NIGHT STALKERS 9 AVENGING STORM BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1992.

Major Yoshiro Tashida and his garrison of men have been guarding the small island of Kakira for over forty years. They still think that World War II is going on with Japan fighting the allies. Occasionally a small yacht lands and the passengers are tortured and killed. So one day a typhoon brings a cruise ship to the island. Tashida thinks its an American trick and captures the boat and it’s crew and passengers. Then they proceed to torture the passengers by cutting off fingers and pulling out fingernails to get them to confess their real intentions. Oh and by the way the cruise ship was carrying a cargo of illegal AK-47s and shoulder launched surface to air missiles from China.

Into this Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson and his Night Stalkers are conducting a training mission on Guam. The report of a cruise ship being taken over and the loss of a Coast Guard ship has them go to the rescue. They get the assignment of checking this out. Finding the island has hostile Japanese they must come up with a plan to rescue the hostages and defeat these anachronistic warriors from the past.

The final book in the series is in my opinion the best in the series. Granted it is a bit goofy with having a whole garrison of Japanese from WWII still there is a historical basis in this. There were Japanese soldiers that continued on still believing that the war was going on decades later. So it has some plausible goofiness to it. I love that the Japanese are just so over the top in their evil. The guys just refuse to believe that the war is over and that these civilians are some kind of trick to get them to give up. Plus the author conveniently has them get some modern weapons to even things out.

So the series as a whole was a fun read. Each story was unique with a different setting and locations. The men of the Night Stalkers actually visited all seven continents on the planet. Some of the villains were your typical ones such as Russians, Chinese, Libyans and terrorists. They also had some more unconventional ones like an old Japanese bacteria from WWII or fanatical Japanese solders from WWII. Every story was a different unique experience and that counts for a lot with me.

NIGHT STALKERS 8 BUDDHA’S CROWN BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1992.

The Chinese are cracking down violently on Tibetans. The new Dalai Lama is openly calling for armed revolt against Beijing. The Chinese respond by using poison gas on protesters in Lhasa. So Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson and his Night Stalkers are assigned to cross the border in Southern China and destroy the factory that manufactures the gas. They succeed but now have a bigger assignment. Major Chen has captured the Dalai Lama and holds him captive in a remote monastery. Oz and the Night Stalkers must cross the border and rescue him. They fight off Chinese jets and soldiers to team up with the local resistance to rescue him.

So the eighth book in the series has our guys in Tibet. Well this was the nineties I suppose and the recent Gulf War victory had the feeling we could do anything. Including sending troops into China so casually. Now this was just after Tiananmen Square and fiction was filled with the possibility of a Chinese Civil war. Needless to say Tibet is firmly under Chinese control and likely to remain so. Also the Dalai Lama is still a pacifist and the militant Dalai Lama was not realistic.

Otherwise the story itself was an enjoyable action read. They still have helicopters take on fighter jets with ease. Now the J-6 was an obsolete piece of junk back then but still a very formidable aircraft against helicopters. The book also has an interesting look at Tibetan culture. Did you know that they greet one another by sticking their tongues out. A black tongue signifies that a person is a murderer so you stick out your tongue to show you aren’t a murderer. Learn something new every day.

NIGHT STALKERS 7 NEPTUNE THUNDER BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1991.

The Night Stalkers under Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson are evacuating civilians from a war torn west African country. After that is done there is little time to relax as the task force is assigned to Britain. The IRA is plotting to blow up the Chunnel. They have already stolen plenty of explosives and have shot down a Royal Navy helicopter. While on a break in a pub Oz is kidnapped by the IRA. He manages to escape but finds out that a highly placed traitor in the British army has framed them. Now Oz and the Night Stalkers must break out and stop the IRA before they succeed in flooding the Chunnel.

The seventh book takes the team to Britain and the fight against the IRA. Once again a real country with a real terrorist group. This one has plenty of action with the IRA managing to steal all sorts of high tech weapons including surface to air missiles and armored cars. I admit that I wondered how an elite helicopter unit would fit in a battle against the IRA. Duncan manages to craft a story that fits the team right into some off the wall action. I give the author credit for coming up with different settings for each book.

NIGHT STALKERS 6 SHINING PATH BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1991.

The Vice President of the U.S. is on a mission to Peru. Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson and his Night Stalkers are assigned to escort him. The vicious terrorist insurgency Sendero Luminoso or The Shining Path plan to attack the meeting and take the Vice President and Peruvian president hostage. They succeed and now Oz and his men must stage a daring rescue.

In a subplot an American geologist Harlan Lloyd is helping a small village fight off Shining Path guerrillas while searching for gold. He finds it and manages to get the Peruvian government to send help. The Night Stalkers are also assigned after the successful mission to rescue the Vice President. With Peruvian special forces, some civilian contractors with a new automated weapon system and the Night Stalkers they fight off hordes of Shining Path to save the village.

So this entry in the series actually is set in a real country. A real country with a very real insurgent group. The Shining Path did terrorize the countryside in the ’80s and ’90s. Formed by a crackpot Marxist philosophy professor the group combined the teachings of Mao with Incan mysticism. I like that they use real settings and terrorist groups instead of fictional countries. It makes it more realistic. This was actually two stories in one book. The first was the drama with the attempted kidnapping of the VP and Peruvian president. A subplot with the American engineer then merges into the main story line for the end of the book. I enjoyed this story. Plenty of action and an informative history lesson about Peru.

NIGHT STALKERS 5 SEA WOLF BY DUNCAN LONG

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Copyright 1991.

Lieutenant Erin Croll of the Royal Navy has just been passed over for promotion. He is also a psychopath. So what do psychopaths who control a destroyer do when they are passed over. In Croll’s case he arranges to take over the HMS Fox with like minded men and go into the business of a pirate. His mutineers mercilessly gun down the crew not in the mutiny and then they fake the sinking of the ship. Then its off to the Caribbean. A drug lord they were going to work for betrays them so Croll goes into business for himself. He raids drug shipments from the drug lord and also decides to capture pleasure yachts, kill the crew and sell the boats. He is making a fortune.

The many disappearances are noticed and the U.S. government decides to sent the Night Stalkers under Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson to investigate. Operating from the new battleship Montana they soon discover the renegade destroyer. His elite choppers and the battleship go up against the destroyer in an exciting showdown.

So this entry has a new twist. A psycho takes over a destroyer and goes into the business of piracy. A bit far fetched but within the realm of possible. The way they accomplish it was believable and I suppose that that would get themselves a tidy fortune. I guess the author didn’t know that the days of the battleship were fast approaching it’s end. Not only would they never commission a new one but the ones currently active were soon to be turned into floating museums because those WWII behemoths were very expensive. I give high marks for coming up with a unique and original idea for a story.

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.

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.