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July 2015

Book Review - "Nemesis" by Catherine Coulter

The following book 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 on the right side bar.

9780399171277_p0_v1_s192x300Catherine Coulter's 19th FBI thriller, NEMESIS, keeps the reader turning the pages between two fast-paced and complex plots. This is the first thriller where husband and wife team Sherlock and Savich are separated, each working their own case.

Coulter wanted to explore “how each would react when they are not together, including the fear, and helplessness of being kept in the dark.” 

The most interesting and realistic of the two storylines involves FBI Agent Lacey Sherlock.  While in a security line at JFK Airport a man pulls out a grenade and captures a hostage.  His plan is foiled when Sherlock is able to take out this jihad terrorist.  But this was only a diversion for the real terrorist attack that is occurring at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  It is a cat and mouse game played between the terrorist leader, known as the Strategist, and Sherlock, who is irritating him, because a woman is able to thwart his plans. 

 The secondary subplot has FBI Agent Dillon Savitch, with the help of Agent Griffin Hammersmith, trying to solve murders where the perpetrators have no recollection of committing the crimes.  Savitch must use his psychic abilities to stop a master manipulator, Stefan Dalco, who evades his dreams, tries to kill him, and seeks revenge killings on others.  This story is based on the real Wicca religion, which believes in Witchcraft and supernatural abilities.

Coulter stated to blackfive.net, “I did a crash course on ‘Wicca for dummies. It was a lot of fun to work with.  But readers should remember this storyline is fiction.  If I can scare the reader silly with the psychic dream attacks, then I've succeeded. I also scared myself writing them.” 

Coulter always introduces new characters, in this case, FBI Agents Kelly Giusti and Callum (Cal) McLain.  They are admirable, likeable, and someone readers root for.  With the terrorist plot, women are front and center with Giusti, the interrogator, Sherlock, the Agent who connects the dots, and the terrorist’s wife, a ferocious, independent, who stands up to Islamists.  From the very first page of Nemesis the action ratchets up.

Unfortunately, Coulter will not have these new characters return because “I like bringing in new and different characters in every book.  If I were to bring them back they must be able to move the story forward and not stop the plot.”

Coulter's third thriller in her new series, A BRIT in the FBI, THE END GAME, comes out in September.  Nicholas Drummond and Mike (Michaela) Caine find themselves involved in an extraordinary plot by terrorists committed to the destruction of the West. The plot is very timely considering the situation in the Middle East today.

Coulter always enjoys hearing from her readers. Send her an email note at [email protected] or post her at Facebook.com/catherinecoulterbooks. She posts every morning and replies to all comments.

Book Review - "The Hunters" by Tom Young

The following book 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 on the right side bar.

9780399166891_p0_v1_s192x300The Hunters by Tom Young is a mystery novel for airplane enthusiasts.  It takes readers back to the days when pilots had to use many of their own skills and instincts to fly.  Because he served in the Air National Guard he incorporates this knowledge into the stories. 

Young noted to blackfive.net, “ I have had a life long interest in the DC-3.  I got the idea for this story when I was personally approached in the 1990s to fly a relief mission.  It did not involve a DC-3, but rather my favorite plane, a C-130 Hercules.  Unfortunately, this project never got off the ground. I wondered if this group had settled for a less expensive plane, the DC-3, maybe it could have been realized.” 

This is more of a Colombo type mystery where readers know almost from the very beginning the outcome of the struggle.  What makes the pages turn is trying to figure out how the protagonists will escape.  The story begins with Colonel Michael Parson, convinced by his good friend Sophia Gold, into using his leave from the Air Force to fly relief supplies into Somalia in an antique DC-3 cargo plane.  They come up against an al-Shabaab leader, The Sheikh, who recruits young boys to become Jihadists for food and violently kills anyone working with the aid group. 

Young noted to blackfive.net, “Parsons has grown over the years.  In rank he has been promoted from Major to Colonel and has become a commander.  He sees himself as wanting to use his skills to make the world a better place.”

The theme of the book is something people have struggled with throughout history; does one good deed overcome all the other horrific acts?  Although Young attempted to draw sympathy for the teenage Jihadist Hussein it fell short.  His actions were not just violent but horrifying be-headings.  How could someone become redeemable, and should they, after committing these acts?


The Hunters has a very violent plot so anyone squeamish might have trouble with the storyline.  Others will find it a fast-paced, action packed plot.

Photo - Tactical Insertion

Hires_150705-N-XE158-064cU.S. Marines set up a perimeter after a tactical insertion with an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft as part of an amphibious assault during Talisman Sabre 2015 at Fog Bay, Australia, July 11, 2015. The Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. The bilateral exercise trains U.S. and Australian forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations. 
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Louis Rojas 

Photo - Boat Ops

Hires_150712-N-NI474-252cU.S. Marines conduct small boat ops using combat rubber raiding craft from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay during Talisman Sabre 2015 in the Indian Ocean, July 12, 2015. The Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel M. Young 

Photo - Fight Before Markmanship Training

Hires_marinesgrapple2aMarine Corps Lance Cpl. Thomas Campos, right, fights to subdue Lance Cpl. Devon Borks during a short-range marksmanship qualification course aboard the dock landing ship USS Rushmore while at sea, July 9, 2015. Marines grappled for two minutes before the course of fire to simulate firing under stress and fatigue, which can occur in combat. Compos is an M32 gunner and Borks is an automatic riflemen, both with Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Exp U.S. Marine Corps photo by Emmanuel Ramos

Photo - Ready the Raft

Hires_150709-M-GR217-111cAs seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines prepare a combat rubber raiding craft for launch-and-recovery drills during Talisman Sabre 2015 from the well deck of the USS Green Bay at sea, July 9, 2015. The Marines are assigned to Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Bekkala 

Photo - Last Check

Hires_150714-F-QN515-101cA U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot waits as airmen complete a final check of the aircraft’s weapons before taking off for a combat sortie from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 14, 2015. The pilot is assigned to the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and the airmen are assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford 

Photo - Seahawk Flares


An MH-60R Seahawk helicopter fires flares near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during an air power demonstration in the Pacific Ocean, July 11, 2015. The carrier hosted more than 2,000 family members and friends to demonstrate the ship's capabilities. The helicopter is assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73. 
U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Tom Tonthat