By: John Henry Hardy
Publication Date: July 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 24, 2018
When this series first began in a very powerful Volume I, we met up with three very different people with very different backgrounds. We dove into the world of one young man whose family (especially his mother) was all about wealth, status and making sure you kept your chin “higher,” so to speak, than anyone else in town. Another was not about money. In fact, he grew up in the swamplands and had a true tragedy in his past. After becoming a college football hero, he moved on to become a hero in Vietnam. The third is a female; an emotional girl who strives to love, lead, and aid others. The one thing this trio does have in common, however, is their penchant for loyalty.
Readers watched the Bostonian fly the skies over Vietnam and defend; the college football hero learn to survive in a war zone; and the young girl blossom into a woman with a broken heart but a sense of belief and hope that life was going to get better.
Then…we open on this, Volume II, and the action begins on page one. Sitting in a highly quiet alert room trailer on Da Nang Airfield with Norman Coddington, we can almost hear the sound of the clock ticking and the men snoring as they wait and see if the VC will attack. The enemy are skilled night fighters and the skin almost crawls while wondering when the sounds of violence are going to begin. Norman is thinking about the woman who has tripped him up and stolen his heart; a Filipina nurse named Barbara that his pristine Bostonian family will most certainly abhor, bringing his mother’s threats to disinherit him closer to becoming a reality. This once happy-go-lucky playboy knows Barbara will never be accepted by his dysfunctional clan based on skin color, alone. Of course, Barbara knows that if his family also knew the truth – that she came from a background so poor that she ended up in the world of prostitution before escaping from a sadistic husband – they would literally be sent over the edge. She is in love with Norman…but she also has to deal with the fact that a murderous ex will not stop trying to find her until he has her by the throat.
Cathy Addison RN, the woman who readers fell in love with the first time around, is Barbara’s best friend. They have a lot in common, particularly that they both work as nurses and have stalkers who are intent on taking them out. Engaged now to Dion Murphy (the young college hero), Cathy is dealing with another huge emotional smack-in-the-face now that Dion has disappeared and is being hunted by an enemy sniper by the name of Ngu Gin. When one of Dion’s soldiers reveals information to an enemy agent by mistake, an enemy who was disguised as a prostitute at the time, an all-out hunter versus prey plot takes over. But what will eventually occur will send Cathy into the darkest areas of both war and life that can possibly be imagined.
If wondering whether or not this incredible sequel is a stand-alone story, the answer is no. Yes, the action and war tales are fantastic and would get any reader involved instantly, but the story packs way more of a punch when the reader has already followed this trio through the first book. This is war…this is violence and pain told in the most realistic of ways. This is love, emotion, life, dealing with bigotry, money, the upsides and downsides of what you are born with, who you are born to, and the life you are “instructed” to lead. No stone is left unturned here, and if possible, this second installment is even better than the one that started it all.
Quill Says: Clear the bookshelf in order to put this series in a place of honor, and…bring on the Grand Finale!