This is Blackfive's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Blackfive's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Blackfive
USA
Recent Activity
Image
Someone sent this cartoon from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Continue reading
Posted yesterday at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following article is a special for BlackFive readers written by Elise Cooper (our favorite book reviewer). On November 8th in San Diego, California, the USS Midway will provide a dramatic setting as best selling authors plan on honoring military veterans presented by the Us4Warriors veteran’s support foundation and American Legion. The authors are hoping this will become a yearly tradition because it falls out on the weekend before Veterans Day. Book enthusiasts are invited to attend this unique event, “Veteran Benefit Book Fair” (www.veteransbookfair.org) between 10 am and 5 pm. Because proceeds go to veteran organizations people who want a book signed will have to buy books at the Midway/Fair bookstore. But the added benefit is that for every book sold a free book is sent to those on active duty. For the price of a Midway ticket, people can meet best-selling authors, purchase a book for signature, and take a tour of the Midway, a ship steeped in history. Readers can also have the opportunity to obtain a collector’s item, a personal written note from an author answering a question they always wanted to ask, or win one of many silent auctions of signed books by number one best selling authors including Nelson DeMille. The organizers hope that people will not be fooled by the title since there will be over forty authors, all from various genres from women’s issues to science fiction. Panel discussions with many of the authors will include: Veteran Characters”; “Female Heroines”; “Hot and Cold Wars”; “Terrorists and Politics” and “Guns and Needles.” In addition there will be a Q/A with Hank Steinberg, the executive producer of the television shows “The Last Ship” and “Without A Trace.” Others in attendance include Catherine Coulter, Charles and Caroline Todd, James Rollins, Ted Bell, C. J. Lyons, T. Jefferson Parker, Jan Burke, D. P. Lyle, Iris and Roy Johansen, W.C. Reed, Amy Hatvany, Andrew Kaplan, and Dale Brown. Also attending is U.S. Navy SEAL CDR (Ret) Rorke Denver, star the movie Act of Valor and U.S. Navy SEAL sniper LTCDR (Ret) Shane Reilly, former XO of the Navy SEAL Training Command. The authors want to emphasize that as Americans, we are living in perilous times and without those willing to sacrifice, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to preserve our freedoms we would be in dire straights. They hope Americans will take the time to attend this patriotic event. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Saul’s Game is an original novel of the Homeland series written by best selling author Andrew Kaplan. It is a prequel that takes fans of this series back to 2009 and before. The plot includes the backstory on many of the characters and what influenced their current attitudes. The story has Saul Berenson and Carrie Mathison returning to the Middle East, Syria and Iraq in particular. They are trying to find the al Qaeda terrorist Abu Nazir and instead come across different plots that would threaten the American forces and involve Arab tribal differences. Kaplan’s experiences have greatly contributed to the realism of the story. As someone who served in the US and Israeli Army he knows the make-up of the Middle East. In fact, what he wrote could be snatched from the views of former high-ranking CIA officials. These former officials speak about the alienation of the Sunnis, by the former Iraq Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the corruptness created by the Shiites, which all fits into the narrative of the story. Kaplan explained to blackfive.net, “I put into the book a scene that explains why many Americans just do not get what is happening over there. If the Sunnis take over Syria there would be an increase in massacres of the Christians and Kurds. Don’t forget the book was written over a year ago. In the Middle East there are no losers because all losers are killed. What Carrie and Saul are attempting to do is prevent the real enemy, Iran, from having Iraq as its puppet.” Saul’s Game allows readers to find out more of the early life of the main characters but also gives an understanding of the issues facing the Middle East today and why American troops should not have been completely withdrawn. On a side note he will be attending the Veteran’s Benefit Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego on board the USS Midway. He stated, “I am vey pleased to be included in this book fair that includes some wonderful authors. I think doing it on the Midway is a wonderful idea, including matching every book sold to a giveaway to active military personnel.” Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Over at the Burn Pit, there's a nice write up on the older VSOs like the Legion and VFW and the newer ones. I've been a fan of the Legion's work (especially, recently), as well as work with Team Rubicon (should not surprise anyone here). I still work with Soldiers' Angels (right now, supporting those in and headed to Africa) and fully support TR. Go read the Burn Pit post now. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Full Measure, by T. Jefferson Parker, is a departure from the crime novels he has written in the past. This book is about the bond between siblings as well as those connected through military service. It puts a potent face to the names and numbers of those serving as they transition from war to peace, and from serving in the military to becoming a civilian. It is a novel that touches on many issues from PTSD to the plight of an agricultural family. The plot focuses on the experiences of those soldiers returning home. It also has sub-plots of political/controversial issues about governmental overreach and the right to bear arms. Although Parker does present both sides of these issues these sub-plots are a distraction from the body of the story as his main character, Patrick Norris, tries to find a place for himself in the civilian world after finishing his deployment in Afghanistan. Norris is trying to fulfill his dream of starting a small sport fishing business, only to find he is needed to help restore his family’s avocado farm after an arsonist destroyed much of it. He encounters his brother, Ted’s, strange obsessions that have a very dark undercurrent, being drawn into a circle of violent, criminal misfits. The most powerful parts of the story are when Parker describes how Norris and his Marine buddies attempt to overcome the horrors faced while serving in Afghanistan including watching their friends die and become handicapped. He struggles to defeat the demons of PTSD, bringing back the horrid memories of war. A quote in the book, “He saw the flash of light again. It was bright enough to obliterate the world…there was no sound either, as if his memory was being polite in public. The ghosts in his heart rose suddenly, then settled. Patrick lowered his gaze to the tiled floor and closed his eyes and let the voices swim around him.” Another quote in the book shows the disconnect between civilian and military life, “This was what he hated most about civilian life-the incredible slowness; the numbing discussion, the goop-thick assumptions…” Jefferson commented to blackfive.net, “What drove me to write this book is that Americans do not seem to understand the level of sacrifice. I did not get it until after speaking and spending time with those serving. Their level of sacrifice is completely different than for someone going to college. I do think many Americans want to say thank you, buy them a beer, but do not want to hear about what they really did or are going through. I really hope people understand what the vets are going through after coming home. Lets remember only about two percent are connected with someone serving, which means 98% of us do not know these guys and gals. I want to leave the reader with a sense of hope and optimism about the veteran.” Readers might wonder why the title, Full Measure, as Parker describes in the book the “full measure” of death and mutilations. What comes to mind is a line in the Gettysburg Address, “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” Jefferson told blackfive.net, “Patrick wonders what was the purpose of fighting in Afghanistan since it appears it was all for nothing. That is his view and one I share, although I hope we are both wrong. I interviewed a lot of vets for this book and there is anger because they question if their brothers died in vain. I put a variation of the Gettysburg Address line because it is relevant to this war when so many lost their lives, limbs, or part of their soul.” It becomes evident that Parker wished to connect Americans with those soldiers returning home. He captures the bonds of loyalty between brothers, those by birth and those “band of brothers” that served together. This novel brings back the age-old story of brothers: the comradery, competitions, and love. Anyone who wants to understand the mindset of recent veterans and the joys and tribulations they must go through should read Full Measure. On a side note, he will be participating in the Veteran Benefit Book Fair in San Diego on November 8th aboard the USS Midway, since he considers this a worthy cause. Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
What is it that allows military types to manage the chaos of combat or disaster zones and succeed? And how can leaders in any organization or business learn from those lessons? To provide full disclosure, I first met Jake Wood via his military blog "Badger Jake" and later got to know him personally through my work to support him and Will McNulty as they headed to Haiti after a devastating earthquake on January 10th, 2010. Together, they formed Team Rubicon which many, many of you have supported. There have been thousands of books about leadership. So what makes Jake's book different? First, Jake Wood takes his experiences as a collegiate athlete, a Marine sniper, an entrepreneur, and as the leader of a disaster relief organization and effectively distills the recipe for, not just managing the chaos, but rising from the worst of circumstances and succeeding... that is truly what we all look to our leaders to do. Jake writes: ...But what I didn't know until after I left the Marines was how valuable the leadership skills I learned there would be off the battlefield... Jake's recipe goes beyond the usual military leadership style book and is appropriate anywhere - business, government, hospitals, non-profits...you name it. Anyone in any situation can apply these simple principles and shape a successful outcome. So what are they? Take Command - the methods/principles - are broken down into 4 parts: Prepare, Analyze, Decide, and Act. Each part is illustrated with high-energy examples and succinct lessons and is capped with a "mission brief" (for non-military types, it's a kind of a review of critical points). For example, in the Prepare Section, there are lessons on preparing your mind and body, building a high impact team, and being transparent and accountable (up and down). Take Command - Lessons in Leadership: How to Be a First Responder in Business is a highly effective guide for any leader or anyone aspiring to become a leader. The lessons are both timely and timeless, effective, energetic and succinct. It is worthy of your hard earned dollars and time. Buy this book! Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
An U.S. seaman signals an MV-22B Osprey aircraft launching from the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in the Persian Gulf, Oct. 5, 2014. The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lawrence Davis Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
Discovering who you are is not just for teenagers. Midlife men must also rediscover the world around them while struggling with their own impending mortality and legacy, especially those who change careers and lifestyles. Middle-aged men like me are under siege, beset on all sides by personal ambition, internal expectations, familial pressure, disillusionment, uncertainty, and legacy. It’s a constant battle to balance the needs of the self and the needs of others and a struggle to discover which ones really take priority. Some win this battle and some tragically lose. Curmudgeonism is a state of mind, unwavering, unapologetic, and uninterested in what people think. We are the proverbial old dog that can’t be taught new tricks because we know the old tricks are tried and true. We have firm beliefs that can’t be shaken. Free trade is good. True leaders are rare. Happiness is a luxury. Golf is a waste of time and we don’t have enough years left to be unproductive. We don’t apologize for our views because we’ve spent half a lifetime developing them. Theory and idealism sounds good in school but only until it becomes cost prohibitive and the real world determines ground truth. Curmudgeons are uncaring about what people think and have low expectations on the world because it’s done little more than disappoint us. We’re middle aged and tired of looking, acting, feeling the way people want us to, so we’re breaking out and being who we were meant to be; irascible curs who make the world a better place through brutal honesty. We see this as our duty and take it seriously. Buy the ticket (kindle). Take the ride. This awesome book was written, unflinchingly, by my fellow curmudgeon (local 198!), Kelly Crigger. Crigger looks into the mirror and is now ambivalent with what he sees...at home in his own curmudgeonly skin...ready to band us all together to yell at all the kids on our collective lawns. The book opens with: I heard a guy say, "I didn't go to my best friend's funeral because I couldn't deal with it" to which I replied, "You're a pussy."... And just gets better and better. Inside you can find the 3 stages of curmudgeonism (I only wanted 2, damn you), maxims, quotes, terminology for the curmudgeon - essentially the "how to"...but the best chapter is the Curmudgeon insults which I now use daily. This is the must have for your Dad, best friend, Rabbi, plumber, neighbor, or anyone who is a curmudgeon, wants to be one, or needs to know how to live with them. Buy it now in paperback! Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
U.S. Navy Lt. Jose Garcia inactivates the Ebola virus in each specimen in a process that renders the virus safe for further analysis at a Naval Medical Research Center mobile laboratory on Bushrod Island, Liberia, Oct. 6, 2014. The center sent two mobile testing labs to Liberia to support Operation United Assistance. Each two-person lab is capable of testing up to 80 samples per day. U.S. Army Africa photo by Navy Chief Petty Officer Jerrold Diederich Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrew prepares to conduct a resupply airdrop near Bayji, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2014. The C-130 dropped 14 containers of bundles, including seven bundles of fresh drinking water and seven bundles of meals ready to eat. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules airman checks to make sure the containers of bundles cleared the aircraft during a resupply airdrop mission over the region of Bayji, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2014. The C-130 dropped bundles totaling 3,800 meals ready to eat and 1,400 gallons of fresh drinking water. The airman is a loadmaster. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
If you want to read accounts of American badasses with big hearts and even better senses of humor, then this is the book you should buy. It covers the history of the Rangers in the War on Terror - missions from the assaults into Iraq and Afghanistan, to Jessica Lynch, Rhino, Anaconda, Winter Strike, recovery missions, you name it. These are personal accounts, often humorous, that are all together for the first time, under one cover. Here is a taste of Violence of Action... ...It was the night of November the 28th, and it was beginning to look like we would have a night off. Usually, if we didn’t have a mission by about seven in the evening, chances were we wouldn’t be going out at all that period of darkness. That night was a little different though, as the number one high value target in Iraq at the time came up on our radar. He was the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which was an Al-Qaeda front organization. This was one bad dude, and the intelligence that set this mission in motion was reporting that he and many other HVTs would be having a meeting at a wealthy Iraqi’s house in Al-Qaim, Iraq just outside of the Syrian border. Since this mission came down so late in the evening, a lot more effort had to go into the planning process, especially since the target was a three-hour flight away. The decision was made that our platoon would be flying out in three MH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and since we wouldn’t have time to walk in, we would be landing right on the ‘X’. The target building was rather large, so one squad would land to the front of the building just outside the courtyard walls, one squad (primary assault) would land right on the roof of the building, and the squad I was with would be landing to the rear of the building. This was a pretty big fish, and he reportedly always traveled with a well-armed security detail. The word was put out to expect a gunfight. It was almost December, and as we stood on the flight line in Balad it became very clear to all of us that it would be a chilly ride out there. The birds started to spin up, and before long we were boarding the black special operations helicopters for the long journey west. Generally, the helicopters we ride to work on have the doors removed so that we can get off the bird faster, and also so we can fit more people in by having guys riding with their legs dangling out. In the wintertime it is too cold to fly without doors on though, but unfortunately for us the helicopter crews had not put them back on yet. This made for possibly one of the most miserable flights of my life. We had a three-hour flight ahead of us, and because of my position in the aircraft, I had the cold wind blowing directly into me the whole time. My hands were numb, my face was numb, I couldn’t move my legs, and I had snot frozen all over the right side of my face. I must have looked like a mess! By the time we reached the refueling point that was the last (and only) stop on the way to the target building, I absolutely hated my life. Despite the miserable flight, I was still excited to be on this mission though, excited that we were going after public enemy number one in Iraq. This mission was the Ranger bread and butter – land on a high value targets house in the middle of the night to capture or, if he so chooses, kill him. Nowhere else in the military will you simultaneously love and hate your job as much as you do on any given day in a Ranger battalion. After the brief stop to top off the gas tank, we were back in the air with just a short trip to the target building. I had checked and re-checked everything I was carrying, making sure I was ready for what would inevitably be a shootout when we landed. Before I knew it, the ‘sixty seconds’ call came, and we had the lights of Al-Qaim flashing by below us. My adrenaline began to pump ferociously and I prematurely located and grabbed onto the D-ring on the end of my safety line, which kept me safely inside the helicopter until I was ready to de-plane the aircraft. You don’t want to be frantically trying to un-hook when the bird is landing on the ‘X’ like we were tonight. My right hand on the pistol grip of my rifle and my left on the D-ring, the thirty-second call rang out. Here we go, I thought to myself, teeth beginning to grind together in anticipation. The bird began to flare and descend, and the brown out from the rotor wash that ensued was one of the worst I had ever seen. Suddenly and without warning, the helicopter jerked violently back up in the air just before landing. Fuck, I thought to myself, we must be taking fire! Maybe an RPG was shot at us? We were warned to expect them during the mission briefing. Shit just got real; please Lord, just let us get off this bird so we can fight! Just as soon as we jerked back up in the air, we were coming down again what would be a block further away from the target building. I still had my left hand on the D-ring, and as I felt the helicopter jolt from landing, I pressed the gate of the D-ring open, releasing it from the floor and quickly shoved it in my left pocket while simultaneously jumping off the aircraft. Without missing a beat, we were in a full sprint towards the target building trying to cover the extra block we gained as fast as possible...... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book reviews are a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Sandra Brannan is definitely an author to follow and read. Although still generally unknown she has written a series of five books, with all the novels having a very unique theme. Yet, her last two books have very compelling storylines. Incorporated within an action-packed mystery is an enduring tale that allows handicapped children to have a voice and for a few to become supporting heroes. In the earlier books the female heroine, Liv Bergen, a manager of a Limestone mine, investigates, along with law enforcement, the killings of those close to her. Every book in the series showcases either a friend, employee, or family member involved in a murder. The second and third books in the series take her on a journey of changing professions as she attempts to clear the names of those close to her. The latter books have Liv joining the FBI after deciding to fulfill the wishes of her friend, FBI agent Lisa Henry, killed while investigating a case. She commented to blackfive.net, “The best friend in my life was an FBI agent who talked to me about his cases. I based veteran agent Streeter Pierce on him although the name Streeter came from my late bloodhound dog. Book two in the series was written after my friend gave me his point of view, the way an FBI agent would think. It is based on his experiences with the Sturgis South Dakota rally of hardcore motorcycle bikers. After the book came out I was asked to be a motivational speaker for law enforcement before the next rally.” The fourth book in the series, Noah’s Rainy Day, has newly minted Special Agent Liv Bergen, racing against time, along with her FBI partners, to solve a child kidnapping, before it takes a fatal turn. What makes this storyline stand out is Liv’s nephew, Noah Hogarty, housebound with Cerebral Palsy, and dreaming of becoming a great spy or following in the footsteps of his aunt. He becomes obsessed with identifying the young face he sees watching him from his neighbor’s house. Readers may think this a little too coincidental but should realize that to incorporate Noah as a hero in the storyline Brannan had to take certain liberties. She skillfully became a voice for Noah, who is nearly blind, unable to speak, and cannot move on his own. Yet, his mind is just like any other twelve year old, and when he finds the key to the kidnapping he becomes frustrated with the inability to communicate. This plot is riveting and fast moving as the reader becomes intricately involved while rooting for Noah to become the hero and Liv to solve the case. Brannan noted, “Angels rising as warriors. One of my nephews is mentally challenged. My other sister has a child with severe cerebral palsy. I hoped in Noah’s Rainy Day he was seen as someone trapped in his own body but has extreme intelligence. These children do not see themselves as handicapped since it is the only life they have ever known. I want people to understand they are not invisible. I incorporated into the scenes some of my personal relationship with my nephew. I would take my nephew sliding, and even took him ice skating, holding him in my arms and letting his feet touch the ground. We would communicate yes/no with his eyes and smiles. I took that relationship with my nephew and had Liv treat Noah that exact same way. I also was influenced by Rick Hoyt who has severe Cerebral Palsy yet has participated in thirty Boston Marathons and six “Ironmans.” Rick’s brother, Russell, taught him to communicate through a knuckle discussion. I thought that brilliant and incorporated it in my book. I used all of these techniques for Noah. I think the scenes worked so well because Liv had that ‘motherly instinct.’ It made the scenes believable.” The next book, her latest, Solomon’s Whisper, is a fictional version of real cold cases involving abused children who were brutally murdered including Liv’s niece, Brianna Keller, and Rebecca Douglas who brings to mind Jon Benet Ramsey. As the investigation progresses this storyline takes many twists and turns since it appears a vigilante is on the loose, murdering all the children killers. Brannan does a great job throughout the storyline emphasizing the moral issue of vigilantes and their desire to make sure children killers get their due. A quote in the book emphasizes this, “My heart weighed heavy from suffering children.” She again embodies those children who are dismissed in society, this time highlighting a forty-year-old mentally handicapped man who has the mind of a teenager, Stewart Casey. The plot is very engrossing when Liv and the team’s investigation deepens, finding that many of the murderers have also met with brutal deaths mimicking the way in which the children were killed. All of Sandra Brannan’s books delve into the emotional reasons behind the case. With thrilling endings, great storylines, as well as fabulous character development readers will stay up late to finish the books. In her last two books she included unique heroes, those children with special needs. Once someone reads one of these novels they will want to read the whole series since these are not typical crime novels but are a welcome change. As a side note Sandra Brannan will be participating in the Military Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego at the USS Midway. She has a personal stake in this since so many of her relatives have served: Grandpa WWI army, Dad WWII and Korean War, Husband Vietnam Vet (purple heart recipient), sister Army, and a nephew, a Marine who fought in the Iraq War. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. The Lost Key, the second installment in “A Brit In The FBI Series”, written by Catherine Coulter with J. T. Ellison, is a page-turner. This novel features former Scotland Yard detective, Nicholas (Nick) Drummond, now a rookie at the FBI, and his partner Michaela (Mike) Caine. The plot is extremely insightful in that it will keep the reader thinking about future dangers. Nick is introduced in the first book of the series, The Final Cut. He is able to join the FBI because his mom is an American although he was raised in England. Having been in the Foreign Service and as a Scotland Yard Chief Detective Inspector, he uses his previous skills of being tough, smart, and a computer genius. He can be thought of as a modern day “James Bond.” To view his picture go to this link: (http://www.pinterest.com/jtellison/the-lost-key-nicholas-drummond-2/) Coulter commented to blackfive.net, “At the beginning, we didn't see the characters the same way, understandable. I happened to see a photo of a male model in a store window and said, "Hello, Nicholas!" This solved the problem.” While Ellison noted, “Nicholas is all Catherine while Mike is one of the characters we worked on together. In fact, I found the picture of Mike. Since every author has different views of the world we were going back and forth about these two characters. Once she sent me the picture of Nick and I sent her the picture of Mike, from that moment, everything came together. Nick’s partner, Mike Caine is a strong, intuitive, and take no prisoners’ female heroine that is becoming an important part of the team. This becomes obvious when comparing the quotes from the first book to this one. In The Final Cut, Mike was asked about her partnership with Nick, “You take orders rather well, don’t you, Mike?” While in The Lost Key Mike’s attitude is “I guess it’s up to me to keep you (Nick) safe, and yes, then the world.” The authors stated to blackfive.net, “Mike is unmarried, completely independent. She's a cowboy, free and roaming the range. Mike is becoming Nick’s equal even though Nick is more of a smart aleck. She is smart, sassy, a hard worker, and currently her job is her life. She is a study of contrasts. She looks like a librarian with her glasses, yet wears biker boots. I based her on the Federal Marshall character in BACKFIRE, Eve Barbieri. So, who's the peach? Who's the pineapple? You decide.” The plot takes place within a two-day time frame where Mike and Nick must find who is behind the fatal stabbing on Wall Street. Through the investigation it becomes clear that the person killed, Jonathan Pearce, was more than just an antiquities book dealer. After the disappearance of his children the case takes a turn into the dangerous world of terrorism. The villain, Manfred Havelock, is pure evil who enjoys torture. But that should come as no surprise since he is German and appears to fit in perfectly with any Nazi. The plot has Mike and Nick traveling throughout Europe attempting to find and prevent Havelock from achieving his goal, placing implants in humans that would detonate a mini-nuclear bomb that takes suicide bombers to a new level. Intertwined within the story is the history surrounding World War I. From the discovery of polonium by Marie Curie to the sunken German U-boat filled with gold and her scientific notes, the readers are once again taken back to an era sometimes forgotten. Incorporating Curie into the plot makes for a very interesting read, reminding people of her brilliance, especially since she is the only woman awarded the Nobel Prize twice. The Lost Key is an action packed story that has an exciting climax. The interesting and riveting characters, both fictional and non-fictional, enhance the plot. Readers will be terrified and on the edge of their seats throughout the book. As a side note Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison will be supporting veterans by signing books at the military book fair on November 8th in San Diego aboard the USS Midway. Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
Apparently, the President has missed more than 50% of his intel briefings...is that so no one can ask for guidance and he can blame the intel services for failures directly? Or is he too busy to attend the Intel briefs? One he didn't miss below... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Apparently, the Canadian Defense Secretary announced the arrival of 26 Canadian SF troops in Iraq which might bring their total to around 100 SF soldiers. ISIS in America - threats against soldiers and their families are being taken seriously...according to Fox, at least by Military Intel. HuffPo posted this yesterday. And tertiary media is claiming that ISIS is an hour away from Baghdad. That could mean anything...but it certainly is not good news. Last, the FT has a decent write up of the US's "race against time" to get the Iraqis back on their feet and fighting. Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Notorious and Dead Heat by New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan are captivating thrillers. While Notorious is the first novel in a new series featuring investigative crime reporter Max Revere, Dead Heat brings back FBI agent Lucy Kincaid. What is an obvious theme with both novels is the determination to bring justice for the victims. Notorious and the novella, Maximum Exposure, explores how Revere decides to dedicate her life to investigating cold cases and bring closure to the victims’ family and friends. Brennan skillfully takes the reader on a journey by exposing lies, highlighting evil, and holding people accountable for their actions. With both plots the reader will feel invested in all of the characters. The novella’s plot has Max finding the truth behind a college students’ murder in Colorado, centering around the manipulation of bullies. After reading this people will want to jump right into the plot of Notorious where nationally renowned author, reporter, and TV host Maxine Revere decides to investigate a case from her own past. As a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O’Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets. 
Fast-forward to the current day where Max has come home to attend Kevin’s funeral (who committed suicide.). She’s finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she’s not prepared for Kevin’s sister to stubbornly insist that he didn’t kill himself. Intertwined with this case is a different cold case where another murder occurred at Max’s alma mater. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin’s troubled life, but she agrees to do both. Brennan does a great job in showing how the two cases are related. The main character, Max, is seen as headstrong, tough, blunt, smart, and independent. For her, the truth is the most important aspect in solving a crime and she will stop at nothing to get answers. Because of her past demons Max is determined to find closure and peace for the victims’ loved ones. Brennan skillfully shows what makes Max tick, the open ended questions in her own life: what happened to her mother, who is her father, and where is the killer of her college best friend? These have fueled her to make sure the cold cases she investigates have a resolution, especially since so much of her life has no answers. This makes for a very riveting and interesting read. Brennan commented to blackfive.net, “I have a kinship with Max. I also grew up without a dad. I tracked down my father when I was eighteen and found out sometimes fantasy is better than reality. My dad told me he wished my mom had an abortion. He was definitely not the white knight I pictured, but was instead a jerk. The prep school was modeled on my alma mater. It is essentially my school. I knew people like Max and some of the other characters in the book. I used the Silicon Valley setting to have Max rich so that she would be financially independent. I was more like Kevin, not very financially rich. Whether writing about Max or my other character Lucy I put an emphasis on the bad have to be punished. The books I like to read and write seek justice and will have happy endings.” The other series character, Lucy Kincaid, is not at all like Max. While Max is a loner Lucy is part of a team in San Antonio's Violent Crime unit. She is a survivor of a rape that has forced her at times to think of herself as a victim. The quote in Dead Heat best shows how Lucy views herself, which is a much different personality than Max, “She’d grown to depend on him, not just for comfort and sex and companionship, but to complete her. She was happier when he was around, more relaxed, safe.” In Dead Heat the male characters, Sean and Kane Rogan are front and center in solving the crime. The plot has the brothers working closely with Lucy to find and capture the head of a vicious drug cartel who are also involved in child abduction and trafficking. With this series the male characters do the heavy lifting both intellectually and physically. While in Notorious the male leads, FBI agent Marco Lopez and police detective Nick Santini, are more of a supporting cast to Max. Interestingly Nick, Sean, and Kane are all former US military personnel. Because Brennan feels the military is a training ground for a law enforcement career she has dedicated her characters to those people. Her respect for them can be seen by her willingness to participate in the Military Book Fair (www.militarybookfair.org) on November 8th in San Diego, California. She noted to blackfive.net, “I am very excited about raising money to help our veterans. Many of my male characters are military background based. I have my characters going into law enforcement since about 1/3 are former military. I think it is a natural progression. I am very close to someone who I met while she was stationed in Iraq. She emailed me that after lending one of my books to someone they were transferred. While she was over there, over a period of eighteen months, I sent her a bunch of books. Her husband who also served in the military also became a fan of mine. We all became pen pals with books unifying everyone. I admire those serving and who have served for making the sacrifices to support our... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The White House actually posted a video of the President, with coffee type cup in his right hand, saluting the Marines as he departs Marine One...because no one in the White House believes that anything is wrong with that. The video and the the capture of the moment (as well as links to the WH Instagram video of the event) is over at the Gateway Pundit's place. I have no words for this. (someone needs to get a teleprompter with the words "coffee in left hand, proper salute with right" in place next time) Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Click here to see the evidence. Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Deborah Crombie celebrates a “sweet sixteen” with her latest book To Dwell In Darkness that has strong characters and an intense plot. Her style is evident as she engages readers in the crime solving storyline while allowing them to get to know the characters with scenes of their home lives that include children, dogs, and a litter of stray kittens. There are two simultaneous plots that have married detectives Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid immersed in trying to solve. Gemma attempts to build a case against electronics shop clerk Dillon Underwood for kidnapping, raping and murdering 12-year-old Mercy Johnson. This secondary case takes a back seat to the case of Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, recently demoted and transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters. Duncan’ new murder investigation team is called to a deadly bombing at historic St. Pancras Station by Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot, who witnesses the explosion. In this seeming act of domestic terrorism, a young man dies while setting off a bomb in the St. Pancras underground, leaving Duncan and his team attempting to discover his identity and motive. The victim was taking part in an organized protest, yet the other group members swear the young man only meant to set off a smoke bomb. Throughout the story, Crombie has the reader gathering the facts alongside Kincaid as he attempts to find every piece of the puzzle in this unexpected pattern. This includes the disappearance of a mysterious bystander who appears to be Ryan Marsh, an ex-cop gone underground. Crombie commented to blackfive.net, “I got the idea from what happened at the end of the book No Mark Upon Her, when a couple of cops went off the rail. This is the first time I have written a continuing crime arc. I really wanted to tell the story of that corruption. It is shocking all the stuff that is going on there. The genesis for Ryan Marsh’s character came from something I read a couple of years ago about a true story of an underground British cop named Mark Kennedy. He infiltrated protest groups for three to five years. Afterwards he was disavowed by the Met and they outted him as well. He ended up losing his family and became suicidal. He is now living with his brother in the US. I want to show what happens to these officers. How the corrupt officers have so much to cover up and what lengths they will go to. In the next book Duncan will have to deal with this while Gemma will have her own crime to solve.” A welcome tangent to the dark plots is the dilemma the Kincaid-James household is having over what to do with a cat and four newborn kittens they’ve found starving and freezing in a locked shed. The scenes involving the dogs and children’s reaction towards the kittens are a welcome relief to the intense and serious plot. Crombie told blackfive.net that she writes animal segments because of her love for dogs and cats, noting: “Each of the dogs in my stories has a realistic basis. We have three German Shepherds at home, a ten year old, one that was two on 9/11, and an adopted puppy, Jasmine, which is why over the years I have different German Shepherds in my books. My husband always wanted German Shepherds ever since he was a little boy. Because Jasmine came to us from an abusive home where she was neglected, we have absolutely spoiled her rotten. As you can tell, we absolutely adore her. She is a pill and so sweet. Gemma’s dog is based on a Cocker Spaniel I had, who died of cancer about fifteen years ago. I wrote in Geordie as Gemma’s dog as a blue roan cocker spaniel, the dog of my heart, and my fantasy dog.” She went on to say, “In this current book the dogs got short shrift. They usually get more face time. The scenes with the kittens are based on a realistic event that happened to my family. It was my happy based fantasy. We had a female cat that turned up on our doorstep and looked like the cat in the book, although she was not pregnant. She was the sweetest thing, but had not eaten for about a week and was all skin and bones. After taking her to our vet to get checked out we found out she was micro chipped. So they were able to contact the owner. After the lady took the cat back, a couple of weeks later, the cat was run over and killed in the street. What the children in the book said about the owner was me writing out my grudge toward the real owner.” Whether discussing the interaction between the dogs and kittens or between the characters themselves a strong thread throughout the book is the relationship amongst them. Readers are able to identify and relate with the characters either in their personal lives, while solving the crime, or understanding the grief the families must go through when a loved one is killed. Crombie believes, “The reader should know everything the detectives know. When I read a mystery I feel cheated if someone comes out of the woodwork. I also want them to be able to identify with the characters. These are really books about relationships with a crime thrown in. The crimes emphasize the crucial decisions made, including between the good and bad characters. Even if the books do not have happy endings justice has to be served. The bad guys should get their comeuppance. A lot of my books deal with grief. If you are writing crime novels that are any way realistic you have to. I am always very interested in how people handle grief.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Blind Spot, a Robert B. Parker novel, currently written by Reed Farrel Coleman is a spell binding mystery. Coleman, who has been commissioned for the next three novels, after Parker’s death in 2010, is now authoring the Jesse Stone series. Having never read Parker it is impossible to comment on how much Blind Spot followed Parker’s works. However, this latest novel is very fast-paced, exciting, interesting, and can stand on its own merits. With many of the top-notch mystery/thriller authors having passed away, the recent trend is to hire replacement authors. For fans of Flynn, Clancy, and Parker these new installments allow for the characters to continue to live on in the fictional world. Having set the bar high with great character development writers like Coleman successfully faced the challenge. He skillfully keeps to what Parker was known for, his format of short chapters, character’s personality, and snappy banter among the characters. Coleman commented to blackfive.net , “When I was first offered this gig it was for a one-book deal. That happened after I did a fifty-page audition for the estate. I then had to sit down and discuss the plot with the editor. By the time I finished writing Blind Spot I had a four-book contract. I guessed I pleased who I had to please. I tried really hard to be true to the nature of the characters as set forth by Bob Parker. Fortunately, I had previously read several of the novels in the Jesse Stone series. After being chosen I re-read many of these novels to get a sense of the tone. With any series there is discovery, editing, figuring stuff out, putting new stuff in, while all the time creating a world. The pressure comes from knowing that there are millions of fans out there with expectations of what should be in a Jesse Stone novel. I hope I wrote the best book I could while following Parker’s form although not necessarily his style. Parker had laid out the groundwork for me since he masterfully built Jesse Stone in three dimensions. Having written several of my own series characters I understood the mechanics and the pitfalls of a long story arc. I came to the challenge with a great deal of respect for Mr. Parker and a love for the character Jesse Stone.” Jesse Stone, the Police Chief of a small town in Massachusetts, is considered a very complicated figure with the over riding theme of regret affecting his life. This includes being one step away from becoming the starting shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers to being estranged from the love of his life. Coleman also powerfully delves into Stone’s drinking problem and his struggles to not let it overtake his life. Baseball plays into the story through the fact that Jesse had his dream shattered. Coleman believes, “It is having something you really want, come close, and then something happens to shatter that dream. I also wanted to make baseball allegorical for something. I hope the readers see the simile with the quote, ‘Baseball was a game of subtleties and opposites. At bat, the greatest players failed seventy percent of the time. In the field, if you were anything short of near perfection, you were considered a failure. Homicide investigation could be like that too, like fielding.’ A great homicide investigator must be like a fielder, not a hitter. If you want to stick around as a detective you better be more successful than one-third of the time.” Besides utilizing the characters created by Parker, Coleman introduced some of his own. Dee, the FBI agent, who matches Stone step for step is written as independent, sexy, tough, smart, and loyal. Kayla, is Jesse’s former girl friend who was also once in love with him, and is now going through a mid-life crisis as she questions past decisions in her life. With the backstory on Jesse and these new characters, Coleman writes a potent crime story that has Stone personally connected to the murders. After being invited to a baseball reunion by a former minor league teammate, Vic Prado, who happens to be married to Kayla, Jesse is informed about a young girl’s murder in his small town of Paradise. Through the investigative process it becomes clear that Prado is connected to the murder. It is up to Jesse and his squadron to find the killer and bring justice to those killed. The author gave a heads up about his next books. “I am writing a new series that should be out next summer. The main character is a retired Suffolk County Long Island cop, Gus, who is very satisfied with his life. But when a family tragedy strikes, his world explodes and his life is thrown into disarray. The first novel, Where It Hurts, tells the story of his re-emergence and how he helps an ex-con find the people who murdered his son. It is through solving the case that Gus finds some unexpected answers about himself, the nature of tragedy, and gaining control. The next Jesse Stone book will be out next fall and is called The Devil Wins. The plot involves an old crime that happened in Paradise before Jesse was police chief. It is a story of a crime that happens when Molly was a teenager. The book will focus on Molly who is a tough Irish Catholic mom and a very good cop, no matter what locale she works in. She has good cop instincts and sees the world for what it is as she tells it like it is. Her relationship with Jesse is complex since it can considered either one of friendship, just employee and boss, or will it turn into something beyond friendship.” Coleman hopes to keep the themes of all the Parker... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Reposted from 2004, we received this letter from a Marine Corps Officer to his father, responding on what he would write to America...it might even be more important today than back in 2004. From then First Lieutenant Brown, USMC: September 11, 2004 Dear America, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -George Orwell The Marine Corps is tired. I guess I should not say that, as I have no authority or responsibility to speak for the Marine Corps as a whole, and my opinions are mine alone. I will rephrase: this Marine is tired. I write this piece from the sands of Iraq, west of Baghdad, at three a.m., but I am not tired of the sand. I am neither tired of long days, nor of flying and fighting. I am not tired of the food, though it does not taste quite right. I am not tired of the heat; I am not tried of the mortars that occasionally fall on my base. I am not tired of Marines dying, though all Marines, past and present, mourn the loss of every brother and sister that is killed; death is a part of combat and every warrior knows that going into battle. One dead Marine is too many, but we give more than we take, and unlike our enemies, we fight with honor. I am not tired of the missions or the people; I have only been here a month, after all. I am, however, tired of the hypocrisy and short-sightedness that seems to have gripped so many of my countrymen and the media. I am tired of political rhetoric that misses the point, and mostly I am tired of people "not getting it." Three years ago I was sitting in a classroom at Quantico, Virginia, while attending the Marine Corps Basic Officer Course, learning about the finer points of land navigation. Our Commanding Officer interrupted the class to inform us that some planes had crashed in New York and Washington D.C., and that he would return when he knew more. Tears welled in the eyes of the Lieutenant on my right while class continued, albeit with an audience that was not very focused; his sister lived in New York and worked at the World Trade Center. We broke for lunch, though instead of going to the chow hall proceeded to a small pizza and sub joint which had a television. Slices of pizza sat cold in front of us as we watched the same vivid images that you watched on September 11, 2001. I look back on that moment now and realize even then I grasped, at some level, that the events of that day would alter both my military career and my country forever. Though I did not know that three years later, to the day, I would be flying combat missions in Iraq as an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot, I did understand that a war had just begun, on television for the world to see, and that my classmates and I would fight that war. After lunch we were told to go to our rooms, clean our weapons and pack our gear for possible deployment to the Pentagon to augment perimeter security. The parting words of the order were to make sure we packed gloves, in case we had to handle bodies. The first Marine killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom was in my company at The Basic School, and was sitting in that land navigation class on September 11. He fought bravely, led from the front, and was killed seizing an oil refinery on the opening day of the war. His heroism made my emergency procedure memorization for the T-34 primary flight school trainer seem quite insignificant. This feeling of frustration was shared by all of the student pilots, but we continued to press on. As one instructor pointed out to us, "You will fight this war, not me. Make sure that you are prepared when you get there." He was right; my classmates from Pensacola are here beside me, flying every day in support of the Marines on the ground. That instructor has since retired, but I believe he has retired knowing that he made a contribution to the greatest country in the history of the world, the United States of America. Many of you will read that statement and balk at its apparently presumptuous and arrogant nature, and perhaps be tempted to stop reading right here. I would ask that you keep going, for I did not say that Americans are better than anyone else, for I do not believe that to be the case. I did not say that our country, its leaders, military or intelligence services are perfect or have never made mistakes, because throughout history they have, and will continue to do so, despite their best efforts. The Nation is more than the sum of its citizens and leaders, more than its history, present, or future; a nation has contemporary values which change as its leaders change, but it also has timeless character, ideals forged with the blood and courage of patriots. To quote the Pledge of Allegiance, our nation was founded "under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." As Americans, we have more freedom than we can handle sometimes. If you are an atheist you might have a problem with that whole "under God" part; if you are against liberating the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Asia, all of Europe (twice), and the former Soviet bloc, then perhaps the "liberty and justice for all" section might leave you fuming. Our Nation, throughout its history, has watered the seeds of democracy on many continents, with blood, even when the country was in disagreement about those decisions. Disagreement is a wonderful thing. To disagree with your neighbors and your government is at the very heart of freedom. Citizens have disagreed about every important and controversial decision made by their leaders... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
It is always easier to requite an injury than a service: gratitude is a burden, but revenge is found to pay. - Tacitus I understand and agree with everyone that wants to see ISIS f@#$%ed up like polio. But there needs to be a plan to take them out...and that plan would have far reaching effects, not just into Iraq and Syria, but in every nation allowing it's citizens to fight for ISIS (and I lost count after 30). It would have to be GLOBAL and would not end within President Obama's tenure or maybe even his lifetime. First, let us bring in four brief (not all encompassing) but important lessons learned from the last foray into Iraq (and Afghanistan). We didn't pressure Turkey enough to allow use of their territory/airspace. We didn't go after Iran for killing our troops and Iraqi civilians. We didn't surge soon enough. We needed more troops during almost every major initiative. So, questions for the President about our defense would start with: A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats? B. Will you continue to say there won't be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq? C. What does victory against ISIS look like? D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people? E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits? F. Will you seek authorization from Congress? G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China's rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)? H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter - those countries in G above excepted)? I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support? ISIS can not be contained, it must be destroyed, wiped form the face of the earth. To do that, a global strategy is needed to confront the threats that are, seemingly, everywhere, while GREATLY strengthening those who will stand with us. Mr. President, we don't doubt that our military, our nation, and our friends are up to the challenge. Over the last six years, you have given us plenty of reason to doubt your resolve or understanding of the world. We cannot abandon our allies again. It's time for you to do your job as Commander-in-Chief. It's time for Congress to do its job. Put partisan politics and f#cking optics aside and vigorously defend our way of life...or be forever doomed as the leader who let it slip away. Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
U.S. sailors prepare to launch an E-2C Hawkeye from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Arabian Gulf, Sept. 1, 2014. The Geocarrier is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The sailors are assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 124. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Stephens Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Ice Shear, M. P. Cooley’s debut novel, is very impressive. She moves the plot along through the dialogue. Action comes from the character’s words and not from gun shoot-outs or bloody chases. But make no mistake this police procedural is far from dull and mundane. The story begins with June Lyons, a former FBI agent, who is now part of the Hopewell Falls New York police department. Working the night shift her duties seem limited to driving drunks home and handling the homeless. This small town in upstate New York hardly knew what the word murder meant until June discovers a young woman’s body, the daughter of a powerful local Congresswoman, impaled on an ice shear in the frozen Mohawk River. Trying to discover the murderer the local police finds clues leading to the involvement of a notorious biker gang and people running a meth lab. This brings in the FBI where one of the agents, Hale, is an old friend from a past June would rather forget. To make matters worse, she is chosen as the liaison between the FBI and local police since she is a former FBI agent. Cooley skillfully weaves the storyline between revenge, retribution, greed, corruption, jealously, turf fights, and power as the search for the murderer continues. Cooley commented to blackfive.net, “June had grand plans for her life and now feels she has lost everything: her husband, her career, and her home. She knows she made the right decision returning home, but she still feels the loss of her old life. While June would never describe herself as a hero, I think she is, showing up for her family, friends, and city while doing the right thing, day after day. June doesn’t share her thoughts and feelings with most people. Being in her head, the readers may know more about her than a lot of her friends and family. Her family has given the strength and hope to get past her husband’s death and solve the murder of Danielle Brouillette. From her father she got a strong sense of duty and a refusal to give up a case until it is solved. Her daughter gave her a reason to live and a reason to hope. Even grieving, she works to make sure her daughter feels safe and loved, and that includes solving the crimes that could destroy the town where they live. Law enforcement understands the gravity of pulling the weapon, and I used that sense of responsibility in developing the character of June.” Noting about biker gangs Cooley stated, “I went on the message boards and talked to bikers. They consider being in a gang as having freedom and a brotherhood. They believe they are living their values. I had a bit of luck when a group of bikers started coming into my favorite coffee shop on Thursday evenings. They wore full leathers, big Harleys, the whole deal. I wouldn’t have expected Peet’s to be a biker hangout, but they sat next to me one day and we started talking. They called themselves “The Saints and Sinners”, and were a sober biker gang. A lot of them had been part of the Bandidos or Hell’s Angels, but decided to leave when their lives got out of control, and the booze and drugs became too much. But getting out wasn’t easy. They lost their friends and family, their whole life, and to exit they had to be beaten by the entire gang. If they lived through the beating, they could leave. A lot of what they told me became the basis of Marty. I actually plan on bringing Marty back if the series continues.” But it is also a story of grief as seen through June’s eyes. She left the Bureau when her husband became gravely ill, eventually dying. She thinks about him often and leans on her dad, the retired police chief of Hopewell Falls, to help raise her young daughter. Although likeable and smart June keeps to herself putting her personal life on the back burner because of her unhealed anguish. She is still silently mourning the death of her husband while trying to raise her daughter and hold down a fulltime job on the local police force of the town where she grew up. Cooley also dealt with grief. “Two years before writing this book I lost my dad who was someone important to me. I also lost my career as a book editor. For me, grief is making peace with the loss, letting go, and making a new life. I wrote June in a similar path. Marty also suffered grief when he lost his wife. Yet, where as Marty gets pulled back into his past June is able to move forward. Grief had cut me off from other people, which is similar to June in the beginning of the book. She is able to get a high from her job but puts her private life on the back burner.” Ice Shear has a complex plot with many twists and turns. This novel is not just a rural thriller but has themes of power, corruption, and cover-up. Through her well-developed main character, June, she has created an old fashioned hero, a detective anyone can identify with and root for. Mystery readers should look forward to many books in this series that show the make-up of a true champion that can overcome personal obstacles while professionally making sure the bad guys never win. Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the right side bar. Inside Marine One by Colonel Ray “Frenchy” L’Heureux offers insight into his personal interaction with Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. There are no political discussions but just glimpses of his personal stories, a behind the scenes with the Presidents. The first part of the book talks about his life as a US Marine. Because he was running low on college funds and saw a recruiter at his college, he joined the Marines. His life changed forever after seeing President Ronald Reagan land on his way to a fundraiser. Choosing to pursue a career with the squadron that flies the President in Marine One, he researched what he had to accomplish to become a part of that elite group. In 1991, he joined HMX1 flying Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2006, until his retirement in 2011, he was Commanding Officer flying Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. After reading the book and interviewing him it became obvious that the Colonel has a special personal bond with President George W. Bush. He told blackfive.net that he still stays in touch with the President as they write letters to each other. “It all goes back to that day where I was invited to mountain ride with the President. It was like we were two regular guys mountain biking. He goaded me into writing this book.” He also commented that President George W. Bush was a strong supporter of the military and cared about those serving personally. “He even invited my son, Ray, who is serving, to come up to the White House for a brief discussion. President Bush was the first President that came to the Squadron to say thank you and goodbye to HMX-1. He hung around for quite some time after his remarks and took photos with the Marines. I could not have been more proud to introduce the President of The United States to my Marines in their “house.” On the flight back from Quantico to the White House, the president came into the cockpit to tell me just how much he enjoyed his time with the Marines. ‘Frenchman, that was awesome. Thank you so much.’” Another President the Colonel feels a bond with is Bush 41. He refers to the story of how President Bush played volleyball with the pilots and admonished them to play hard against him. “It was then that Mrs. Bush came by and chided us for not wearing a jacket. She also gave us a hug for keeping her husband and family safe.” He also addressed some of the criticism of the book noting to blackfive.net that some information is classified for security concerns so some details could not be discussed. He did emphasize that the helicopters are used within a forty-mile radius because “Helicopters offer a lot of flexibility since setting up a motorcade involves getting a whole flotilla of vehicles into place and securing a route. The security situation is easier to handle. The speed of a helicopter beats ground travel, and it allows the President to get in and out of stops quickly.” Inside Marine One is a fun and easy read. Anyone that wants a few anecdotes about the Presidents served should definitely read this book by Colonel L’Heureux. Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at BLACKFIVE