Chosin File, by Dale Dye

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Dale Dye is the author of Laos File, Peleliu File, and his latest Chosin File, which is the first book that I’ve read of his…and it definitely is a “stand alone” book, not needing to have read the first two in the series, but this reader wants to catch up on the first two. He writes in the forward that he has a “sorely missed buddy, who told him what the Frozen Chosin in the Freezin’ Season was really like.” He is referring to the Chosin Reservoir where a decisive 17-day battle took place during the freezing weather in the Korean War. Author Dye takes us to this place, and through his characters, we experience the same snow-blown mountains that surrounded the Korean War battle site.

The book begins with retired Gunner Shake Davis testing out some weapons at a firing range, enjoying his time with younger Marines, feeling the need to prove himself due to the fact that he had shot his mouth off during a beer session with guys from the Marine Special Operations Command. This was as close as he figured he’d get to any “action,” now that he wore the distinguishing title of “Retired Gunner.”

But what gets Dale Dye’s characters to the Chosin Reservoir? Do the topics of nuclear weapons, North Korea, international partnerships, communists, and war bring about some thoughts? The CIA calls on contacts in China to run a mission over North Korea from a top-secret drone base. Mike Stokey has been involved with running an investigation into North Korean nukes. Then it becomes known that Mike Stokey goes missing in the Chosin Reservoir area, while checking out a tip that the North Koreans were up to something there. His best friend, Marine Gunner Shake Davis comes out of retirement to search for his buddy.

The tension comes through with the death of the North Korean Supreme Leader, which sets the whole world on high alert, not knowing what will happen because of his death. The fact that the North Koreans have a weapon that threatens all other societies…will not make this rescue mission an easy one for Davis. How does one just sneak into North Korea? Davis is asked to go because he can go in there as both “unofficial” and “deniable” if he were to get caught.

Dale Dye does a great job of taking the reader between the people pulling the strings back in the U.S.A., Mike Stokey in a real mess in North Korea, Shake Davis having to somehow find a way to track Mike down, their families having to live through not knowing what is happening to either of them, and those in the governments trying to cover up various operations. It becomes a very complicated (in a good way) story with a lot of tension, which keeps readers turning pages. Personally, I enjoyed the fact that there were short scenes, and the book kept taking the reader to different perspectives of what was happening on all sides, which culminated in a deadly confrontation in the midst of a howling storm. Readers will appreciate the action and tense drama in Dale A. Dye’s Chosin File.

Reviewed by: Joyce M. Gilmour (2012)

Author's Synopsis

Nuclear saber-rattling in North Korea has created international palpitations and some unlikely partnerships in an effort to keep communist loose cannons from causing a war that no one wants and everyone fears. The CIA calls on clandestine contacts in neighboring China to run a dark—and wholly unauthorized—reconnaissance mission over North Korea from a top-secret drone base along the Yalu River. All is well and under international radar until Gunner Shake Davis’ best friend goes missing on a mission near the infamous Chosin Reservoir to check on a tip that the North Koreans are up to something sinister around the infamous Chosin Reservoir. That brings Marine Gunner Shake Davis out of retirement once again to locate his buddy on a risky trek through the snow-blown mountains surrounding the Korean War battle site where an earlier generation of Marines fought a classic withdrawal that became an iconic chapter in military history. While Shake is on his risky mission, the North Korean Supreme Leader suddenly dies and the entire world goes on high alert to see what might happen next in Pyongyang. That puts serious pressure on Shake and his South Korean allies who have discovered—and must deter—a potentially world-shattering North Korean weapon that threatens the very fabric of modern computer-based societies. It’s a high-stakes game and the clock is ticking as an international team of technical experts and military special operators launch a desperate search that culminates in a deadly confrontation in the Korea Straits in the midst of a howling storm.