. But his careful analytical skills and ability to overcome self-doubts keep him on the trail of Bashir al-Khultyer whose goal is not political, but personal revenge for the murder of his wife and child. The search intensifies as Packos learns Bashir had received advanced degrees in Radiation and Radiobiology at the Institute for Nuclear Research.

As the global search goes on for missing radioactive pellets, the trail leads to Pakistan and Turkey. But one canister of pellets needed to make a fifth bomb, eludes the international intelligence agencies and Packos. Leads take him to Somalia where they identify Bashir al-Khultyer as the lead suspect, yet he slips away and disappears again. A family emergency causes Packso to rush to Miami where the story takes another surprising twist.
From the heist of the nuclear pellets in the first chapter to the dramatic climax, "The Fifth Bomb" keeps a reader glued to the pages as the story races from action pact episode to another.

MWSA Reviewer: Joe Epley

Author's Synopsis
Crazed by the murder of his wife and child by paramilitary police, Bashir al-Khultyer has only one goal: To seek revenge against all those he feels were responsible for their deaths. In Russia, he steals enough nuclear material to construct five dirty bombs. When the first is detonated in Moscow, NSA analyst Nick Parkos must confront his own demons as he pursues al-Khultyer in an international manhunt to stop him before he can detonate his four remaining devices.

The Dark Side of Heaven; by Robert G. Lathrop,‎ Jeanette Vaughan

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Jeanette Vaughan has done a superb job of compiling the poems of the late Captain Robert G. Lathrop, USMC, and compiling them with drawings and photographs in the publication of The Dark Side of Heaven. Lathrop captures the trauma and agony of war in fourteen poems and Vaughan complements them with several hand drawings and photographs. Perhaps because I belong to Lathrop’s generation, his poetry and the pictures brought out many feelings and emotions. Most of the poems are less than a page long, while a few take longer to tell their tale. I enjoyed reading them all.

Flying most of his missions in versions of the A-4, Lathrop provided close air support to the fighting troops on the ground. Lathrop saw plenty of action and witnessed death and destruction at first hand. His poetry dates back to the Viet Nam era or shortly thereafter. He started writing more poems in the late 1980’s, when the dreams of his days in Viet Nam wouldn’t go away.

This book is not long and is an easy read. Anyone who has served in combat would certainly find it appealing. I recommend it for everyone.

MWSA Reviewer: Bob Doerr

Author's SynopsisFour decades after the Vietnam War, many veterans still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. For some honorable serviceman, it is a condition that will never go away. The key to coping with the nightmares and attacks is two pronged, holding onto relationships with family and sharing stories with veterans who experience the same thing. Captain Robert Gene Lathrop, a Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk pilot arrived in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive of 1968. Over fifteen months he flew over 275 missions. During Vietnam, his squadron VMA-311 flew 54,625 sorties dropping over 9 million tons of bombs. That record will never be broken. Lathrop found comfort in dealing with the aftermath of Vietnam through the written word. These poems and his soon to be released memoir are a brilliant window into the atrocities of a controversial war. His mission in writing them was to honor the men and women who served. He believed that society has a responsibility to care for all veterans when they return to peacetime and aid them to recovery after their sacrifices. "Having been part of an adjacent Marine A4 Squadron at Chu Lai, these poems and photos brought back the vision and the memories of Vietnam, both the good and the bad. These poems brought me back to the true experience that was Vietnam. I have not felt that experience in a long, long time. To Captain Lathrop, I can only say, Thank You!!!" - Cpl. Marty Halpin, USMC,VMA-225 "I just finished reading Gene's poems. With tears in my eyes, I read each one twice. Gene was a great friend and wingman. I love the way they have been put together with the photographs. They brought back lots of memories." - Captain Peter Erenfeld, USMC, VMA-311, pilot A-4 Skyhawk

The Journey of an Adventuresome Dane; by Jasmine Tritten

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Reading The Journey of an Adventuresome Dane was a delight and an inspiration. Fate delivered challenging choices to author, Jasmine Tritten, but she embraced her options and turned them into opportunities. Her early life felt safe and comfortable even though her father was defying the Nazis by helping Jews escape Denmark. Then Jasmine had to face the loss of everything she held dear when he died mysteriously. Perhaps that was how and when she learned to start over, and that ability sustained her over the years.

Jasmine’s life has been full because she chose to make it that way—from her early travels as a young woman, to her life in Carmel, California, during the late 60s and early 70s as a wife and mother. Perhaps I found her memoir captivating because it reflects my stories and those of my cohorts. It was a time of exploration.

Pushing back the boundaries was done two ways—by demanding it publicly or by simply evolving yourself. It would be unusual to live through those times and not be an agent of change in some way. Jasmine’s joyful book reminds me that life must be lived organically—from sunrise to sunset.

The voice of The Journey of an Adventuresome Dane is clearly that of a woman for whom English is a second language. It takes a chapter or so to resonate with her rhythm—in the same way it takes time to appreciate Downton Abbey when you grew up with the Rockford Files.

The book is a charming, quick read. Enjoy.

MWSA Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

Author's Synopsis
The Journey of an Adventuresome Dane is a memoir by Jasmine Tritten recounting life-altering events encompassing a span of seventy years. She explores the meaning of courage, taking chances, overcoming fears and obstacles, recovery, growth and change. 

A woman’s evolution, an odyssey across time and place.

The first part of the memoir takes place in Nazi-occupied Denmark where the author was born during World War II. Her childhood memories were eclipsed by the suicide of her father when she was twelve years old. She explains why and how at twenty-one she left her country. The flip of a Danish coin determined her destination in America.

In the second part of the book Jasmine courageously boards a Norwegian ocean liner and arrives in New York with a “green card.” Seeking peace in her soul she takes a train bound for San Francisco, but ends up in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea in California.

The third part describes the awakening of her art spirit, exploring new surroundings, marriage, and performing as a belly dancer with sword and snakes. Years later she heals from a divorce by traveling to Morocco and Egypt. An accident in La Jolla forces her to get in touch with her inner self.

Jasmine Tritten ends the memoir with her recovery from many trials and errors to finding her prince and settling down. Llamas as pets and frequent trips abroad become part of her life. The continuous thirst for adventure takes her zip-lining at 10,000 feet between two mountain tops in Angel fire, New Mexico on her seventieth birthday.

Testimony of the Protected; by Douglas Milliken

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Testimony of The Protected, by Doug Milliken, is a serious, sincere read. It is thoughtful, thought-provoking, and spiritual. Mr. Milliken writes about his personal journey to redemption and peace after his experience in Vietnam. He looks at his life, his fears, his reclamation, and reformation through the prism of religion, not denomination. Milliken does not attempt to convert or cajole the reader, merely sharing his journey in emotional and well-thought terms. I recommend the book with enthusiasm. It is an honest portrayal of a soldier finding himself in Scripture. 

I saw a post on Twitter: You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.  Milliken’s book is an expose about his approach to that battle. 

At the end of Milliken’s story he adds a pair of stories about his forays into the mindset of our enemy in Vietnam. It is revealing as well. Sometimes the warriors on the ground are more alike than not. Testimony of the Protected is well worth the read. 

MWSA Reviewer: Michael D. Mullins

Author's Synopsis

"Testimony of The Protected" by Doug Milliken is the author's personal account of his struggle coping with the visceral realities of Vietnam War combat, without having come to faith, and how he was protected through all danger, to later be pursued and born of the spirit, in a miraculous salvation event.

Triple Threat (OAS Book 2); by Lee Boyland,‎ Vista Boyland

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
In their second in the Office of Analysis and Solutions series, Triple Threat, Lee and Vista Boyland present a plausible and exhilarating tale that falls in line with its predecessor, Pirates and Cartels. In this ongoing story, President George Alexander leads his administration through a beneficial pro-American foreign policy, showing what a strong and ethical President could accomplish for our nation during a time of turmoil.

Set in the bowels of deceit and debauchery, the Boylands' imagination weaves drug manufacturing and smuggling with jihad training camps into a blanket of ultimate and imminent terror for The Great Satan—the United States of America.

Lee and Vista Boyland deliver new surprises and plot turns at every step, and keep the reader on the edge of their seat.  Jam-packed with action, suspense, disloyalty, and intrigue, Triple Threat is a page-turner not likely to disappoint a true Boyland fan.

MWSA Reviewer: Sandra Linhart

Author's Synopsis

President George Alexander's war with narco cartels and jihadists continues in the second OAS novel. The assassination of Mexico's president has just been thwarted by Teresa Lopez, Erica Borgg, Lee Culberson, Pete Duncan and Gy Sergeant McDougal. Mission accomplished he team is headed for Mexico City and then home for some R&R.

President Alexander is concerned about forming the UN's replacement, and Martha Wellington, Director, CIA is concerned about Central American cartels, and the Triple Frontier, a 1,000 square mile home for drug labs, jihadi training camps and all types of illegal activities. The Triple Frontier includes parts of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Alexander decides to apply the Mexican model to the Triple Frontier problem. It is up to Teresa Lopez to persuade the presidents of the three nations to join the plan. Both cartels and jihadists think this is a bad idea and make plans to kill her.

Alexander sends Teresa and Julian Taylor to London to coordinate with MI6 and the foreign secretary and interview the pirate captain. One meeting results in a "dust-up."

The Coast Guard encounters cartel submersibles transporting drugs. Secretary of War Simpson sends Delta operators to ID targets in the Tri-Border Area, the local name for the Triple Frontier, and SEALS to find cartel boatyards in the jungles of Columbia and Honduras. Worried about Teresa's safety, he assigns a Recon Marine platoon to guard her in Paraguay. 

A radical imam in London decides to assassinate Alexander when he arrives and things get exciting in London Town.

Readers of Boyland novels never know what new surprise or plot awaits them on the next page, and this story has plenty of action, betrayal and intrigue. Deltas, SEALs, Recon Marines and the Coast Guard share the action with the USAF. Teresa considers writing a novel about love in Special Ops and Julian is not pleased.

Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire: by Randy Brown

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Fresh, profound, illuminating

Poetry is, by nature, sparsely populated with words, almost to the point of being terse. Words carefully chosen, however, can explode into the mind, creating images and understanding where none existed before. If you ever wondered about the experiences of our service members in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is a must-read poetry book. It logs the humor and joy as well as the pathos and tragedy that comes as a result of serving in the American military. 

The poetry is divided into several sections titled Basic Issue, Getting Embed, FOB Haiku, Lessons Learned, and Homecoming. A final section titled Notes contains valuable definitions as well as pronunciations for the ever-present military acronyms. Information in this section is critical to the understanding of how the poetry is to be read, since many of us do not know how to pronounce DFAC or TOC. My advice is to read the notes for each section before you read the poetry in that section. I think it will deepen the experience as well as allow you to get the meter that the poet intended.

One poem in particular changed the way I think of my son’s service in Iraq, where he was killed in action. “Hamlet in Afghanistan” enabled me to realize more than I had allowed myself to think that “nothing we can ever do will change that day in the village.” Heartrending, but true.   
Not everyone in America understands the military culture. But for those who lived it, this book will bring remembrance and affirmation. For those who are families and friends of service members, this book will help you gain new understanding of your loved ones. For those without experience in this field, you may end up with a fresh look at what it’s all about.

MWSA Reviewer: Betsy Beard

Author's Synopsis

SHERPATUDE NO. 26: "HUMOR IS A COMBAT MULTIPLIER ..." Has your war become workaday? Does life on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) now seem commonplace? Armed with deadpan snark and poker-faced patriotism--and rooted in the coffee-black soil and plain-spoken voice of the American Midwest--journalist-turned-poet Randy Brown reveals behind-the-scenes stories of U.S. soldier-citizenship. From Boot Camp to Bagram, Afghanistan. And back home again.

Here's a taste:

Three Cups of Chai-ku

I had hoped, I guess,
for something more like Starbucks,
not yellow water.

We build our nations
one tea party at a time.
They serve, we protect.

No one here can lead
this endless talk of action.
"Que shura, shura."

Black Sun; by Glenn Starkey

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Historical fiction at its best—The Mexican Revolution of 1910

To understand a nation you must read its history. The author takes the reader on a journey beginning in 1900, told through the eyes of a fictional young man. Mexico is slowly sinking into chaos under the dictatorial rule of President for life Diaz. Foreign interests are raping Mexico’s resources and people while paying off the president and his cronies. Desperate people are capable of desperate action and the faint scent of revolution is in the air.
The story begins with fourteen-year-old Mexican peon, Arnulfo Triana, laboring in the Ojuela Mine near the village of Mapimí in the State of Durango, Mexico. Conditions are poor and the pay is minimal. Only the native Indians have worse working conditions. Garcia, the foreman, is sadistic and has chosen Arnulfo as his current target. Chamaco, an older miner with a varied background attempts to protect him from Garcia. 

Arnulfo witnesses Garcia assaulting a Yaqui Indian woman and uses a shovel to end her rape, giving the reader their first indication of the man the young boy will become. In gratitude, the woman presents Arnulfo with a gift. Events become confused and Arnulfo flees. Chamaco follows on a “borrowed” mule and the two become lifelong friends. Along the way they meet Pancho Villa and join him. During the following years, Arnulfo grows into a man, takes the name Indio, and becomes Pancho’s trusted companion as Mexico continues its downward spiral. Villa is a natural leader and a powerful force for the people against its dictatorial president.  Through Indio, the reader meets Emiliano Zapata, Abraham González, and many leaders of the coming revolution, including Francisco Madero, the man who would light the fuse.

The author’s descriptions of people, places and battles allows the reader to become part of unfolding events. Black Sun is a story of courage, despair, patriotism, deception, heroism, betrayal, loyalty, greed, honor and leadership—both good and bad. It is the story of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and beyond.

MWSA Reviewer: Lee Boyland

Author's Synopsis

From the underworld of the Ojuela Mine to the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and across the desert plains of northern Mexico, a boy is forced to survive and grow into manhood through a turbulent decade that erupted into the bloodiest revolution of the twentieth century–the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, forced to hide even his name, Arnulfo Triana is swept into a maelstrom of tragedy as revolutionaries, led by his mentor and friend Pancho Villa, collide with the forces of a corrupt dictator.

Black Sun is based on actual events. A young man’s life unfolds against a background of poverty, injustice and political corruption that finally explodes into a devastating revolution.

Taking Risks Defining Life: A Soldier's Memoir; by LTC John R McClarren

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
John McClarren has taken the lessons he learned in life and has penned an interesting memoir of his experiences in his new book Taking Risks Defining Life.  The author allows us to see into many of the decisions he made in life and the results that evolved from them.  As might be expected, and as McClarren readily admits, many of his early decisions were made more on bravado than common sense.  Some, in hindsight, are humorous and others not, but they all played a part in making him the person he is today.
The author’s life included time in the army which sent him to combat and near death experiences in Vietnam and to tense situations in South Korea.  Readers who have served in combat or in Korea will certainly appreciate the impact these tours of duty had on the author.

Post military, the author held a variety of jobs, bounced around the country, and had a difficult family move from California to Michigan while he was between jobs.  The extreme differences in weather and life styles led to an interesting series of family adventures that the author portrays to the reader in a manner that has you laughing with him while at the same time feeling the hardship the family was going through.  

Taking Risks Defining Life is an easy read book that I recommend to readers of all genre.

MWSA Reviewer: Bob Doerr

Author's Synopsis
John McClarren (LTC, US Army, retired) relates to his readers how circumstances in his own life naturally led him into taking what many would consider unnecessary risks in order to reach his goals, and how this risk-taking became a primary routine in his life, all of which ultimately resulted in total fulfillment. This book is for anyone who is always trying to assess the need to take risks in accomplishing goals, and there are very few who are not in that category. We all take risks from time to time. We just need to figure out if the decisions to take risks are worth the possible consequences of failure, because that too is part of life. Can we handle failures and still be successful? John will take you on a journey through his life, much of which is really funny, much of which will make you wonder how he ever made it this far alive and well, and much that you will be able to identify with perfectly and compare it with a good deal of your own life. Many of those experiences are from his military life, and many are far from that life.