Dark Side of Glory, The

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MWSA Review

When Matthew Clark agrees to write the biography of General Coursen, he hasn't any idea the layers of deceit and deception he'll uncover in his pursuit to be thorough, nor does he realize his own life will be forever changed in the process.

In his novel, The Dark Side of Glory, Richard McMahon alternatively paints past and future love stories blossoming while wars rage on two types of battle fronts. McMahon deftly captures all audiences by producing a manuscript worthy of a factual military history book, while sating a romantic's appetite, and tipping the scales toward a true mystery who-done-it.

The Dark Side of Glory kept me up past my bedtime, and entertained me throughout my day until the last word was read. I'm looking forward to experiencing Mr. McMahon's other works.

Reviewed by: Sandra Miller Linhart(2014)


Author's Summary

“Had I known what lay ahead, I might not have agreed to write the life story of General Philip Sheridan Coursen,” says Matthew Clark, at the beginning of The Dark Side of Glory. “But, deep inside many of us, lies a taste for mystery and violence, and through the lifeless eyes of General Coursen I was destined to encounter plenty of both.”

Clark has been hired by Miriam Coursen to write a biography of her deceased husband. Coursen, a highly decorated Army officer, earned a sterling reputation in World War II, and achieved renown in Korea as an outstanding combat commander. But, as his research unfolds, Clark learns that the general is a strong suspect in a covered-up murder, may have had a secret Japanese mistress, and fathered a daughter by her.

The story begins in U. S. occupied Japan in 1950, six months prior to the Korean War. It follows Lt. Col. Philip Coursen, as he attempts to bring discipline and competence to the Tenth Armored Cavalry Reconnaissance Battalion. Four years of soft occupation duty have turned the men of the Tenth into lazy, untrained time-servers, who resent his efforts. “Booze and broads is all that anybody in this outfit cares about,” a senior NCO tells Coursen. Told from the viewpoint of Lt. Calvin Carter, a Tenth Recon company commander, and by Matthew Clark as his research progresses, the narrative traces the Tenth and the lives of its men from its slow buildup to combat readiness, to its achieving fame in the Korean War.

The book focuses on five characters: Philip Coursen, who appears at first to be the perfect Army officer, but who is revealed to have an increasingly mysterious dark side, Miriam Coursen, equally perfect Army wife, who may not be all she seems, Calvin Carter, an idealistic young West Pointer, beset with guilt as a result of his clandestine affair with another officer’s wife, Samantha Winstead, the beautiful, vivacious cause of Calvin Carter’s discomfort, and Matthew Clark, who becomes more drawn into his research after falling in love with the young woman who claims to be Coursen’s secret daughter.

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Author(s) Mentioned: 
McMahon, Richard
Reviewer: 
Linhart, Sandra Miller
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