5 star review
No Easy Day by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
Mark Owen’s account of the Navy SEAL raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the killing of Osama bin Laden (OBL) is a powerful, must-read account. In spite of the uproar over whether Owen’s book violated secrecy laws and that trust of the U.S. Government and military, it’s a gem of an autobiography that anyone, from SEAL fans to those who want to know the truth about OBL’s killing should read.
Given the amount of media leakage that occurred following the raid, including revelations of the SEAL’s involvement hours after the attack and identification of the author’s real name in the media, it’s understandable why Owen wanted to set the record straight after watching the media spin fanciful stories of what happened. The uproar against a retired SEAL who legally vetted the text for sensitive information is hypocritical given that no public action has been taken against anyone currently in uniform or serving in the administration who have leaked far more revealing information about the decade-long pursuit of OBL.
I definitely recommend this book and give it high marks — 5 stars. Better the truth from one who was there than the spin provided by the administration, by Hollywood through movies such as the upcoming “Zero Dark Thirty,” or the media’s talking heads. That Owen tried to honor his fellow SEALs who put their lives on the line without the recognition they deserve day in and day out and is donating proceeds from the book to charities that support SEAL families is an added bonus.
No Easy Day is now available at:
I Forgive You by Nathan Pennington
Pennington’s suspenseful short story is a quick read that packs a vengeful wallop. Emotions run the gamut in a story that can be read in one sitting. It grips you from the first sentence, drawing you before you know it into the story of the second-person protagonist who laments over the fate of someone you never meet but plays a central role in the story. Without giving too much away, it’s about the protagonist’s encounter with a man whose checkered past leaves him torn over how deal with an unseemly revelation. The two characters engage in an interplay that leaves the reader sympathetic to both individuals and eager to reach the last page in order to discover how the encounter plays out. Pennington ends it with a satisfying twist in a killer flourish that befits a writer in the crime fiction genre.
While short, the story is a worthwhile read. You will get more for your money from it than some full-length books I’ve read. I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it.
I Forgive You is now available at:
In Her Shadow by August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin’s psychological thriller “In Her Shadow” is a page-turner that leaves the reader guessing what will happen and fulfills the anticipation with a surprising, unexpected twist at the end. The novel tells the tale of Claire, a Harvard-trained psychologist whose insecurities stemming from her parents’ premature deaths exacerbate a series of actual or perceived events that trigger a relapse of an eating disorder and acute anxieties. The plot is a series of vignettes about Claire and a mysterious woman held captive by a sadistic man. It’s woven into a tale that begins broadly but narrows to an exciting – and startling – conclusion. Although the reader is initially left wondering how two very different stories are interconnected, as the plot progresses, McLaughlin links the subplots in a stunning finale.
I really enjoyed this novel. McLaughlin put her heart and soul into this book and laced it with her own expertise in health, nutrition, and relationships, among others. She uses her insights to tell a believable if disturbing story. Even as it conjures questions of “Why would someone do such a thing?” it reminds one of true stories from around the world that are even more bizarre and tragic than what her thriller portrays. The plot pace is fine, and the story moves along. McLaughlin wrapped up the story’s loose ends in a crisp conclusion that addressed unanswered questions to this reader’s satisfaction. The story begs for a sequel to unravel the aftermath of the tragedy that unfolded.
I found myself second guessing the characters’ choices at times, wondering why they did this or didn’t do that and whether their choices were believable. McLaughlin addressed some potential plot holes, such as explaining the police’s delayed response to a missing person’s report. She leaned heavily on her deep understanding of health and nutrition. While Claire’s eating disorder was a central aspect of the novel, I thought a bit overdone to focus so much on food and drink when some references didn’t seem to add to the plot.
I highly recommend August McLaughlin’s book and give it 5 stars. I look forward to reading more books – and hopefully a sequel – from this talented novelist.
In Her Shadow is now available at:
About August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a Los Angeles-based health writer and journalist with articles featured regularly by LIVESTRONG.com, DAME Magazine, Healthy Aging Magazine and more. Before completing her first novel, In Her Shadow, she worked in the fashion, film and wellness industries, wearing hats ranging from Parisian runway model to culinary coach. Considering her longstanding passion for thrillers, she wasn’t surprised when her attempt at a memoir turned quickly into a fictional tale of suspense. She is represented by John Rudolph of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management and is in the midst of completing her second thriller and a nutritional guide to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.