HEROES BOOK II

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Copyright 1992.

PHOENIX FORCEHell Quest by Gar Wilson(William Fieldhouse)

A U.S. spy satellite has gone down in Ethiopia. So the Phoenix Force is assigned the task of retrieving it. So they must now navigate a country in a civil war with many different factions. In addition teams from Israel and Libya are also there looking to retrieve the satellite and its valuable intelligence. Its a race to see who gets to it first.

ABLE TEAMDeath Lash by Dick Stivers(David North)

The Draculi were the most feared division of the secret police in Romania. Now that the Communist government has been overthrown the group must flee the country. They decide to set up shop in the U.S. and become a criminal enterprise. Selling stolen information to contract killing the group has ambitious plans. First they must steal a super computer from the government. Now Able Team must track down this rogue group and make sure they don’t establish themselves in America.

PHOENIX FORCEDirty Mission by Gar Wilson(Mike Linaker)

A new drug ring in Europe is targeting American soldiers. Washington is alarmed at the rise of the drug deaths and so sends in Phoenix Force to take care of it. They arrive and find that a Colombian cartel has infiltrated the police in Britain. So now Phoenix Force must take down this growing threat the best way they know how, with extreme prejudice.

So the second book in the series includes two Phoenix Force and one Able Team. These stories are a time capsule of the early nineties. The first involves the endless civil war in Ethiopia that was going on for decades and finally winding down after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The starving children dominated the news and inspired endless concerts and fund raisers. Well intentions but mostly useless as the aid ended up warehoused to rot due to the government withholding aid to their rebellious regions or selling it to prop up their military.

The second deals with the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and a rogue group of former secret police from Romania. That was fresh at the time and is a good idea for some villains for Able Team to battle.

The Final is one about the Colombian drug cartels which was also a big thing at the time. All three stories were excellent and enjoyable reads. Filled with wall to wall action and battles with Uzis and AK-47’s. Makes me nostalgic for the nineties.

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HEROES BOOK I

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Copyright 1992.

ABLE TEAMRazorback by Dick Stivers(David North)

Hermann “Gadgets” Schwarz is part of the three man Able Team. A clandestine group that is part of the organization known as Stony Man. Gadgets was wounded on the last mission and has time off to recover. While visiting his old martial arts instructor he runs into an old comrade from Vietnam. He invites him over to his farm in Arkansas for some razorback boar hunting. He soon finds out his old buddy is in league with a corrupt sheriff. The sheriff is buying stolen military assault rifles from a white supremacist biker gang and selling it to Colombian drug lords. Soon he finds himself fighting for his life while waiting for his teammates to rescue him.

PHOENIX FORCESurvival Run by Gar Wilson(Mike Linaker)

The U.S. Secretary of State is kidnapped while visiting Saudi Arabia. The group Hammer of Allah is a radical Shiite group lead by the Iranian Abu Niad. The group plans to execute the secretary and broadcast it live on July 4. So Phoenix Force a clandestine group is assigned to rescue him. The search takes the team from Saudi Arabia, to Lebanon and finally an exciting rescue at the terrorists camp in Libya.

VIETNAM: GROUND ZEROZebra Cube by David Baxter(Nicolas Cain)

A high level prisoner exchange is taking place on the Cambodian border. Captain Tate and his squad are to oversee the exchange. Only problem is a renegade Arvin police chief Quac is against this exchange and attempts to stop it. The exchange is really a cover for the NVA to go after a high ranking prisoner General Tran. Tran has been imprisoned in the notorious Zebra Cube so named because of its black and white stripe paint job. A shipping container that is constantly moved. Now Tate and his men must stop the NVA from freeing this notorious prisoner.

So back in the early nineties Gold Eagle decided to merge three of their titles into this anthology series. I got this because it has a lost story from Vietnam: Ground Zero an excellent series. First they decided to give the series a whole new face-lift. A new house name was assigned to the author and new characters were created. It was assigned to the writer of the excellent Saigon Commandos series. He did an excellent job of this story. There was also a subplot about a member of the team returning home to Indiana to attend his parents funeral and getting involved with a Vietnamese stripper. It actually tied in to the main plot. This was also the last Vietnam: Ground Zero ever written. Why they decided to abandon the story I have no idea. Possibly by the nineties the Vietnam war craze was dying down and it didn’t hold much appeal anymore. Still an enjoyable take on the series.

The other two stories are spin offs from the popular Mack Bolan The Executioner series. It involved a clandestine organization called Stony Man that fought the various threats to America. Able Team handled domestic threats while Phoenix Force the international ones. I always wanted to try these series out and now I got my chance. I will say that they were very well written. I read the other stories in the next two anthologies and can say the quality was consistent as we will explore in future posts. I have no doubt that more books are in my future.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN BY GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER

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Copyright 1942.

Four young children Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are recently orphaned after their parents die. They go to a bakery looking for food. They offer to work for the food but soon have to flee when it becomes apparent the old couple who run the bakery plan to use them as slave labor and take the youngest to the orphanage. While fleeing in the country they come on an abandoned boxcar and use it for shelter from an approaching storm. After the storm they decide to live in the abandoned boxcar. They dam up the stream for a pool to bath in. They scrounge in the dumb for old plates and stuff to build furniture. They build a stove. The older brother Henry gets a job doing odd jobs from a kindly old doctor who still lives with his mother. They also find a dog and name him Watch. Life is idyllic for the young children until one of them gets ill and they must risk the adults finding out about them.

I guess I’m getting a bit nostalgic for the old books of my childhood. This book was read to us from first to fifth grade and I always enjoyed it. There is something cool about living in an abandoned boxcar when your a child. This book always did make me want to do just that. A spoiler is there is a happy ending. They find their grandfather who isn’t a mean man but very kindly. Also a loaded guy for he lives in a mansion and can afford to bring the old boxcar to his home for the kids to play in. This book does strike a nerve with most children for it was a highly popular book. What I didn’t know is that there is a whole series where the kids graduated to solving mysteries. It’s popularity lead the author to write nineteen books in the series until her death in 1979. The series continues to this day and there are hundreds of Boxcar Children mystery books written by many different authors. An idea that lives on to this day.

AMERICA UNDEAD BY PHIL ELMORE

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Copyright 2017.

It is the future in this dystopian America. Vampires have been outed to the world. Now one is President of the United States. Woodrow Braslov of the Social Democrats is now President for life. The military is deployed overseas to fight endless unwinnable wars. His army of Fedvamps along with militia from Muslim enclaves enforce his rule. In truth Braslov is a former Turkish officer Altan Bin Ramseur who was turned and left to die impaled on a pike by none other than Vlad Tepes aka Dracula himself. His eventual goal is a worldwide caliphate with himself as its leader.

There is a resistance. Taggart Jones a Thompson sub-machinegun toting member gets involved with Vincent Harden. Hardan a vampire since the Revolutionary War has just become the leader of the Cousinry. An ancient order of vampires that are dedicated to living in peace with humans. The two join forces to rescue Adam the world’s first vampire from captivity. Adam holds secrets that would expose Braslov and his plans.

This is the first in a series from the estate of Jerry and Sharon Ahern. Jerry had this as an idea and hired Elmore to help write it. One of the many examples where deceased authors continue to live on with others writing their creations. I loved this book. It had a fascinating dystopian future that was believable even without vampires. I know the Twilight series probably did an incredible amount of damage to vampire stories. Thankfully this helps reverse that damage. The vampires in this world are basically invincible. They are burned by direct sunlight but not killed. They instantaneously regenerate their bodies. Bullets will be popped out and limbs or eyes grow back. There was a funny scene where Harding is driving a truck and taking hits from bullets that are going through is cheek and knocking out teeth. His thoughts are this is going to hurt a lot. The only way to kill one is fire, decapitation or starving them of blood. The Cousinry feed only on animal blood. The bad guys of course prefer human. An enjoyable new series that I look forward to for the next book.

THE WAR GOD BY FREDERICK E. SMITH

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Copyright 1980.

1944 Italy. Joe Beccione is serving in the American Army. Born to Italian immigrant parents in Hell’s Kitchen the tough guy is a good brave soldier but has a problem with discipline. One day a MP jeep hits the young brother of the girl he wants to marry. In his anger he shoots the MP and soon is about to face a firing squad. He escapes and makes his way to a group of renegades. Lead by a German named Franz Kessler the group survives by raiding both Allied and German supply convoys. It is a hodgepodge of deserters and criminals from every nationality. Beccione fits right in with this group. Yet he wonders about Kessler an obviously educated man. A man who can one minute shoot down soldiers but have a sad look in his eyes. A man who is worshiped by the local peasants and he reciprocates in kind. In fact he goes out of his way to help them.

Then they finally find out Kessler’s true purpose. On a mission to liberate stolen valuables in a complex of caves held by the Germans as an artillery position. Soon this village will be the site of a major battle and will destroy the village of Valderosa. Kessler convinces his men to protect the village by fighting off both sides so they can’t occupy it. Now they battle both the Allies and Germans in a big epic battle.

It is hard to write an anti-war war novel but Fredrick Smith manages to do that. Kessler is a pacifist who served in the First World War and lost his brother and father. Later he loses his Jewish wife to a concentration camp. His son in the army and daughter killed in an Allied bombing raid. Stationed in Yugoslavia he witnesses atrocities and is forced to kill to survive. He deserts and forms his own army. One that will exist to protect the civilians that are caught between the armies that are fighting. That he believes foreign armies care little for the civilians and they are the true victims in the war. That all soldiers are in some way to blame. Of course he sees that an Allied victory is the only good outcome. Yet he will fight them to save his beloved peasants. His personality gets his men to fight and die to protect a village. A village at the end that manages to come to the rescue and pay back the survivors. A fascinating book that makes you think.

Fredrick Smith was a RAF gunner on a bomber during WWII. He wrote a successful series called 633 Squadron and some other books. He writes characters that have an interesting backstory and did a lot of research on the war in Italy. Might give some of his other books a try.

INVASION U.S.A. BY JASON FROST

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Copyright 1985.

A Cuban refugee boat is stopped by a US Coast Guard ship. The crew immediately fires on the passengers killing them all and taking a large quantity of drugs. Thus begins the plans of Rostov the KGB’s notorious operative. Soon the money from the drugs is used to buy a vast quantity of weapons. Weapons that will arm an invading army of terrorists. The goal is to cause terror and bring down the government.

But there is one man that can stop Rostov’s plan. Matt Hunter is a retired agent. He once captured and humiliated Rostov in a mission in Africa. Rostov has a paranoid fear of Hunter and tries to kill him in his small shack out in the Florida Everglades. He only manages to destroy his home and kill his friend. Now Hunter wages a one man war to stop Rostov’s invading terrorists before they manage to bring down American society.

Now I don’t usually get movie adaptations. But the plot to this sounded interesting and it was written by the same man that wrote The Warlord Series. God how I miss Cannon Films. This is probably one of my favorite Chuck Norris movies. It has his most funniest line ever, “I’m going to hit you with so many lefts you’ll be beggin’ for a right.” Interesting the author didn’t include that in the novelization. Still he gave the story’s characters much greater depth than the movies was able to. Even minor characters have a backstory for them. A very competent adaptation.

So I did plan to read this book because it had a loosely Christmas theme. It takes place before Christmas and there is a big scene of the terrorists attacking shoppers at a Christmas mall. Now thirty years ago this was just goofy over the top fun. Given current events this is a very real threat. The writers than must have been way ahead of their times. These kind of attacks have been shown to paralyze society and will probably occur more in the future. Sadly the future is not looking all that positive right now.

The movie is getting released on Blu-ray next year so if you want a funned cheezy action movie I would recommend this movie.

WORLD UNKNOWN REVIEW VOLUME I 2014

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An anthology of various stories.

RED COAT by Miriam Sagan.

Two lesbians raise a daughter in post-WWII Iceland. A unique setting for this kind of story.

SHEBA by Robert Robinson.

A young boy gets a dog named Sheba. His best friend as he is constantly moved around the country. I could relate to this story. I moved around as a kid and my dog was my best friend.

A SPLASH OF RED by Shan Jeniah Burton.

Hawks. Hawks flying. Hawks swooping. Hawks flying and swooping. Hawks among the buffalo. Its nice to see that hawks are finally getting their story told.

SLIP AWAY by Joe Bellamy.

A guy goes to a party at a friends house. He has one weird ass experience.

THE CRUCIBLE by D.J. Lutz.

An English teacher at a private boys school is contemplating resigning. I can’t tell you how many jobs I had that I wanted to quit.

FOREVER AGAIN by Fallon Brown.

A lonely widower meets a lonely waitress. This is a real Meg Ryan chick flick type of story.

THE SANDS OF ALGERIA by Wesley J. Connell.

Two men are in a sand sailing race in Algeria. I didn’t know such a sport existed.

TEMPLE OF SLITHERING DEATH by me.

This is my debut as a writer. It is one weird story.

CULAQUN by Luther M. Siler.

In a magical land a warrior comes to a Culaqun witch for help against a fearsome dragon. Nice twist ending for this story.

THE WANDERER by Bilal Rahmani.

A wandering knight looks for food and shelter in a village.

IRON CAVE by Nicholas Conley.

Ok I have to admit I really don’t know what this story is about. I think its about the universe. Like the universe it has no beginning or end. It just is.

THE MUTINEERS OF STARVATION by L.S. Engler.

A family struggles on a penal colony on a distant world. They must fight off hordes from the province of Starvation. Now this is my type of story. People getting shot, blown up and stabbed with swords. I enjoy a lot of action in stories.

So I finally got around to reading one of my free copies this week. I is really exciting to see something that I wrote actually in print. I wrote this story ten years ago and had no luck selling it. I just sent it in on a whim thinking nothing would come of it. I did start another story kind of a prequel to the one here. I am seriously considering finishing it.

So go ahead and check out this review.