Media about zombies always seem to fall between two categories. You have the slow-and-somber kind like Max Brooks’ World War Z and George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, and then you have the guts-and-gore kind like the video game Dead Rising and Stuart Gordon’s Eaten Alive.
Before opening this book, I didn’t know which category Gary Hickman’s The Light Reapers: End of the World falls under. I didn’t even know this was a zombie novel at all. But by the time I closed it I was glad it was the latter. From page one, blood and viscera start flying out of the page, and it hardly ever stops to give you a chance to catch your breath.
It tells the story of the titular Light Reapers, a special operations unit with members that will annihilate anything that steps in their way. Everything goes south when they infiltrate a terrorist lab where a mysterious bioweapon is being created. Prior to the mission, they have little to no information about the lab or the weapon. The mission was supposed to be simple: “make it to the lab area, assess the situation, infiltrate the facility, secure the formula and any other intel, then exfil.” What they find is anything but. Now the virus is unleashed on the planet, driving the whole world into darkness and chaos.
As crazy as the synopsis may sound, Hickman chose to ground the story in reality with references to real-world events. Still, that doesn’t make it any less imaginative and entertaining. The moments of extreme gore sometimes happen so suddenly with such detailed descriptions that they border on cartoonish. Still, like the obviously fake blood in early Romero films, that’s the beauty of it. The thought of the world’s population turning into a mindless undead horde is a tad depressing, so you got to have a ton of fun to balance it out. And by “fun,” I mean blowing-chunks-off-a-zombie’s-torso kind of fun.
Now that you’re reading this review, it may be too late to say that the best way to experience The Light Reapers: End of the World is to go in blind. Walk in thinking you’re about to read a war novel, then come out with a new zombie book instead. But at the end of the day, it’s a bloody good time, and gorehounds will surely lap it up.
Pages: 303 | ASIN: B0945G5MMQ
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After writing masterpiece war thrillers like Dark Rain and Tremble, Colonel Dana Duthie brings us yet another riveting adventure in the life of pilot Brad Mitchell. This time, much of the action takes place in the Iranian airspace at the time when the Shah is in exile and seeking asylum in America for a medical condition. A U.S. Air Force squadron of F-4 Phantoms is deployed to Shiraz Air Base in Iran to train the Iranian Air Force (IAF) to fly the jets that they have purchased from the U.S.
However, things get hot after an American spy is captured by the Ayatollahs, who have grown in power. He is mysteriously extracted from the prison, and all hell starts to break loose. It is time for the U.S.A.F. to leave Iran. But things get complicated and difficult decisions need to be made, much to the enjoyment of the reader.
One of the jets is left behind and needs engine replacement. In the meantime, 14 Americans are held hostage by the opposition forces. This has eerie parallels to real life where we see the Taliban taking over Afghanistan and taking over old military equipment as the U.S. leaves the country. Our hero Brad Mitchell accompanies the Tango Team in the rescue mission. But once again, the operation is compromised as the Secretary of State Bob Taggart is seduced by a young Washington Post reporter. This complex web of relationships, that stretch across the globe, is something that author Dana Duthie excels at. This story does a great job of balancing human drama with tactical military action.
The story has tons of fighter pilot jargon, which firmly places readers within the unique world, but sometimes blunts momentum where we have to take in explanations of what it all means. But I’m sure readers who love to immerse themselves in the details of military procedures will have plenty of depth to dig through in this story.
Phantoms of the Shah gives longtime fans of author Dana Duthie more of the same military fiction they’ve come to enjoy. I would have liked a bit more action throughout the story, but otherwise I think this is a thrilling military adventure story that feels real, pays attention to details, and keeps the tension and intrigue high.
Pages: 239 | ASIN: B08QDSDK5K
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“One hundred and twenty Marines wounded. Eighteen dead. All for one lousy hill.”
Corpsman Orrin Connor’s faithful letters with a touching twist shield his parents from the horrors of war. His buddy Rawley Armstrong’s poignant letters give his sister the harrowing truths. Throughout their dangerous assignments during the Korean War, they debate the consequences of their choices. Orrin gains comfort in downplaying his experiences while Rawley feels a healing purge. As they get to know the Marines in their charge, the corpsmen gather a variety of opinions. Although Orrin and Rawley disagree, their friendship remains true until the bitter end.
“It all happened within minutes. For some, it would last a lifetime.”
Based on her father’s letters to his parents throughout the Forgotten War, author Christina Thompson has produced this work of historical fiction to pay tribute to Navy corpsmen by remembering their service to their brothers and their country. Imagining her father had guarded his parents from the carnage of war, Christina elaborates on what could have happened while staying true to the dates and experiences her father shared in his actual letters.
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Dark Rain is an exciting terrorist thriller written by former Air Force Pilot, Dana Duthie. The story opens up with the protagonist, Col. Brad Mitchell “Conan” flying in his F-16 along with his wingman who turns out to be an impersonator. At the same time, a series of similar “Starkville” penetration unfold at different parts of the States, including a failed attempt to bring down the White House. The investigation into the “Starkville” families reveals Barak El-Kamani as the main handler who is pulling all the strings.
Duthie has expertly utilized his twenty-four years of Air Force experience to paint a realistic picture of military operations with a detailed account of events, from the cockpit of the fighter jet to the White House Situation Room. The author has given a great deal of attention to character development as well. President McDivitt’s role remains refreshing throughout the operation. The Washington Post reporter portrays the tendency of media to go to any ends to get the news. The chapters are brief but very engaging, rarely losing focus on the action and events that are propelling this story forward. The chapters are organized according to the place where the events unfold. This allows the reader to understand the full scope of the story. Which is vital because this is a global story with far reaching effects. The riveting action in the story reminds me of the movie Top Gun, but mixed with the intrigue of Robert Ludlum novels.
Dark Rain is both a novel and an encyclopedia at the same time. The author has included a plethora of military and fighter pilot jargon which is likely to be a delight to any military enthusiast. While the beginning half of the book sets up the larger storyline, the ending half of the book is filled with thrilling action and combat. For anyone with a military background, especially the Air Force, Dark Rain is a goldmine.
Dark Rain is a captivating military thriller that takes readers around the globe and places them in the middle of some high stakes world politics that ensures there’s rarely a dull moment in this suspenseful action novel.
Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1645509699
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Out of Poland is a historical thriller following a group of Polish citizens who band together to fight Hitler’s forces. What was the inspiration for the idea behind your story?
We have long held that the three founders of the Enigma Series escaped Poland in 1939 during the German invasion. These heroes stole a copy of the Enigma Machine and put it on the last British plane out of the country. But they were shrewd enough to make a copy of it. Taking refuge in Switzerland the three broke the code and started their information brokering business to help victims of WWII recover and protect their wealth under the cover of the R-Group. Their children and grandchildren make up the cyber heroes of the Enigma Series.
We wanted to tell the harrowing tale of how they accomplished their deceptions and the risks are taken. Heroes born of the circumstances, especially under fire, sacrificing for what is morally right, for us, is a compelling story. We wanted to bring the realism of the war to our readers. We feel we accomplished this in our novella. We also created a screenplay which we have submitted for consideration with a few groups.
Was writing a historical fiction story a challenge or a nice change from writing technology thrillers?
Writing historical fiction, much like our novels in the series, requires accurate details. Breakfield has studied World War II for years. He has read hundreds of books of the battles, places, and people from English, American, German, and Russian authors. The details of the war in this novella are accurate, it is the circumstances of our heroes that are embellished to protect the unsung heroes of the travesty of overrunning Poland. Hitler was driven and we are grateful he was stopped.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
We wanted to convey the struggles of the people faced by war from a maniac who demanded harsh domination. Wars are ugly, bloody, and vicious filled with victims from all economic strata. We also highlight the racial prejudices that the invaders brought with them. No one is immune to the evils of war. Our German military is portrayed as a machine overrunning a proud country with passionate people.
We wanted to focus on the trials of the Polish people and the lengths they went to keep their beliefs alive. Without a properly equipped army or the support of the allies, escape was their best option. Illustrating that was key as was the part Russia played in the loss of Poland.
This is a novella-length story. Was that intentional or incidental to telling the story you wanted to tell?
The length of this story, like all our stories was a result of what we wanted to convey to readers. We are storytellers who are passionate about telling a great story. The drama, passion, tragedy, sorrow, triumph, and hope captured in our stories dictate the length. We believe this is a fabulous foundational story that created the basis of our current day technology thrillers of the Enigma Series. That focus is realized for us in this story. We want readers to gain that insight into our award-winning R-Group. We invite your readers to view the book trailer https://youtu.be/VnQOxg1rMgU of this story.
Beneath the storm clouds of a deadly war, three men are poised to unlock the secrets to redeem the world.
The setting is Poland 1939, Germans are marching toward Warsaw running their armor, and devastating swarms of armed soldiers, along with their cavalry. Fighting against the Nazi military machine is a death wish realized all too clearly.
The path of the invaders is paved with death, destructions, pillage, and woman brutalized at the hands of soldiers with no honor. As much as the citizens of Poland pray for a different outcome, everything they have known, loved, and grown up with is devastated.
Three young men are tasked with finding and extracting the German military communications device, Baby, that is kept under heavy guard. Polish patriots die to aid the three in getting the information and then fleeing with the prize. The race is on as the Germans try to match wits with the clever patriots who risk detection at every turn.
The Ambassador Ferdek Watcowski, insists that his son Ferdek along with Wolfgang and Tavius, take their families and flee while there is still time to reach a border. The goal of their journey is to escape with Baby intact.
Poland’s military is so outclassed by Hitler’s forces that survival is key to fighting another day. Facing great peril and odds against their survival, the men resolve to make a difference so that those who died helping them would not have sacrificed in vain. They vow to undertake a lifetime of fighting tyranny.
Successful survivors must look ahead.
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Blast from the Past starts with Kieran O’ Neill, who is on a break from his fast-paced military life when he receives a call about Sophie Tyson, a name he had not heard in ten years. We’re then taken ten years into their past, when Kieran was still an eighteen-year-old boy who had just joined the army and we get to see how he met Sophie Tyson, who by that time had already divorced her abusive husband, Simon. This riveting military romance novel follows their emotionally-charged journey of love, loss, and survival.
The story explores many important themes such as violence and domestic abuse, but what I liked most about this story was how those things are intermingled with contemporary issues that soldiers face like PTSD and their experiences in Afghanistan. The story adds a lot of depth to its characters while weaving a complex portrait of military life that goes beyond the strategy, shooting, and death we often think of when reading action novels. Don’t get me wrong, the novel has plenty of action, but I appreciated the subtle but thoughtful commentary on the human condition found within this story.
The plot is well constructed and is easily engaging right from the prologue. With a fluid style of writing I was easily engrossed in the story. This is a character focused story, leaving the background and scenery up to the readers imagination, which is helpful in keeping focused on the emotional aspect of the novel.
This is a unique story for me because it plays with being an action novel and a romance novel. The blending of the two, along with the engaging characters, ensures readers will be thoroughly entertained with the story. The alluring relationship between Kieran and Sophie is what kept me coming back to this novel again and again.
Blast from the Past is an engaging story that explores a haunted past and a heartfelt relationship in unique ways. The military theme of the novel will certainly appeal to anyone looking for an action oriented romance story with captivating characters.
Pages: 328 | ASIN: B08L5D2WQF
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A future world ravaged by climate change hasn’t seen anything yet. From beneath the ground, the depths of the oceans and from high in the endless skies a trio of massive creatures rise with only one thing in mind… destruction. These gigantic monsters will spare no one and nothing, not even each other as they battle mankind and one another for world domination.
Jason Bagley heads up a team of climate soldiers. Their sleek, futuristic airships meant to battle the unpredictable forces of the weather are now the only weapon against the unimaginable. After the world’s armies fall to the fearsome Kaiju it comes down to Jason and his team to defend the imperfect world they love against their new Kaiju Overlords.
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Serpents Underfoot finds JD Cordell facing a terrorist group that plans to detonate nukes on US soil. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
This story grew out of thoughts I have had about what it would be like to be a Spec Ops warrior. I served in the military and spent most of my time overseas. I served in the Army infantry, and when I enlisted, I scored high enough on the ASVAB test to get Ranger School in my contract. Unfortunately, when they discovered I had a slight speech impediment, they would not send me to Ranger School. There were going to let me out because they couldn’t honor their end of the deal, but I asked to stay. Hell, I could still shoot pretty darn well. So, I guess it is, at least in part, a fantasy about what might have been.
Combine that with a lifetime study of martial arts, the political climate at the time, my interest in Asian culture, and you have the birth of this story.
The rest is simply a bunch of “what if” questions. For instance, what if a soldier in Vietnam married a Vietnamese girl who saved his life? What if their son became a Navy SEAL, and what if his team uncovered a major terrorist plot? What if it involved high-ranking US government officials? You get the idea …
JD Cordell is essentially a composite of several people I have known and respected. While I was a bit too young to serve in Vietnam, I was old enough to have several good friends who did. One friend, in particular, served as a medic on long-range reconnaissance patrols in the region the first few chapters of Serpents Underfoot is set in. I also know a couple of former Navy SEALS, one of which recently passed away. He was actually an Underwater Demolition Team member and served in the Mekong Delta region during the Vietnam War. The UDT teams were essentially forerunners of the Navy SEALs.
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
I guess you could say the writing challenges were pretty extensive, and they essentially set themselves. Serpents Underfoot was my first serious attempt at a book. I am still amazed that I finished it, published it, and have gotten some pretty rave reviews, including Literary Titan’s excellent review and many great reader reviews. It even got a good review from Kirkus.
And I did make a lot of newbie mistakes. It was self-edited, which I learned right away is not a good idea. I used an editor, Beth Kallman Werner, for my second book, Montagnard. She was a great help and worth the investment. But for Serpents Underfoot, there were several frantic re-edits and uploads of the book’s interior as readers pointed out problems or typos to me. I knew nothing about launching a book release or marketing. I mean, in reality, writing it was probably the easy part. It has even gone through four different cover revisions.
All that being said, I wouldn’t trade anything for the experience. I grew so much as an author during that process. We learn so much more from our mistakes than our successes.
What draws you to the military action-thriller genre?
It is a genre I have always enjoyed reading. I like action thrillers of all kinds and have read a great deal by authors like Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, W.E.B. Griffin, Ken Follett, Greg Iles, Vince Flynn, and Ian Fleming, to name just a few.
I was also a huge Louis L’Amour western fan, so I guess this kind of thing comes naturally. I like stories where despite terrible odds, the good guys win. Louis L’Amour had a great quote I’ve always loved, “There’s no stopping a man who knows he’s in the right and keeps a-coming.” I think JD Cordell personifies that quote.
And I also love reading military history, especially World War II and the Vietnam War. As I mentioned, I have had several friends over the years who were Vietnam Veterans, and I was appalled by how this country treated them on their return to the US. So, I like to write stories that cast American military members in a positive light; who stand on principle and won’t back down.
Serpents Underfoot is the first book in The JD Cordell Action Series. What can readers expect in book two?
Book two, titled Montagnard, is already out. I sort of did this “review thing” out of order. Montagnard also received a 5-Star review from Literary Titan and even won your Literary Titan Gold Book Award for August 2020. I was shocked but very thrilled. I have to give a lot of credit for that to my editor. Beth told me it was good and that I should submit it for review. It was that success that prompted me to submit Serpents Underfoot as well.
In Montagnard, JD Cordell and a few buddies try to rescue his mother, who disappears into Vietnam after traveling there to find her adopted brother. Dish, of course, played a significant role in Serpents Underfoot. JD’s mother, Mai, inadvertently falls victim to an old feud between her adopted brother and a former Viet Cong colonel. During the rescue mission, JD also receives assistance from a half-Thai, half-American nightclub owner, a great character full of surprises.
I am currently working on book three, titled Reciprocity. This tale picks up where Montagnard leaves off. In Reciprocity, JD finds himself drawn into a deadly conflict with a criminal gang trafficking young women forced into lives of prostitution. In this case, two young women you meet in Montagnard. It is a dark topic but, sadly, all too relevant in today’s world. I hope this book, while fiction, will help bring this topic to more people’s attention.
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