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Mr. Joe (Glendale, CA USA)
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Resolution: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure
Resolution: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure
Price: £2.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Bright needs his own series, 21 May 2016
“… Huck liked to think of Ned Buntline – the man who wrote those books – as roasting in hell.” – from RESOLUTION, as Huck regrets the dime novels that exaggerated his exploits as a former lawman

RESOLUTION is the third offering by Andrew Joyce in his post-Mark Twain Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer – but mostly Huck – series. It sequels REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, which follows the adventures of (mostly) Huck and Tom after they desert the Confederate army, and Molly Lee, which tells the adult life story of Molly Lee, a Virginia farm girl saved from a Union Army rapist by Huck after he and Tom desert and who sets out to follow her savior to the ends of the earth after he departs her family’s farm. Huck apparently isn’t the sort to settle down.

In RESOLUTION, it’s 1896. Molly is in her 50s and Huck is approaching 60. Finally reunited in New York City at the end of MOLLY LEE, the two set out for Alaska after a brief stop out West to visit Tom, now a town sheriff.

Despite Huck’s unfavorable opinion of Ned Buntline, and specifically that writer’s sensationalized stories of the West and crime published in the mid-nineteenth century, Joyce’s three books of the series to date are but extended versions of the genre – simple pulp thrillers untrammeled by any nuances related to morality or ethics. Huck and Molly are upright and noble heroes, period, that confront a succession of dangers and deadly tough spots greater in number during a short period than anyone should realistically face – many of their own making. And through it all, they endure to come out relatively with barely a strand of hair mussed out of place. Over the long haul, however, Huck may develop a drinking problem – his Achilles heel, perhaps, if he doesn't tread carefully.

Our heroes are aided by one of the most appealing characters of the story, a lead sled dog named Bright.

RESOLUTION renders the reader a valuable service in providing a brief accounting, based on fact, of the beginning of the Klondike gold rush of 1896.

RESOLUTION is an uncomplicated action adventure to be read simply to go with the flow of events, perhaps on a cross-country plane flight or cruise up the Inside Passage to Skagway – a 5-star representation of the genre if that’s what will satisfy at the moment.


The Plantagenets
The Plantagenets
by Dan Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.14

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reminder of the start of a forty-year love affair, 9 May 2016
This review is from: The Plantagenets (Paperback)
Growing up in Southern California during the late 50s and early 60s in a middle-class WASP environment, I, an avid reader born of two avid readers, was almost predestined to be exposed to stories of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and King Richard the Lionheart. Plus, going to a Catholic grade school, we learned of King Henry VIII, who treated several of his wives most shamefully and tore his realm from the bosom of Mother Church. Thus, by 1975, I was primed for my first visit to England. Upon my return, I stumbled upon the magnificent 4-volume set on the Plantagenet kings by Thomas Costain (THE CONQUERING FAMILY, THE MAGNIFICENT CENTURY, THE THREE EDWARDS, THE LAST PLANTAGENETS). I was hooked then, and for life, on British history, and I’ve returned to the island more times than I can offhand remember and travelled to all its corners and most points in between.

THE PLANTAGENETS by Dan Jones, though it concludes with Richard II while Costain’s series continues to Richard III’s overthrow by Henry Tudor (Henry VII), is simply a magnificent reminder to me four decades later why I came to love England and Great Britain more perhaps than my own country.

THE PLANTAGENETS contains eight pages of color photos. Surprisingly, it’s in this section that I noticed a glaring mistake, rather surprising since the book as a whole is obviously such a work of love for the author. One of the snaps is of Conwy, one of Edward I’s Welsh castles. The trouble is, it’s not Conwy, but Harlech. That’s like mislabeling a photo of London’s Westminster Cathedral (Roman Catholic) as St. Paul’s Cathedral (Anglican). The two are very different in appearance and identity. (I trust one also knows the difference between Westminster CATHEDRAL and Westminster ABBEY.)

The appalling error in the photo section aside, if you can’t find Costain’s books, then that by Jones is a splendid narrative on the subject. Honor is due Dan for the effort and research it took to write it.


The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War
The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War
by Jeff Shaara
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Flags, 14 April 2016
“… (General) Thomas raised the glasses again, stared into vast clouds of smoke, caught glimpses of blue, a clearing now, solid blue mass, realized with a sudden bolt that he was looking at the crest of the hill. He saw it now, unmistakable, the hard flutter of a flag, which seemed to be the Stars and Stripes. He strained to see, wouldn’t accept the image, not yet, wouldn’t allow himself to feel anything but the awful nagging fear that the assault was still rolling over into catastrophe … He strained to see, scanned the crest of the ridgeline, another clearing through the smoke, saw it again, a different place, saw another flag, surrounded by a mass of blue spreading out along the top of the hill. The hope came now, a burst of optimism, and he held it inside, couldn’t be certain of anything, not yet, not until word came from the commanders. Beside him, (General Ulysses) Grant grunted, then said, ‘It appears, General, that some of your boys made it to the top.’” – from THE SMOKE AT DAWN, Major General George Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland – against orders – storms the summit of Confederate-held Missionary Ridge

Jeff Shaara’s THE SMOKE AT DAWN, the third volume in the 4-volume set on the American Civil War in the West – preceded by A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh and A Chain of Thunder: A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg (Novel of the Civil War) and followed by The Fateful Lightning: A Novel of the Civil War – is the author’s historical novelization of the Battle of Chattanooga in which General Grant, who recently captured Vicksburg and now commands the Military Division of the Mississippi, is sent east to rescue Major General William Rosecran’s Army of the Cumberland under siege in Chattanooga by Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee after the former is routed by the latter at the Battle of Chickamauga.

THE SMOKE AT DAWN is a series of chapters from the points of view of Major General Grant, Major General William Sherman (new commander of the Union's Army of the Tennessee), Major General Thomas (new commander of the Army of the Cumberland), Union Private Fritz Bauer (a sniper previously in the 17th Wisconsin now transferred at his request to the 18th U.S. Regulars), General Braxton Bragg, and Major General Patrick Cleburne (a Confederate division commander).

As always, Shaara’s strength in the narrative is his clear depiction of the battle’s salient actions and his use of those actions as vehicles for portraying the characters of the principle players. Here, they’re the taciturn and brooding Grant, the gifted but oddly insecure Sherman, the able but unappreciated Thomas, the choleric and paranoiac Bragg, the efficient and energetic Cleburne, and the dutiful Bauer.

The several battlefield maps in the book are adequate, but not to the standard of the best I’ve come across, i.e. those in Timothy Smith's Champion Hill.

In Civil War land battles, the placement of flags could indicate victory or defeat. Here, the Stars and Stripes spotted atop Missionary Ridge signaled an unanticipated victory. In the author’s immediately previous novelization of the siege of Vicksburg, A CHAIN OF THUNDER, it was:

"Grant pushed the horse forward, moved slowly toward (Major General) Logan, the man turning to him, a salute, and then a tip of the hat. Grant could see now that Logan had tears on his face ... A breeze rose now, soft and warm, and between the ragged lines of rebel soldiers, Grant saw what Logan had already seen. Along the crest of the defensive works, scattered between the men, there was a fluttering of white flags."

Now that Chattanooga is secured and can become a Federal military supply center, Sherman, as the new head of the Military Division of the Mississippi, will march to thrust the Stars and Stripes into Georgia. I’ll be there with THE FATEFUL LIGHTNING.


A Century of Great Western Stories
A Century of Great Western Stories
by John Jakes
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Closing out unfinished business at the end of a trail, 5 April 2016
My Mom was an avid reader all her life and, in later life, acquired a taste for westerns, particularly those by Louis L’Amour. To broaden her horizons, I purchased for her A CENTURY OF GREAT WESTERN STORIES. Unfortunately, her last years were spent confined to a bed and she lost all interest in or energy for reading inasmuch as she was constantly drowsing or sleeping under pain medication, so this volume went unread.

Salvaged from her personal effects, I figured I owed it to her memory to read A CENTURY OF GREAT WESTERN SHORT STORIES even though I’ve never been much attracted to the written genre.

Here, in 525 pages encompassing thirty chapters, the reader meets the wide panoply of characters that inhabit Western Fiction: lawman, gunslinger, gambler, mountain man, miner, homesteader, rancher, cowpoke, bandit, Indian warrior. Not so unexpectedly, or at least it shouldn’t be, a couple of them are women. That said, however, the one stereotyped character we don’t meet is the frontier prostitute (with the proverbial heart of gold); that perhaps is surprising since the male testosterone levels in rough and tumble mining towns and newly established cattle hubs discouraged the influx of “respectable” women and left a vacuum for the “soiled doves” to fill.

Back in the 50’s and early 60’s when I was a lad, television westerns were pervasive. Rawhide - The Complete Series One [DVD] was my favorite. Then, Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) graduated to Silver Screen “spaghetti westerns” and I was vastly entertained. Even Henry Fonda did them.

In the past couple of decades, westerns seem to have fallen out of relative favor notwithstanding the infrequent appearance of such greats as Lonesome Dove [1989] [DVD], Unforgiven [1992] [DVD], Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD], and Open Range [DVD] and such lesser lights as Tombstone [DVD], Wyatt Earp [DVD] [1994], and The Quick And The Dead [DVD] [1998].

Against this background, A CENTURY OF GREAT WESTERN SHORT STORIES recalls to the Big Screen of my mind the allure of the genre of westerns I grew up with. The vast majority of the thirty stories are of four or five-star quality. The reader will have his or her favorites; mine were “The Shaming of Broken Horn” and “Hell on the Draw,” the former because it revolves around a settler wife’s apple pie and the latter because it contains a preternatural element. They’re both quirky.

The story I liked the least – 1 star – was “Candles in the Bottom of the Pool.” While it took place in the West, Arizona near as I can tell, it wasn’t a “western” by my traditional perception of the term. It was a fairly contemporary story of a wealthy psychotic that could have just as well been set in Beverly Hills.

In short, then, it was enormously satisfying to revisit the Sagebrush Saga in this format. I wish Mom had had the chance to read it.


New York Night: The 7th Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller
New York Night: The 7th Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller
Price: £3.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where are the Archangels when you need ‘em?, 10 Mar. 2016
“As he accelerated down the driveway he saw a figure standing off to the left. Two figures. A girl dressed all in black and, standing by her side, a black and white collie. The girl blew Nightingale a kiss as he drove by but when he looked in the rearview mirror there was nobody there.” – the last lines of NEW YORK NIGHT

Fresh off a Dark Side trouble-shooting assignment on the U.S. West Coast (in the last installment of the series, San Francisco Night: The 6th Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller) for his rich occultist pal Joshua Wainright, ex-London cop Jack Nightingale is inserted into New York City by the former on a new mission to investigate a couple of very grisly murders with devilish overtones. One begins to sense a pattern to Jack’s adventures.

One question that now only occurs to me is: What side is Wainright on? He’s apparently a Satanist wishing to keep the excesses of that belief system under wraps and/or under control. Doesn’t that make him an accessory?

Despite the predictability that Joshua flying in on his private jet to give Nightingale his latest assignment imparts to the plot, NEW YORK NIGHT at least has author Stephen Leather’s hero achieving an escalating level of conflict with diabolical beings. The three here in this story are especially nasty. The pressure on Leather, of course, is to continue ramping up the stakes in future episodes. At some point, Nightingale is going to have to confront Lucifer himself, perhaps in a Motel 6 in Tupelo. TUPELO NIGHT rolls off the tongue, don’t you think?

Another question comes to mind. If Jack can summon demons at the drop of a hat with some chalk, a few candles, and some incense, how come he can’t whistle up a couple of Archangels – Michael and Raphael, perhaps – to help him kick demonic butt? Are the members of the Heavenly Host too busy blowing trumpets around the throne of the Big Guy?

The best part of this series continues to be Jack’s evolving relationship with Proserpine. Eventually, I suspect, the two will be drinking buddies and the former will be feeding canine treats to her collie. Good doggie!


Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
by Mark Miodownik
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars When getting back-stabbed works out for the best, 5 Mar. 2016
“As I stood on a train bleeding from what would later be classified as a thirteen-centimeter stab wound, I wondered what to do… (The incident) was the birth of my obsession with materials – starting with steel.” – from STUFF MATTERS

As a schoolboy in 1985, STUFF MATTERS author Mark Miodownik was stabbed while in the London Tube by an assailant wielding a razor blade. Later, seeing a razor’s edge glinting in the fluorescent lights of the local police station, Mark was launched into a life-defining raptness with the make-up of Stuff. He became a materials scientist.

In the eleven chapters of this book in the popular science genre, the author delves into the nature of steel, paper, concrete, chocolate, aerogel, nitrocellulose plastic, glass, carbon, ceramic, and engineered body part replacements – the lack of which would put Man back into the Stone Age.

Mark shares his vast knowledge in an engaging and informal style. The book includes several of his hand-sketched drawings such as he might produce on a cocktail napkin over a pint with you in a pub near his South Bank home in London. Only once does he try too hard; when his discussion of nitrocellulose is presented as a film screenplay. Perhaps he shouldn’t give up his day job just yet.

For me, the best thing about popular science presentations, including STUFF MATTERS, is that I learn cool facts that will stay with me. For instance, I always thought concrete dried. But it actually traps all the internal water as it cures, i.e. when the calcium silicate fibrils in the cement “crystalize.” And the author’s description of the classic way in which porcelain tea cups are produced was more fascinating than it seems it should be.

It’s all good stuff.


The Wind Is Not a River
The Wind Is Not a River
by Brian Payton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars And jelly beans aren't M&Ms, either, 27 Feb. 2016
“Some men have the great misfortune to stand at life’s continental divide and see that the land beyond is barren. There is no hope of turning back. What does one do with this view?” – from THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER

THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER by Brian Payton takes the reader to a place rarely visited – the Japanese-occupied islands of the Aleutian chain during World War II.

Journalist John Easley, determined to penetrate the U.S. Army’s cordon around its operations in Alaska against the invaders, cons his way aboard a flying boat sent to reconnoiter the Japanese held island of Attu. After the plane is shot down, Easley must survive in the cold, barren place for weeks while eluding capture.

Back in Seattle, John’s wife Helen regrets the last words she spoke to her husband before he left for points north: “If you leave now, don’t bother coming back. Because I won’t be here if you do.” Once Easley goes missing, she sets out to find him against all odds.

The best part of THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER is the superficial information it provides about the American invasion of Attu in May 1943. It compels me, at least, to find out more about this pretty much ignored battle.

The least compelling aspect of the novel is its title. One must read well into the book before there's an explanation, sort of. Even then, my reaction was an unconvinced “huh?” I guess one had to be there and perhaps hallucinatory with hunger.

Of the two characters, Helen is the most engaging, and her half of this unusual tale was the most rewarding, especially as it incorporates a little about another largely ignored topic - early USO road shows performed for troops in the field.

Just over the 4-star line, then, for a plot conceived outside the box.


Knife, The : A Novel
Knife, The : A Novel
by Ross Ritchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.08

5.0 out of 5 stars A band of brothers in the here and now, 20 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Knife, The : A Novel (Paperback)
“Shaw knows there will always be (high value targets) to chase until they killed them all, and they never will. Never could. So he can go on chasing them forever and they will him until his ghosts have all left him. And they never will. He’d rather charge among them than flee only to be overrun in the end.” – the last lines of THE KNIFE

Six years ago, I read a novel about the Vietnam War, Matterhorn. It was superb, though I couldn’t properly say it was the best I’d ever read because that implies I’d read others, and I hadn’t (or at least none that were memorable). The same applies here for the first work by author Ross Ritchell, THE KNIFE, about the war in Afghanistan.

Ross embeds us into a squad of military special operatives: Shaw, Hagan, Massey, Dalonna, Cooke. They’re on deployment to Afghanistan as part of a larger unit whose mission is to seek out and kill high value targets (HVT) on surgical strikes. Shaw is the squad leader.

The military branch of Shaw’s squad goes unidentified, and nobody’s rank is given – even that of the overall Commanding Officer – to provide a clue. But Ritchell was a former member of the U.S. Special Operations Command, which includes units of all branches (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force), and so it doesn’t make that much difference to the story. However, one can perhaps safely assume they’re Army.

Other reviewers have criticized THE KNIFE as being amateurishly written. Oh, puhleeze! Give the author a break; it’s his first novel. Perhaps they don’t understand the concept of Learning Curve. In any case, I don’t agree with that assessment. I was engaged by the tale from first page to last without any qualifiers.

By now, it should be understood that squaddies in the front trenches don’t fight for Queen, flag, and Jam Roly-Poly (or whatever is the national dessert of relevance). Rather, they fight for each other – the “band of brothers.” I believe this to be the theme of THE KNIFE, the concept which Ross is trying to communicate. It’s not about the military actions. It’s not plot driven. It’s character driven in the aggregate.

Ritchell lodges the reader into Shaw’s squad, where we learn about each member and the relationships that tie them together as a unit. So, as the plot unfolds, we will then understand the nature and impact of its conclusion.

If Ritchell pens another book, I’m in.


The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Anne-Marie O'Connor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Peace versus atonement, 9 Feb. 2016
"They say now Austria was a victim of the Nazis. Believe me, there were no victims. The women were throwing flowers, the church bells were ringing. They welcomed them with open arms. They were jubilant." - Maria Altmann, Adele Bloch-Bauer's niece, who pursued the return of "The Lady in Gold" portrait

"Those who have heard the story of the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer can never again see her as a 'lady in gold.' Frozen in Vienna's golden moment, Adele achieved her dream of immortality, far more than she ever could have imagined." - from THE LADY IN GOLD

In 1907, the celebrated Austrian artist Gustav Klimt created a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a prominent member of Vienna's Jewish high society and perhaps Klimt's lover. He entitled the painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" (as opposed to his 1912 "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II").

Following the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in 1938, Klimt's art was among that declared degenerate by the Nazis. His portraits, paintings, and drawings were appropriated or destroyed. His Jewish patrons had their assets stolen, then were driven to suicide, forced into exile, or sent to the camps.

Much of Klimt's art survived World War II. The "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I", renamed by the Nazis "The Lady in Gold" to erase its subject's Jewishness, was in the possession of Vienna's Belvedere, a former royal palace reincarnated as a national art gallery. Subsequently, Austria and the Belvedere vigorously resisted any calls for the restitution of all stolen art to its former owners, Jewish or otherwise.

The 2015 film Woman In Gold [DVD] starred Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer living in Los Angeles, who successfully obliged the Austrian government to return the 1907 painting of her aunt (and four other Klimts) to the family in 2006.

This book, THE LADY IN GOLD by Anne-Marie O'Connor, is essentially the comprehensive narrative back story of the movie - Klimt, his art, the Bloch-Bauer family, Adele, Maria, the effects of the 1938 Nazi Anschluss and the war years on all the story's characters who survived - as well as the fight to get the portrait returned to the Bloch-Bauer descendants and the aftermath of the restoration.

As the author states on the last page of her book, those readers of it who have seen or will see the "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" will now not see that artwork (currently on display in New York City's Neue Galerie) from the same perspective.

Having viewed the film and now read this book, I cannot but admire the author's thoroughness in telling the background to the former. It is, perhaps, too thorough. The ripples of Klimt's artwork touched many peripheral characters in the Bloch-Bauer family and unrelated contemporaries, and O'Connor didn't hesitate to include them in the narrative. As the war years progressed and the experiences of these individuals were portrayed, my reaction was: "Who ARE these people?" In any case, they were quickly and easily forgotten as I followed the path of the "Lady in Gold" portrait. Thus, the book is in need of some serious editing.

The two protagonists in the film were Maria (Mirren) and her lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds). This focus might perhaps lead the viewer to believe that their battle to lever the five Klimt paintings out of Austria's grasp was a crusade universally supported by the four other involved heirs. The book reveals this not to be the case. Indeed, Maria's niece Nelly, a renowned cell biologist living in Canada, bitterly opposed the action. Then, once Austria gave them up, there was internecine disagreement on whether they should be donated to museums to ensure public display, which is what Adele ostensibly wanted, or sold at auction, which might cause them to disappear and never again be seen. Since it's a matter of public record, it's not a spoiler to point out that all five works of art were eventually sold for $327.7 million split 40:60 between Schoenberg and the heirs. And the author states that the four works other than "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" have vanished into private collections.

"Nelly wanted peace. Maria wanted atonement - recognition of a world swept away, an act of contrition." - from THE LADY IN GOLD

The effect of the book on the film, with the former's documentation of family infighting and a whiff of grubby cupidity, is to perhaps dull some of the luster of the gold leaf surrounding Adele. And nothing can place Austria in a better light.

Last October, while on vacation in NYC, my wife and I stopped by the Neue Galerie specifically to inspect Adele's famous likeness. The museum was closed (on a Tuesday afternoon, can you believe!). I wish now we'd made more of an effort to return on Thursday.


Silent Enemy
Silent Enemy
by Tom Young
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bludgeoning the question “What could possibly go wrong?”, 25 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Silent Enemy (Paperback)
When we last met the central characters of this story, Major Michael Parson and Sergeant Major Sophia Gold, it was in Tom Young’s previous book, The Mullah's Storm, set several years previous in Afghanistan. At that time, Parson was the navigator aboard a C-130 transport carrying a high-value Taliban prisoner and translator Gold that is shot down over the Hindu Kush. Parson and Gold survive the crash of the transport, but the latter is captured and tortured by the Taliban. Parson, a survivalist and a crack shot, goes to her rescue.

Here in SILENT ENEMY, which again begins in Afghanistan, Gold, now an English language instructor of Afghan police personnel, sustains cracked ribs when the police HQ is Kabul is devastated by an explosion. Along with several severely injured Afghanis, she’s placed aboard a C-5 Globemaster, the U.S. military’s largest air transporter, for evacuation to a medical facility in Germany. The plane is piloted by Parson, who’s upgraded his skill set and job description since we first met.

Shortly after achieving level flight, the C-5 receives a cryptic radio message from ground control not to descend under any circumstances. They later learn that the Taliban has claimed that all aircraft leaving Bagram air base that day had bombs placed aboard. Parson and his crew are told that at least one other transport has gone down, presumably from a bomb activated by a barometric trigger.

A search of their own aircraft reveals a bomb secreted in the tail assembly with an apparent tilt-activated trigger attached externally (in addition to the presumed internal barometric trigger). I must point out here that this isn’t a plot spoiler. Indeed, the explosive device is only the tip of Parson’s and Gold’s subsequent problems.

As a myriad of crises begin to accumulate for the Globemaster and its riders, one is tempted to read the pages through spread fingers with increasing dread. However, after a certain point, as the author continues to pile-on challenges for those on-board to apparently bludgeon the question “What could possibly go wrong?”, I simply wanted to put my head in my hands and suspend belief. I mean, really? By comparison, the troubled flight of Apollo 13 was but an inconvenienced carriage ride in Central Park.

Sometimes, less is better. This is one of those times. Though I finished the book and can state categorically that it is a “thriller," reaching the last page was a relief that I could move on to something on my shelf not so over-the-top. I’ll just award a neutral three stars recognizing SILENT ENEMY isn’t my cup of tea and leave it to other reviewers to rate it highly or not.


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