Book Review: Levant Mirage

Levant MirageA few months back Oliver shot me an email. I had given his previous book, Marsh Islandan honest and fair review. He asked if I would be interested in giving his new book a read, and possibly reviewing it for him. At the time, I had given up reviewing books, but since I had reviewed his book once, I thought why not. I replied that I would be interested and sent me a copy of his newest novel, Levant Mirage.

The book follows Adam Michaels, a Major in the Army, who after an incident on the battlefield sees his once promising career derailed as punishment. It’s not until an attempted kidnapping that his career is mysteriously rehabilitated, he’s promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, then summarily retired and sent on an undercover assignment, all stemming from a Ph.D. dissertation he worked on some ten years prior. His question is why?

He is thrust into a world of intrigue, of betrayals and half-truths, a world where he forced to survive by his skill, and blind luck. His life is put at risk, not knowing what’s truly at stake since those in the know refuse to tell him the whole story. He finds colleagues murdered, sees one assassinated in front of him. He soon uncovers the horrible truth, of a terrorist plot to use his technology to bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

Michaels is in a race to save America and mankind from a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. He turns to his grandfather, a titan of industry, and familial friends to assist him, not knowing who else to trust. The normal rules of government and diplomacy no longer apply, so he enlists his former commander, a new representative in Congress to circumvent normal procedures. With annihilation closing, he puts everything on the line as he puts his last ditch effort to save humanity, battling traitors and saboteurs unknown, risking everything, including his life.

But will it be enough?

At first, I’ll admit, I had a hard time following what the story was about. Military and political intrigue, to be sure, but so what? Sure, there was a love interest thrown in to complicate the issue, but it would become clear what the story was about.

Levant Mirage is a story of its time. Oliver F. Chase wrote a timely novel of religious and political upheaval, of groups that would pervert the name of God in order to usher in their vision of the apocalypse and the world. There’s also the element of how the political game is played, a government that doesn’t trust itself, of various agencies holding on to secrets that threaten America’s survival, incapable of doing anything else but follow an obsolete protocol, to its own detriment.

At its center is the protagonist, whose research has been hijacked in order to create a world-ending weapon, and therefore is the only man who can save the world. As such, he becomes a target of terrorist groups and governments seek to destroy the west, especially Christianity and the democratic powers.

It’s a scenario that’s all too real given our time in history. There’s no lack of men and women who become radicalized and take up the anti-democracy mantel to betray their fellow countrymen. It’s a story that’s all too often on the evening news as of late.

While the book is a work of fiction, there’s enough truth that it is in a way a warning, that our freedom and our lives hang precariously in the balance. With this in mind, I absolutely recommend this book to all my readers. It’s gripping, chilling in its delivery, and leaves the reader on the edge of their seats, needing to know what comes next, and how the world could possibly survive.

I mean, from what I read, I’m sure I’d be dead, but I won’t hold it against the author. I just hope it remains a work of fiction.


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Book Review: Marsh Island

November is halfway over, and Thanksgiving is next week. Black Friday is next, which officially kicks off the holiday shopping season. Are you ready? If between the festivities, and the shopping, you begin aching for a moment of peace, please check out this week’s selection. I’ll be reviewing Marsh Island by Oliver F. Chase. You can find him on Twitter.

51XFSc1hJzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Phoenix Private Investigator, Phil Pfeifer, a retired Army Ranger, made a career of exposing cheating husbands for spurned wives. It wasn’t especially lucrative, but it paid the bills, and the danger was nothing out of the ordinary, that is until Bernice Trimble came into his life.

Mrs. Trimble, first hired the P.I. to investigate the disappearance of her husband in Mexico, and if he could, to expedite an official death certificate to collect on a million dollar life insurance. Once done, he thought no more about her and the ugly episode south of the border, that is until she found him again 18 months later.

What follows is a series of false leads, intrigues, and mysteries that put Pfeifer’s life on the line. With the dying Trimble sure that her husband is alive, this begins the most treacherous case to date. At risk is his career, his life, and at one point even his sanity. For what? To chase the ghost of a man he believes to be dead?

Even after many warnings from his friends and who he believes to be men with mob ties, he continues relentlessly, unsure himself why he refuses to quit. The job puts him in the crossfires, and the biggest mystery is why. Why should his attempt to find a dead man for a grieving wife jeopardize his life? More importantly to him, who is behind the threat?

Marsh Island is a thriller to its core. It’s twists and turns kept me reading, searching for answers. The storyline kept me turning to the next page, only to become more determined to find the answer. Page after page, Mr. Oliver had my heart racing, and my adrenaline coursing though my body, watching and waiting to see what came next.

And I’m still waiting…

This book is the first of the Hirebomber Series, and is bookended by our antagonists, but the book proper is solely the realm of our private eye. We follow him as he fights to find the answers, struggles to survive, and witnesses death.

I found the book as a whole to be well-written, but felt that the prologue seemed a bit unwieldy, only paying off late in the book. It served its purpose to give back story, but I think it could have been better served incorporated into the story. As is, it postpones the beginning of Pfeifer’s narrative, and almost caused me to put down the book.

But after reading the book from cover to cover, I’m glad I persevered. I became engaged with the main character. I felt his frustration at some of the characters who stood in his way, and became enraged by the obvious corruption of many. His was a simple life, only complicated by the desire of a dying woman, and which might end in his ruin.

In spite of its shortcomings, this is a very good book. If you are a fan of exciting thrillers, ones that get your heart pumping, books that are impossible to put down, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. You won’t be sorry.

Marsh Island goes on sale this Friday, November 22, 2013.

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