Thunder in the Morning Calm (Pacific Rim Series #1) by Don Brown
Published by Zondervan. Distributed by Brilliance Audio. Performed by Dick Hill.
Rating: * * *
Action-packed from start to finish, this unabashedly patriotic tale has the makings for a made-for-TV movie.
Lt. Commander “Gunner” McCormick hears rumors of a North Korean prison camp holding elderly American prisoners of war from the Korean War 60-some years prior. The possibility of finding and rescuing the POWs strikes a chord with him because his grandfather disappeared during the war and is officially listed as missing in action. When the opportunity arises, Gunner and his hastily formed commando group advance into North Korea to search out the camp and rescue the prisoners.
You may recognize performer Dick Hill from the Jack Reacher audiobooks. If you like his narration in that series, you will almost certainly enjoy this performance.
This work is labeled faith-based fiction, and that theme is prominent throughout.
On Two Fronts by Sgt. Adam Fenner and Lance Taubold
Copyright 2013 by 13Thirty Books
Rating: * * *
Sgt. Adam Fenner, deployed as a medic to Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard, and his friend at home, Lance Taubold, write about their separate experiences of the deployment. The book, written largely during the deployment, consists of each of them writing chapters in their own style and from their own perspective. The story concludes shortly after Adam’s return from Afghanistan.
I love the asides: notes from Adam included in a chapter by Lance, and vice versa. Often as simple as [Adam: Eye roll], the interactions make me chuckle. Lance’s splashy style contrasts with Adam’s pragmatism, making an interesting combination.
Lance is in patriotic, save-the-world mode from start to finish, as a way to support Adam. Adam is more matter-of-fact, only showing depth of emotion at one point, in the form of disillusionment following an explosion in a village thought to be friendly. Adam’s chapters convey mind-numbing boredom interspersed with fierce activity, which he indicates is usual for deployments. He speaks in broad terms about friendship and love, but rarely displays the emotion with which Lance’s chapters vibrate. Lance deals more directly with the fears and feelings of separation experienced by those at home, the things Adam downplays or puts out of mind in order to focus on the here and now in a combat zone.
I struggle with the timeline in the book, sometimes unable to determine what is present day and what is being recounted from earlier. All in all, an interesting read.
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers series #5) by John Sandford
Rating: * *
A mega-chain store is planning to build a supermart in a small town, threatening the livelihoods of existing businesses and sparking heated environmental protests. All to no avail: building plans advance despite the controversy. Until bombs start exploding. The first claims a life at the corporate headquarters of the mega-corp. The second kills a construction supervisor on the job site. More follow. The story starts with a bang (no pun intended) and progresses quickly through a series of events. Wisecracking Investigator Flowers has his hands full trying to narrow the list.
Flowers has an inflated sense of studliness which gets in the way of this story. Despite his trademark wry humor and cheeky dialogue, his self-importance takes over this novel.
Almost all the characters in this book utter quirky and off-beat phrases. While it’s not unusual for one person in a crowd to do that, it is unusual for all of them to speak that way. This, too, gets in the way of the story.
Flowers is an engaging and often enjoyable character. While this novel is not my favorite, it has sufficient action and excitement and witticisms that fans of the series will almost certainly enjoy it.