Frederick Forsyth’s “The Dogs of War”

Somehow, I went 36 years without reading this book.  That has now been rectified.

I did see the 1980 movie, with Christopher Walken (very young and not quite as wooden and weird as he is now) some years ago.  It follows the book for the most part, though it adds a few things.

One of the elements that the movie adds is that it makes The Dogs of War an action-adventure.  Which, while there is both, the book really isn’t.  The actual coup, “The Big Killing,” as Part Three is appropriately titled, doesn’t start until Page 335.  There are scattered bits of violence elsewhere, but that’s not really what the book is about.

You see, the book is a manual for the preparation and execution a mercenary-led coup in a Third World country, in the 1960s. Continue reading “Frederick Forsyth’s “The Dogs of War””

Another Article, and Another Review

My latest is up on Breach-Bang-Clear, concerning weapons being, in the words of Sam in Ronin, “A toolbox.”  Knowing your tools means that firearms aren’t like the latest iPhone.  (Of course, the Facebook comments on B-B-C’s page have already gone off the rails…never read the FB comments!)

The NRA recently decided to disallow revolvers and 1911s from their “Carry Guard” classes. They have since reversed that decision, probably after millions of gun owners took to the internet to tell them it was stupid). This decision seems to have once again highlighted the differing opinions in the firearms community about what is and is not an “obsolete” firearm.

I almost said, “reignited the debate,” but who are we kidding? It’s never stopped.

Read the rest on Breach-Bang-Clear.

Also, a fellow denizen of the “Men’s Adventure Paperbacks of the ’70s and ’80s” Group on Facebook, Greg Hatcher, has read and reviewed Lex Talionis.  It is an excellent review.

“I’m not much of a joiner, usually, but I do belong to an online community that is devoted to reading and collecting the men’s adventure paperbacks that dominated drugstore spinner racks in the sixties and seventies.

It happens that many of us write the stuff as well, and one of our number, Peter Nealen, asked if any of us would be interested in reviewing his latest. Of course I lunged at it, despite the appalling size of my to-read pile.”

Read the rest here.  (You will have to scroll down a bit, Greg’s post is a bit of a grab-bag.  Not unlike this one.)

Now That Was Downright Poetic

Reader Samuel, on Goodreads, has posted his review of Lex Talionis.  What he wrote can only be described as, “high praise, indeed.”

TAPS

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.” – USMC General (Ret) James Mattis.

“Let’s roll”. – Todd Beamer.

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”- Nathan Hale.

“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out…you might as well appeal against the thunder-storm.”- US Army General William T Sherman.

I’ve always held that Orwell, creator of the most iconic dystopia was wrong about many things. Contrary to his writings, what we hate, will not destroy humanity. Kill some of us perhaps, but that hatred, will keep the embers of life, of defiance burning to let us endure such suffering. No, what will destroy us, as argued by Huxley, will be what we love, cherish, and take for granted. The delusion that the residents of a civilized society are owed freedom from speech and freedom from fear, from cradle to the grave, has led to such freedoms being used, irresponsibly, and some might argue, immaturely.

The freedoms that many claim to cherish, have been squandered, soiled and stained, since 2017 began, with odious, smug extremism corrupting millions around the world. Every idea, however wretched or ill thought out in this age, is just as valid, or even more so than the ideas that have worked and been the foundations of modern society. One is not owed freedom from beginning to end. But for those who demand freedom, there is an obligation to nurture and protect it with care, rather than let it be choked by the weeds of petty squabbling generated by the virus of self-righteousness that has infected all political discourse in the West.

One person who has more than lived up to his obligations in nurturing freedom is Peter Nealen. Mr Nealen is a veteran of the revered USMC Force Recon unit. Serving his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nealen has made a fruitful business as an indie thriller writer. He has written a series of urban fantasy novels and a contemporary military thriller novel, but the crown jewel, where he cut his teeth and made his name is the dystopian American Praetorian series. Characterized by cutting edge research, visceral violence that is in a class above half the NYT bestseller list of 2017, a cast of amoral but loveable consummate professionals and a haunting and horrifyingly recognizable fictional universe, the AP saga, is indie thriller writing at its very best.

Focusing on the life and times of Jeff Stone, a private military contractor who finds himself drawn into an epic, globe spanning war in the shadows, Nealen, surprised many fans by stating he would end things on the fifth book – and then actually going through with it. As someone who has grown to love the series, I must confess I was a little sad, and intrigued. With so much narrative potential in the AP setting, would such a conclusion be satisfying? I really should have not doubted the author as Mr Nealen went above and beyond all expectations.

Read the rest on Goodreads.

Book Re-Review: “The Maverick Experiment”

This post is a bit of an apology, truth be told.  I reviewed this book a few years ago, on the now-defunct “Hot Extract.”  Overall, I found the book to be a decent shooter thriller, and something of a wish-fulfillment fantasy for a lot of shooters who have been in the sandbox and the rock-pile, chasing ghosts and being yanked back by the choke-chain by higher whenever it seemed like they might get somewhere to the shooters and go too far to higher. Continue reading “Book Re-Review: “The Maverick Experiment””

Book Review: Iron Chamber of Memory

As you may have determined from my review of Somewhither, I have been impressed by the work of John C. Wright.  Somewhither was an awesome roller coaster ride with as much depth as it had spectacle.

Iron Chamber of Memory is different.  It is a much slower burn.  Don’t get me wrong, there is action, adventure, and derring-do.  There is also romance, though in more than one sense.  I’ll get to that in a bit.

Slower burn or no, unlike Somewhither, I read Iron Chamber of Memory in a day.  Thanksgiving Day, to be precise.  It’s taken me this long to write the review because how to review such a book was a bit of a conundrum.

The story starts out with Hal Landfall, a poor graduate student working on a paper on Arthurian legend, looking for his missing friend Manfred on the island of Sark.  (Sark is a real place, a small island in the English Channel, just east of Guernsey.)  Manfred has recently become the hereditary lord of Sark, and Hal is seeking him in the middle of the night, at a bizarrely labyrinthine mansion where the Lords of Sark reside, presently unoccupied.  (Unlike the island, the mansion, I regret to say, is fictional.)  There he falls in with Laurel, Manfred’s fiancee, who is also looking for her husband-to-be.  They find a way inside the mansion and begin to explore, before stumbling on a strange, rose-lit chamber.  As soon as they step through the door, they realize that everything they know about their lives outside is a lie.  Only in that chamber do they know the truth.

So, it starts out as something of a supernatural whodunit, with a side of sorcery-tainted love triangle.  But that’s just where it starts.  It goes oh, so much deeper, and darker, as Hal tries to sort out real memories from false, and slowly comes to understand the deeper spiritual and metaphysical reality that his surface life is plastered over.

When I first saw the blurb for the book, my first thought was that it sounded right up the Jed Horn alley.  I wasn’t wrong.  I wasn’t entirely right, either.  It’s deeper.  Far deeper.  If I can manage to get a fraction of the depth of John’s stories into the Jed Horn series, I figure I’ll be doing all right.

Do yourselves a favor and pick up Iron Chamber of Memory.  I tell you this while taking the definite risk that it will make my own stories pale in comparison.  Go read it, anyway.

Book Review: Somewhither

How does one describe John C Wright’s Somewhither?  That is, indeed the question.

While this book won the Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction novel this year, Science Fiction doesn’t quite cover it.  In some ways, it’s about as Science Fictional as Star Wars.  But since it deals with multiple parallel universes, with technological interfacing between them, I suppose the label “Science Fiction” works.  It could just as well have been called “Philosophical/Metaphysical Action Adventure,” though even that wouldn’t quite cover it. Continue reading “Book Review: Somewhither”

Book Review: Gray Matter Splatter

Jack Murphy definitely has a way with titles.  Gray Matter Splatter is a title that few could pull off, particularly in a day and age of nonsensical buzzword thriller titles like True Faith and Allegiance.

But Jack pulls it off, somehow.  Gray Matter Splatter is a breakneck bloodbath in the Arctic, a bit of a change of pace from the last couple Deckard installments. Continue reading “Book Review: Gray Matter Splatter”