15_31-60

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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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

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