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July 2018

Book Review: Black Chamber

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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Black Chamberby S. M. Stirling is part alternate history and part thriller involving spies, secret identities, and daring acts. The historical timeline deviates after Taft dies, allowing Theodore Roosevelt to win the presidency instead of Woodrow Wilson. The difference of having Roosevelt at the helm can be felt throughout the book as America considers entering World War I in 1916.

It is obvious the author admires Theodore Roosevelt.  “I wrote much of who Roosevelt was through the main character’s eyes. Teddy was the first President to drive an automobile, fly in an aircraft, and to go down in a submarine. Teddy was very different than Taft, who he described as a ‘walrus on legs,’ and Wilson as a ‘prissy, sissy Princeton professor,’ a dry stick who is a man dominated by theories.  If the facts do not agree with the theories so much for the facts. He was really a ‘wus,’ and quite a contrast from Teddy who really knocked out a gunman with his fists, shot Grizzly Bears, and arrested bandits. His adversary, Kaiser Wilhelm, had Teddy envy.  He wanted to be everything Teddy was: a real soldier, reformer, and a great popular leader. The Kaiser imitates Teddy a lot. In my “BC” universe he believed in government scientific research and the development of a spy organization.”  

Black Chamber is a CIA-type organization, a secret spy agency to protect America.  Luz O'Malley Aróstegui, the cunning spy, is assigned to find how the Germans plan on preventing America from coming to the rescue of Allied nations.  She boards a flying vessel, a zeppelin airship, destined for Amsterdam. Her mission is to go deep undercover, portraying a Mexican revolutionary. She meets with the German contact,Imperial Sword, who turns out to be a, good-looking German by the name of Baron Horst von Dückler.Finding out that the Germans are planning something nasty, Luz uses all her skills to get the information and thwart the horrific danger to America.

It appears to be in the German DNA to gas people.  “During my research, I found out Germany invented chemistry and poison gas, and being better than Hitler’s Nazis is a pretty low bar.  The Germans started WWI and drove the brutalization and radicalization during the War.  They had no conception of how to deal with a beaten opponent except grab them by the throat and squeeze until their eyes popped out.  They shot hostages and deported people for slave labor. In this book, Germany developed nerve gas.  A pint of it could kill hundreds of thousands of people.  It is the DDT for people.” 

Luz is a great character that uses Sherlock Holmes traits of deduction and action type talents of James Bond.  Coming from an Irish-Cuban American heritage she speaks numerous languages that allow her to infiltrate the enemy’s circle.  She is tough, clever, charming, and has a thoroughly modern outlook.

Stirling noted, “She is an exceptional person who did extraordinary things.  Luz is an only child whose father was an Irish American engineer and her mother Cuban.Luzgoes deep undercover, portraying a Mexican revolutionary after her parents were brutally killed by radical Mexicans.  She wants revenge and decides to join the Black Chamber. She enjoys riding, shooting, and climbing, skills she uses as a spy.  Luz is an American nationalist, highly intelligent, adventurous, and frivolous. She is almost invincible as a spy because she is a woman, thus is underestimate.”

Readers learn about the culture, setting, and values of America during that time period.  For example, a scene on how Luz dresses, “There were situations where a woman could wear trousers without attracting too much attention.” Acceptability comes from Roosevelt, a Bull Moose Progressive Republican, having Congress pass the Equal Rights Amendment instead of "just" women's suffrage. Although Stirling takes author license with dates and issues of the day the way he infuses these historical events allows for a more interesting story.

The secondary characters are very well-developed. Ciara is a woman that understands mechanics and technology who becomes an ally of Luz. The German Horst is a very powerful man, strong, smart, and charming. Theodore Roosevelt is more of a background character and his views and insights are understood through Luz’s thoughts.

Stirling offers readers a carrot, the fabulous engaging protagonists, and a stick, the power of the plot.  He employs Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big stick diplomacy,” through the many intense action-filled scenes.After reading this first in a series of “Black Chamber” novels, people will look forward to reading the next novel involving these believable and gripping characters.


Book Review: 9 Rules Of Engagement

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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9 Rules of Engagementby Harris Faulkner brings to the forefront the lessons she learned growing up in a military family, which can be applied today. She pays homage to the military ideals that shaped her, showing how everyone can benefit from their wisdom. Her father, a decorated career officer, a lieutenant colonel, served three tours of duty in Vietnam and raised his children with the values and ideals of the US military. The 9 rules include “Trusting your own potential, Overcoming the odds, Recruiting our own Special Forces, Dealing with your demons, Staying ready, Wearing camouflage, and Unleashing the power of integrity.”

The Emmy award-winning news anchor of Outnumbered Overtimewith Harris Faulknerand co-host of the talk show Outnumbered uses the skills she emphasizes in the chapter, “Staying Ready.” Anyone who has ever watched these shows quickly realizes that she asks the formative questions, never allowing a guest to spin false narratives.  “I try not to have people talk past each other and to do the one thing we all need to do, listen.  As a host, I try to give people an opportunity to speak. Yet, I watch to see if they try to filibuster, a sign to me that they are losing the argument.  I enjoy hearing all sides of a conversation and think that viewers can also learn from it.  I want to do the work of the viewer so that they don’t have to figure out what the truth actually is.  I ask questions to illuminate where people are coming from and to get to the truth. It is less about who is right and more of what is right.”

The chapter, “Recruiting Your Special Forces,” shows the importance of being surrounded by supporters.  “I married my best friend.  Today, people are dividing, firing, separating based on politics.  Instead, we should ‘fire’ someone if they do not show support for your dreams and victories.  In your personal life as you strive for your goals the inner circle must be tight and we should never tolerate someone who does not have our back.”

In speaking with Faulkner, it became obvious that she values integrity in a person. “The military integrity and credo gives us that clutch.  I understand how difficult some things can be. But those serving know when things fall apart military brats show their resilience. For a little background, in the book I refer to it as an enduring term standing for Born Raised And Transferred. I think it is the military saying thank you to us kids for having grit too.  When one member of a family joins the military, the whole family bears the weight of the service.  We sacrifice time with that parent while they are deployed; we move wherever our loved one is needed; we uproot our lives; we leave our friends behind; and we start all over again with a supportive and positive attitude because it helps our loved one do his or her job effectively and return home to us safely. I want families to get more credit for helping America as much as the person serving. It is total family service. I always tease people, if you come up against a military offspring, you better come forward with a lot of integrity and intuitiveness, because we do not give up easily.”

This is a bi-partisan book that has a great quote about another form of integrity, showing an understanding for those who do not agree with you. General Jack Keane’s book quote on how Americans can use the military perspective is very powerful, especially in today’s culture.  “We are racially, religiously, culturally, economically, and geographically diverse, but for us to be effective, we have to build strong unit cohesion…Every single member of the team has to submit to something larger than self.  That’s the military’s key to success. Despite all the differences that we may have, the only way we can succeed as a military organization is to be bound to each other. Our concern for each other has to trump our concern for ourselves.” 

It would be nice if politicians put this quote up in their office where they must stare at it each and every day.  Faulkner noted, “One chamber can pass three hundred bills and the other chamber is so politically constipated they can’t work through them. In our lives, we can win by working together. A person’s integrity is measured by how you treat others. Besides the military, I would also put First Responders, and those defending us on the North and South Border, in this category of those with integrity.”

The “Camouflage” chapter has a personal anecdote.  She speaks of how she watched her dad polish his black boots. “It is more than just a fashion statement.  If you are in the Navy you need a blue set of clothes.  You are not going to fight in the desert with anything but a sandy uniform. I do the color wheel for the women on “Outnumbered,” because I want people to look at the screen and see each of those women as dynamic, strong, smart, quick, and an individual.”

She is very grateful to her dad for allowing her life to be molded by those in the military, “people who served this nation for the greater cause. My dad is loving, has a sense of humor, and is a fabulous storyteller.  My dad would sit someone down and no matter what the circumstance he would start with a story.  He would bring me to the Pentagon where I met fabulous leaders.  My mom used to tell me because of my dad the bar is high.  As a child of an officer we are expected to be positive components of our community and to give our lives meaning and purpose. I am very grateful for having grown up in a military family.”

Anyone who reads this book will understand how Faulkner has respect, gratitude, and pride in the military.  It is a story of courage, love, and duty. 

 


Book Review: Double Blind

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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Double Blind by Iris and Roy Johansen is a heart stopping story.  This series has a very original premise and this novel, in particular, has a killer that is unique.  Blind from birth, the main character, Kendra Michaels, regained her sight at the age of twenty. Now she is able to use her extensively distinct senses and acute analytical skills to help the FBI thwart bad guys.

The Johansens created a classic detective “with powers of observation and deduction, seeing some things no one else could see. But we want to make sure Kendra does not have super powers.  She can see, hear, and smell things, which anyone else can if they were paying attention.  What makes her special is how she trained herself to pay attention.  There was a lot of time spent on making sure she was different; yet, maintains the classic detective traits. Like most blind people she grew up fine tuning her other senses to compensate. Now that she has her sight, thanks to a rare, successful stem cell surgery, she is able to pick up sounds and smells that most others do not even pay attention to.  She soaks up the world around her, including her sight.” 

As with many of those who cannot see, Kendra enhanced her other senses to compensate.  Although no longer blind, she still has a great power of deduction and incredible critical thinking abilities. The FBI has requested her on this case because of her capacity to quickly notice the smallest of details. Shrugging it off, she has been known to say that her powers were nothing any other person could deduce if they concentrated on listening, observing, and watching. 

This case literally came to her after a woman is found dead with an envelope having Kendra’s name on it.  It contains a memory stick of a wedding video.  What soon becomes apparent is that the wedding party has been targeted by a serial killer who strives to get the maximum number of victims by inflicting emotional and physical pain.  Through the investigative process Kendra and company realize that the killer is connected to a mercenary organization.

The supporting cast includes former FBI agent Adam Lynch, now a contractor who works by himself; Olivia, a friend of Kendra’s from childhood who became blind in an accident; Jessie, a private investigator after retiring from the army, and a group of FBI agents.  Lynch is almost always at Kendra’s side and has her back. This new case brings Lynch and Kendra closer, but there is still the tug of war between them.   Each are strong, smart, brave, and honest; although in their private lives Kendra and her peers have many secrets.

The authors wrote Kendra “as complicated, brisk, cautious, loyal, and impatient.  She has difficulty with those who she considers lazy in doing their job. She has a colorful history from those wild days after she was given her sight.  Kendra always speaks her mind, especially with her FBI counterparts. Her counterpart, Lynch,is learning to work and play well with others through Kendra.  He is very much his own man with a steely confidence.  His hated nickname is ‘Puppetmaster,’ because one of his talents is having people bend to his will.  He can be very persuasive, a master of manipulation.”

This mother/son collaboration make a great team, able to write edge-of-your seat suspenseful stories with compelling characters. The twists in Double Blind can lead readers to be blind-sided so be forewarned.


Book Review: A Gathering Of Secrets

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo is a powerful story. From the very first page, when a young Amish woman commits suicide, the plot takes on a dark and gripping tone, a very thought-provoking novel.  Bur readers should not be surprised considering Castillo books are always insightful and riveting.

The author explained, “The book opens with a young Amish woman committing suicide.  Readers do not know why, but as they turn the pages they begin to understand what happened to her.  There is also this young man who was burned to death, a very sad situation.  As the investigation takes on an ominous tone, I chose to explore the question, is murder justified?” 

The story begins with Amish teenager Emma Miller hanging herself and then fast forwards six months where Painter Mills police chief Kate Buckholder is called to investigate a body found in a burned barn.  The initial reaction is that it was a freak accident, but as the evidence builds up Kate suspects murder.  This eighteen-year-old Amish boy, Daniel Gingerich, is found inside, burned alive,and barricaded in the tack room with no way to escape.  She is baffled since it appears Daniel has no enemies in the world, yet, he dies a harsh and cruel death.  The investigation takes on twists and turns since Daniel has a secret life.  Secrets are the heart of the story as the Amish community stays silent, basically attempting to stonewall the case. Kate begins to wonder if this peaceful and deeply religious community is conspiring to hide a truth no one wants to talk about.

As she wades through a sea of suspects, she’s confronted by her own violent past, which made her leave the Amish community. She finds that there are many parallels to her past as the rape of Amish girls are hidden, and not talked about or reported. This part of the story is very relevant to issues of today.  It is an Amish MeToo Moment.  What also makes the plot authentic is Kate’s reflection on the Amish sects, their principles, rules, and her ability to speak the Dutch language.

I never want to generalize, and remember this is a fictional story. I think that we should never generalize the entire community.  But in this story, the community did try to sweep things under the rug.  The mother of the girl who committed suicide was first seen as uncaring and not supportive of her daughter.  The parent reactions depend on how they were raised and which sect they were from. Another girl, Ruth, who became pregnant from a rape, had her mother decide to find her a husband to pass the baby off as her husbands.  Each mother tried to sweep the secret under the rug.  In my research, I read that an Amish boy who does something terribly wrong, even raping someone, can get off.  If he confesses before the Church congregation, he is forgiven.  This is why I wrote the girls not speaking up, some committing suicide, because they knew the boy would have been forgiven and they would be caught up in the stigma.” 

Castillo is a master at building suspense with intense and dark secret undertones. This harrowing thriller, with so many interesting characters, emphasizes how religious beliefs influence the communities’ morality and the desire to obtain justice.


Book Review: THE BOOKSHOP OF YESTERDAYS

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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The Bookshop of Yesterdaysby Amy Meyerson is part mystery and part drama involving family dynamics.  It is a shout out to those who love books and bookstores since the main mystery is centered around both, and comes about with riddles from book quotes. Clues to the scavengers’ hunt are found in the classics of the past, The Tempest, Jane Eyre, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Frankenstein, Fear of Flying, Persuasion, The Grapes of Wrath, andBridge to Terabithia.

The story begins with Miranda Brooks’ twelfth birthday party.  Her beloved Uncle Billy is a no-show and to make matters worse that night she overhears a fight between him and her mother.  She sees Billy only once more and then he cuts himself off from her life. Similar to someone who has lost a loved one she experiences grief, loss. and anger. He left her with no explanation.Fast-forward sixteen years later where Miranda attempts to make a life for herself in Philadelphia teaching history in a middle school. 

She finds out Billy has died and the fond memories of their times together sweeps over her. He took her to his Los Angeles bookstore Prospero Books, where they would read, solve riddles, and have elaborate scavenger hunts full of surprises. After the funeral Miranda learns she inherited the financially challenged bookstore and Billy has left her one more scavenger hunt: a quest to provide answers about the mysterious family’s rift that no one wants to speak about.

Myerson explains, “My bookstore visually looks a lot like one in Echo Park.  I borrowed a lot physically from it, but not any of the actual character struggles. I also spoke with some managers of bookstores that helped me to understand how they work. Silverlake, the community in Echo Park, has changed a lot. I wanted to make Prospero Books an earlier relic of the neighborhood that is disappearing.”

Furthermore, “I love books about books.  I wanted to set a story in a bookstore.  The reason for the bookstores’ name, “Prospero Books,” is because “The Tempest” has a scene where he gains magical powers through books.  Also, Billy would take Miranda there as a way to connect with her.  Since it was originally his late wife’s he thought Miranda might also connect to her.  I think it was a way for Billy to share his late wife, Evelyn, with Miranda and keep the memory of her alive. I think he tried to explain his life to Miranda through the books in his bookstore and not directly as in a letter.  Scavenger hunts were a way Billy communicated.  It enabled him to explain his emotions and through the riddles he was able to talk to Miranda.”

Early on many readers will realize the big family secret.  Yet, they will turn the pages to take the journey of the scavenger hunt with Miranda to find out find out how the past family secrets would be revealed. A scene from the book would forewarn readers that the quest is more important than the mystery: “he left her clues meant to impart wisdom and knowledge as well as lead to the reward: Even though I always figured out where the quest was going before we got there, he refused to let me rush through the lesson.”

The author explained, “I wrote how Suze, Miranda’s mother, realized holding back secrets makes it progressively more difficult to tell the truth.  I wrote in this book quote, ‘It’s difficult seeing parents for who they are, rather than who we want them to be.’ I wanted to explore the way we can and cannot know our parents.  I know I feel this way and I think others do as well. It is hard to fully understand who they were before they became parents.  We only know what they chose to tell us and how they chose to tell us.”

This heartfelt debut novel explores loss, healing, and family with all the tensions, misunderstandings, and estrangements that are sometimes part of it. Books and the bookstore are an added bonus allowing readers to understand the importance of forgiveness.


Book Review: The Summer Wives

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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The Summer Wivesby Beatriz Williams combines romance, secrecy, and suspense.  As with all her books she concentrates on a mystery, the murder of a rich playboy, and social issues, class conflicts. Intertwined within the plot are complex relationships that connect all the characters. 

The setting plays an important role in this novel, just as it had in William’s blockbuster novel, A Hundred Summers. Both take place on an island with an obvious clash between the haves and have nots, where all are determined to keep the outside world from its shores. In this book, Winthrop Island, off the New England coast, is the summer retreat for the old wealth and elite and the yearly home of the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers as well as their families.

Williams noted, “Winthrop Island is inspired by Fisher’s Island, which is off the coast of Connecticut. Until the early 1920s it was purely farm land.  It was then developed where half of the island has beautiful homes and a golf course. It was very difficult to research because people don’t like to talk about Fisher’s Island.  Most of the Island is behind a guard’s booth and it is isolated since the only way to get there is by ferry.   Older money came there to escape and use it as a retreat. Families came there year after year during the summer, mingling only with themselves.  They went to the Island to build silos around themselves.”

The story is centered around Miranda Schulyer, told in different time frames. In 1951, she was an eighteen-year-old just graduating high school, and then it fast forwards to 1969 where she is a thirty-six-year-old actress.  All the incidents in the book go back to how Miranda was affected by them, whether the death of her father, the murder of her step-father, the relationships between Joseph and Isobel, also Miranda’s sister by marriage, and her true love, Joseph.

Coming from a modest family Miranda is thrown into a world of wealth and elitism, after her mother marries Hugh Fisher.  His great-grandfather made the family rich by taking advantage of the Victorian hygiene craze.  She is drawn to Joseph, the son of the lighthouse keeper and a lobster fisherman, who is on summer break from Brown University. Realizing she is falling in love with Joseph her dreams are shattered after he is accused of murdering her step-father and she is banished from the island for defending him.

“I wanted to explore the relationship between the summer residents and the year-round residents, made up of the working class.  The differences included religion: Catholicism of the ordinary folks, and the Episcopal Church of the WASP culture that was only opened during the summer.  In addition, there was a class and wealth difference.  I wanted to explore all these disparities.”

Fast-forward to 1969 after Miranda returns, now a famous actress. Both Joseph and Miranda are escaping. She tries to renew her relationship with her step-sister, Isobel, and her mother, while Joseph is trying to survive as a fugitive. She wants to reignite the love she had for Joseph and prove his innocence. But in doing so, the Island's secrets begin to unravel.

“I wanted to show how those who fought in World War II were from the elite class of leaders in the military, political, and industrial world.  But during the years the story takes place in they chose to exist on the money their grandparents made.  They essentially became spectators instead of participants.  This generation prized itself on preservation rather than innovation, so they became static.  The future does not belong to people who don’t want to change.  They never questioned the values of society.  I chose 1969 because of the moon landing. It has the symbolism of showing that this generation were just deep spectators.  Once they went into preservation mode they wrote off their own relevance.”

The book delves into the themes of heroism, sacrifice, and redemption within the self-contained society. In some ways, it will remind people of those 1930 movies where love conflicts with power.


Book Review: The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washingtonby Charles Rosenberg is a great Fourth of July novel.  Anyone who feels a sense of patriotism will want to read this gripping story about America’s General George Washington. The suspense ratchets up as readers wonder what will happen to one of America’s greatest heroes. 

This thought-provoking alternative history book takes place in the midst of the American Revolution. An English plot to kidnap General George Washington, brings him overseas to England, and puts him on trial as a traitor. But some like British Prime Minister Frederick North want to use him as a bargaining chip to put an end to a very costly war. British special agent Colonel Jeremiah Black, an officer of the King’s Guard, is assigned the task of landing on a deserted beach in late November 1780. Aided by “Loyalist” Americans he is able to sprint Washington aboard the HMS Peregrine.  Upon their arrival, Washington is imprisoned in the Tower of London to await trial on charges of high treason.

An interesting controversy explored, are the US colonies in rebellion and therefore subject to charges of treason, or are they a separate country; thus, Washington should be treated as a prisoner of war? “I found out these were actual arguments at the time. Washington would argue he was a prisoner of war, and that under the laws of war, he must be released at the end of hostilities or exchanged for another prisoner.  The debate: were the colonists a legitimate authority or rebels, as the King proclaimed in 1775, in a state of rebellion? Although, there were actually exchanges of prisoners.  In 1781 Henry Laurens was swapped for the British General Lord Cornwallis who was famous for losing the Battle of Yorktown. I think given the chance George III would have wanted Washington executed.” 

Although Washington is more of a secondary character, throughout the novel his presence looms significantly.  Key characters include the American ambassador, Ethan Abbott, sent to negotiate Washington’s release, the British Prime Minister Lord North, and the defense attorney chosen to defend Washington, Abraham Hobhouse, an American-born barrister with an English wife. An added highlight has all the characters’ debating key issues of the time.  Rosenberg does this with a great writing style where readers do not feel as if they are being hit over the head with a history lesson.

Rosenberg noted, “He is definitely not the protagonist of the novel, but is more of a topic in it.  I realized that the first third of the book, where the planning and capture of the General happens, would have him not commenting at all.  For the second part, where he is on the ship, he is a prisoner, who is basically helpless.  This means that he would not have a lot to say. Because various people would have objected and commented that Washington would not have thought that or done this.  I tried to present him as his contemporaries described him. There were not a lot of personal writings since Martha Washington burned his letters after he died. This made it hard to get a lot of material.  However, I did read his speeches and hope that I came close to the way he would have said things when I did quote him.”

This alternative history is informative and interesting, within a gripping novel.  Part adventure story, part spy novel, and part courtroom drama it has many twists. This what-if plot has an intriguing storyline.


Book Review: Dark Side of the Moon

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

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Dark Side of the Moonby Alan Jacobson is another “OPSIG Team Black” adventure.  This story will literally take people to a new dimension. Readers will feel they are on a journey on F-18 fighter planes and a trip to the moon while combating espionage, the dark secrets of the moon, and kidnapping.

Jacobson commented, “After reading this article about Apollo 17 bringing back moon rocks I had an idea that maybe they could be used for military purposes. Since I do not write science fiction I needed to do a lot of research and worked with some awesome people. I talked with an engineer who worked on the Space Shuttle and is currently working on a NASA project.  The different organizations that cooperated were NASA, JPL, Lockheed, and SPACEX.  People helped me work out the logistics of how the mission should be carried out.  Even though it was quite an endeavor, given the opportunity I would do it again. Mainly, because I have been fascinated with space, growing up with Star Trek and the Apollo missions.” 

Readers find out that after returning to the earth in 1972 Apollo 17 brought back some classified items. Discovering its importance, a NASA engineer leaks the information to foreign governments.  Now there is a race to the moon to find an element called Caesarium.  If found it can be used to produce a weapon with an ultimate magnitude of destruction, that has important military applications.  In order to stop China and Russia Hector DeSantos and Aaron Uziel (Uzi) join with two astronauts on a mission called Operation Containment.   They must prevent Caesarium from being brought back. 

Meanwhile back on earth, Karen Vail and company have determined that the mission has been sabotaged and they must find out the mole who did it. Karen Vail and her colleague Alexandra Rusakov will have to find the mole and destroy the spy ring that planted malware on the ships that are now headed for the Moon. To complicate matters Hector’s father is kidnapped and will be used as leverage.

The author likes to venture out and write new stories.  His last book, Darkness of Evil, and his next book will delve into serial killers.  “As a writer, I want to keep fresh and different. I want to challenge my characters and myself to acclimate to new environments.  Karen Vail has been to Paris, England, and Spain maneuvering through the different cultures, places, laws, and law enforcement.  I think this current book about moon elements is extremely relevant.  Space can help with our military readiness that includes determining logistics.  We need to maintain our superiority in space and should applaud our President’s efforts to reinvigorate our space program. We need a moon base to collect natural resources and use it as a spring board to get to another planet.”

Space is coming to the forefront once again.  This believable story shows the importance of America keeping its space superiority. It also highlights how Karen Vail must maneuver through lies, betrayals, and disloyalties to find the culprits.