Final Salute: Together We Live On, The
Author: Kathleen M. Rodgers
Publisher: Leatherneck Publishing (2008)
Binding: Paperback, 268 pages
At a small air base in Louisiana, family man and seasoned fighter pilot, Tuck Westerfield's life could literally crash down around him. In this business of flying fighter jets, the odds of staying alive are stacked against him.
Haunted by the memories of dead friends killed in air mishaps, this Vietnam vet and father of three must deal with a devious commander, an animal-crazed neighbor, whose husband hates pilots, a beautiful, but suspicious wife and a rebellious teenage daughter. The last thing he needs is another war.
But when Iraq invades Kuwait in the middle of a muggy Louisiana summer, duty calls. Tuck and the other pilots in his squadron head to the Middle East.
Back in Louisiana, Gina Westerfield and other military wives learn that war is hell on the home front, too.
Later, when tragedy strikes, everyone at Beauregard Air Force Base must pull together and live on or forever be consumed with grief.
MWSA 2009 Silver Medal for Fiction, Historical
Author Kathleen Rodgers has created a novel that could be a slice from real life. Her well-written debut book about career Air Force pilots "THE FINAL SALUTE" is a story that real pilots and military families will fully understand and perhaps, even identify with. But it is the human emotions that this story brings out that will win over all readers, including those who have never worn any uniform, or flown an airplane.
War, they say, is truly hell--and Rodgers captures that element as she unfolds her tale. It becomes both entertaining and at times, thought provoking. Her characters are sharp and multi-dimensional; which is the true strength of this novel. She artfully uses these people to unfold her dramatic storyline.
This book deals with the dangers of warfare; but it is the inner and outward emotional battles of her lead characters that keep the reader turning pages. The book takes on huge chunks of real-life stuff: problems with teenage children, husband-wife issues, bad relations with people, friendship, flying war planes and death, to name just a few.
The reader will find plenty of action and excitement to satisfy that need from an action novel; but it is the thought-provoking plot and comradeship of the fighter pilots that makes this a perfect military novel. It reminded me emotionally of books like "From Here To Eternity". This book is destined to generate lots of buzz among readers of military themed genre. It is truly a future war classic.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2009)