RED METAL by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV

July 22, 2019

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The authors, one whom is an experienced combat officer, have combined to present a picture of what real war is like. There are no descriptions of computers fighting one another, but of real men and women doing battle with modern weapons with many casualties as a consequence.

Several years prior to the opening of the book Russia was driven from possession of three Rare Earth Mineral mines located in Africa in the country of Kenya. The Russian prime minister now feels that it is time to retake those mines and orders two troop movements. The first is an attack across Poland and into Germany drawing the United States and NATO allies into defending those countries. Using this assault as a means of taking attention away from her real target the Russian military will than utilize a second assault into Kenya in order to capture the mines.

The authors utilize back and forth reactions by both sides on the two fronts to tell a masterful story of war. First, the Russian attack driving through Poland brings reactions from a poorly outfitted Polish army, but than occasions the decision by armed citizenry to fight the invaders. A young Polish girl whose normal occupation is as a barista in a coffee shop becomes a hero as she begins to lead other citizens into the defense of their country. The Russian side is depicted by military officers who are in tune with the war and want to make sure that they stand out for recognition for their efforts.

The second phase is a defense by American forces of the mines in Kenya. At the point of undertaking this defense the U.S. navy is engaged in a “show the flag” contest with the Chinese and are forced to sail across the world to take part in the defense of the mines in Africa. Individual, and realistically described moments of courage are described on the part of both sides during the battles. A U.S.submarine commander manages to destroy a crucial part of the Russian fuel supply by brave movements against the Russian invasion fleet. An American aviator manages to do a good deal of damage to Russian air support, while brave men and women move into precarious positions in order to maximize their efforts against Russia’s tanks.

The book is an all nighter due mainly to it’s use of personal experiences encountered by characters that are fleshed out sufficiently enough to be believed as active participants in the horrors of a shooting war. Very well done indeed.

7/19 Paul Lane

RED METAL by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV. Berkley (July 16, 2019). ISBN 978-0451490414. 656p.

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THE COMMODORE by P.T. Deutermann

August 7, 2016
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Ex-Naval Captain Peter Deutermann spent his career as an officer with the United States Navy. Upon retirement he commenced an equally successful career as an author of adventure novels, including several based on events during wartime.

The Commodore is his latest book and is based upon the sea battles surrounding the invasion of Guadalcanal by the Marines. Harmon Wolf is a naval officer born on a Minnesota Indian reservation. He has never been thought of as an acceptable career officer since he does not fit into the traditional image of a by the book sailor.

The navy has been taking a pounding by the Japanese fleet and admiral “Bull” Halsey, a maverick in his own right, is looking for non-traditional answers to that problem.

Wolf is appointed commander of a destroyer and immediately demonstrates an ability to bring aggressive solutions to problems. He quickly earns promotion by Halsey as Commodore of an entire destroyer squadron. Applying original answers to questions about naval tactics gains a much sought after victory over a Japanese fleet bringing reinforcements to Guadalcanal.

As always, Deutermann’s descriptions of naval engagements, military tactics, weapons and armament are couched in easy to understand language for the reader. His gift for language keeps his audience glued to the book, and easily picturing the situations populating the novel. When Wolf is injured during the battles and cannot be safely sent to sea, a unique solution to continuing making use of him is set up.

Very well done indeed.

8/16 Paul Lane

THE COMMODORE by P.T. Deutermann. St. Martin’s Press (August 2, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250078070.  304p.

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WARNING ORDER by Joshua Hood

June 28, 2016
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Search and Destroy Thriller

Second in what should become a popular and successful set of novels about the US army in battle with elements of radical Islam, Hood’s book is nothing short of an adrenaline rush. Combat is present from start to finish keeping the reader glued to the pages and mesmerized by the action.

Mason Cane, on the US government’s Black List, strikes a deal with the CIA to clear his name and throws himself back into action. He finds that he is up against a radical cell of terrorists with possible roots within the US president’s inner circle.

Moving against the cell, Cane is joined by a group including Renee Hart, a DOD operative, and Special Forces soldiers. Action is constant with no let up. Renee was apparently set to become a love interest for Mason Cane in the first book by Hood, Clear by Fire, but there is no time in this novel for any private contact for the two.

The ending finds Cane wounded in action and taking a leave in order to recuperate from his wounds.  He is contacted by the individual that guides his actions, and the book ends as Mason is ordered into his next action.

The book is for any reader that appreciates combat action written by a veteran of war who has the knack to describe military action and the weapons used in the fighting. This is a well done novel of war.

6/16 Paul Lane

WARNING ORDER by Joshua Hood. Touchstone (June 28, 2016).  ISBN 978-1501108280.  352p.