NIGHT STALKERS 4 DESERT WIND BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1991.

The nation of East Sahra is about to erupt into a civil war. Formed from the parts of the former Western Sahara territory it was given to a loyal Bedouin tribe by Morocco for its help in putting down the Polisario Front. Now minority tribes are arming against the dominant tribe and its king. America sends the Night Stalkers on a mission of peace. Their job to escort the crown prince to a peace conference. Right away the mission runs into trouble as unmarked Mirage fighter jets attack the mission destroying half the helicopters. Later they deliver the prince but he is kidnapped after someone spikes the food for the conference. Now Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis and his helicopters must track down the kidnapped prince. They have to negotiate a hostile government, warring tribes, bandits and a Marxist rebel group to stop a bloody civil war.

So the fourth one has the Night Stalkers go to this fictional country in Africa. Also once again they have plenty of action including some very improbable fights with jet fighters that are shot down using anti-tank missiles. The plot is fast paced with many twists and turns to keep the reader’s interest. Filled with conspiracies, assassins, foreign intrigue and a government plot make this another fun entry in the series.

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NIGHT STALKERS 3 TWILIGHT JUSTICE BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1990.

The Paris air show is going on and Jefferson “Oz” Davis and his Night Stalkers are there to show off their skills. The Soviets have also send their best in the new Hind-K helicopters. The big attraction is the new XA-2011 Superstealth bomber. This new craft can actually turn invisible thanks to it’s advanced mini-cameras that cover it. It also has it’s own small nuclear reactor. Well such an advanced craft is stolen during the show. Captain Oz and the Night Stalkers are tasked with retrieving the stolen aircraft. The chase leads them all over Western Europe and ends with a Belgian arms industrialist who plans to sell it to the highest bidder. They also have to race the Soviets are also out to get this plane.

So the third book takes TF160 to Europe and a search for the missing Superstealth. Now this book was a little goofy what with an invisible airplane with a nuclear reactor. OK and they also have the bad guys raid a nuclear power plant for fuel which was accomplished way too easy. At least I hope it isn’t that easy to attack a nuclear plant and steal plutonium. Also the copters are battling the jets of the industrialist and they are using TOW and Hellfire missiles against jet fighters. Now these missiles were designed for anti-armor not anti-air. Still the story was fast paced and if you just turn your mind off you can have an enjoyable read.

NIGHT STALKERS 2 GRIM REAPER BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1990.

In the final days of World War II the Japanese launched balloons toward Australia. The balloons carried a deadly bacteria that causes homicidal paranoia in its victims. Fortunately the balloons fell harmlessly into the ocean. One made it to Antarctica where it’s deadly payload remained preserved in the ice. Now in 1990 a nearby American research base has unearthed the balloon. In opening it they release the bacteria on the base. The nuclear submarine USS Oklahoma sends a medical team to help with the outbreak. Only the bacteria infects the crew. Soon a rogue nuclear submarine with a paranoid crew roams the ocean. The bacteria also spreads to the nearby Soviet base that has a contingent of Spetsnaz stationed there. Fortunately captain Oz and the Night Stalkers are stationed in the Antarctic to test new anti-submarine weapons. So now Oz and his helicopter/Delta force must stop the rogue Oklahoma before it starts WWIII while fighting off the crazed Spetsnaz that are attacking them.

The second book has a very unique idea set in a part of the world that doesn’t usually get much attention. Based on a real scenario from history. The Japanese did launch balloons with incendiary devices to drift over the Pacific Northwest. They did cause some damaging forest fires and kill a few people. They also were actively experimenting with biological weapons so this scenario basis has a historical basis to it. I enjoyed the exotic setting of the Antarctic with this weapon from the past. Long managed to come up with some unique scenarios to his plots and writes a fast paced action thriller.

NIGHT STALKERS BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1990.

The Republic of Palm Island gets some uninvited visitors one day. Mercenaries lead by the ruthless Andrea have managed to infiltrate the small Caribbean island nation. In a coordinated attack they seize the Presidential Palace and destroy the small police force, taking the popular president and his family hostage. Using his family they force the president to announce there was an unsuccessful coup and he has brought in outside help to restore order. Andrea uses treats against his family to basically create a puppet government. Her goal is to turn the island nation into a criminal enterprise with money laundering for drug dealers and gambling.

Yet rumors of this takeover get out and soon the President of the U.S. has to restore the government of this island nation. Enter the Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airbourne) known as The Night Stalkers. Lead by Captain Jefferson Davis “Oz” Carson this elite helicopter unit paired with Delta Force takes on the heavily armed mercenaries.

So I heard about this series from Paul Bishop’s blog. You can read the post here. This was an action series from the early nineties about his special anti-terrorist unit of helicopters/Delta Force unit. I’m glad I found this series on E-bay for a reasonable price for it has proven to be an enjoyable read. This first book had a unique premise and was full of action. The author came up with some interesting stories for this series and I highly recommend giving it a try if you like action books.

FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER BY E.L. KONIGSBURG

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Copyright 1967.

Claudia Kincaid is a young eleven year old girl who feels unappreciated by her parents. So she decides to run away. She doesn’t want to just run away but run to somewhere. Somewhere comfortable, beautiful and preferably elegant. So she chooses the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. She recruits her nine year old brother Jaime to accompany her. Jaime is the one with all the money for he cheats at cards with his friend and has a whole $24 dollars. The two successfully take the train to New York and go to the museum. They hide in the restrooms just before it closes and they have the place all to themselves. They sleep in the old beds. Bath in the fountain in the restaurant and collect change in the fountain to supplement their income. In the day they mingle with school tour groups.

The museum has a brand new exhibit that is attracting crowds. A statue of cupid that might be a work of Michelangelo. It was bought from the reclusive Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for a bargain price of $225. Experts are still divided that this is a genuine Michelangelo sculpture. Claudia becomes obsessed with the mystery and embarks on solving it. A mystery that leads her to the Connecticut home of Mrs. Frankweiler.

This was one of those books that they read to us back in fourth or fifth grade. For some reason it came to mind and doing a quick Google search I found out the title. This was one of those books that I remember well since the premise was so fun as a kid. I mean who wouldn’t want to run away to the museum. Now some things are probably a bit dated. I don’t think with modern cameras and alarms that this could be accomplished today. This is still a charming book that is enjoyable forty some years later.

COUNTDOWN WWIII: OPERATION PERSIAN GULF BY W.X. DAVIES WITH THE STRATEGIC OPERATIONS GROUP

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Copyright 1984.

It is the near future of 1987 and the Ayatollah Khomeini dies. This leads to a power struggle within the Islamic Republic of Iran. On one side the mullahs. On the other an army general who stages a coup. The coup manages to take Tehran and some other major cities but the mullahs remain in control of a good part of the country. The mullahs turn to the Soviets to help them in the war. They send in troops and the army general turns to the U.S. which starts sending troops and supplies. Soon the Marines land at the strategic oil fields and the Soviets threaten to attack with nuclear weapons. In steps Triad with a plan to defuse the situation. They plan to free a dissident mullah held by the regime. The cleric is a moderate who supports neither the Soviets or America but has broad support among the population. His government would restore the status quo of an Iran in neither of the superpower spheres. So they must rescue him and convince the Soviets to also accept this alternative. Otherwise the world will be plunged into a nuclear war.

So for the final book in the series the author sets it in Iran. He envisioned factional fighting and a civil war after the Ayatollah’s death. He was only off by his death two years but there was speculation of what a post-Khomeini regime would be like. The reality was that the mullahs grip was strong and they remain in power to this day. But they didn’t know that at the time. A plausible scenario that ratcheted up the threat to a possible full blown nuclear war between the U.S and Soviets. I love the realpolitik approach by the author to solve the crisis. Just return the status quo with them assassinating the pro-western general and the Soviets taking out the head mullah. An exciting story to end the series.

So the series ends. I hope that the author enjoyed writing it for I don’t think he had much success in achieving a more sophisticated espionage capability for the U.S. In fact I think this was probably not read by many and remains an obscure series. Some real Books that Time Forgot. I personally enjoyed the series and wish I discovered it when it first came out. I would have loved to see where this series would have continued. But for now it is more of a historical curiosity to those like me who love the old cold war thrillers.

COUNTDOWN WWIII: OPERATION CHOKE POINT BY W.X. DAVIES WITH THE STRATEGIC OPERATIONS GROUP

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Copyright 1984.

In the near future a border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana threatens the peace of the region. Guyana has a socialist government and receives massive aid from the Soviets in weapons and advisers. They also get seasoned Cuban troops fresh from Angola. Tensions escalate and soon a shooting war starts. A war that sees the inexperienced Venezuelan army lose ground to the Cubans. Naturally the U.S. is concerned about the threat to Venezuela’s oil and calls on Triad to defuse the situation. They start by finding the secret Soviet staging area in Costa Rica a country destabilized as all the region is by insurgencies. They gather a force of anti-Communist refugees to launch an attack on the base. They also have to stage an assassination of a KGB official and make it look like an accident to preserve the status of their main Soviet double agent Mr. Clean.

The third book in the series has the crisis in South America. Wow times have changed to have Venezuela a U.S. ally fighting Cubans and a Socialist government. This definitely does feel dated. Still for the times is was a fairly accurate scenario. Guyana did have a Socialist government and the border dispute is real although has never became anything serious. Central America was envisioned as being engulfed in guerrilla wars which was where the region seemed headed. I like how it accurately portrays a U.S. government paralyzed politically from getting involved and the Byzantine machinations that Triad uses to accomplish it’s objectives. Another enjoyable book in this little known series.