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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Ghost Sniper: A World War II Thriller by David Healey

REVIEW

The story’s frame is clear from the moment you open the book or better said from the moment you see the cover, the subject being one as old as the one of the knight who saves the damsel in distress. Perhaps not as famous as that one, but certainly, I think, is coming in the second place in literature or in the visual art. You know what I mean, right? The duel. Yes, you could say that many stories with a damsel in distress will find their closure in a duel, or that in the more recent or not collective memory a duel inspires a medieval set or a life and death skirmish in front of a typical saloon in the Old West. But even such a dreadful carnage as WWII which had as result the deaths of tens of millions of people, combatants or not, can be the perfect setting for a duel of true warriors. So... leave aside the swords, the rapiers or the old Colt Model 1873 "the gun that won the West" and get acquainted with the sniper rifle. A perfect weapon for times less elegant that have nothing to do with chivalry, but that in the hands of professionals could cause more damage than an entire battalion.


Thus, let yourself be carried by the author into the story and live the moments of horror along with the book characters in the famous assault of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, or the allies’ terror that fought in the terrible bocage in the same French region. Do not worry, the author does not intend to throw in your arms a dull history book nor to torment you with dry data and statistics that might get you bored, because WWII is only the game set. As the rules of the game I can tell you that it is only one: there are no rules! I could use the well known comparison of the game of cat and mouse (I used it myself and I know sometimes it is suitable for certain situations), but in this case would be more appropriate E. Hemingway’s quote: "There is no hunting like the hunting of a man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter". Sounds good, right? Yes, but it is a sad truth, and represent the corollary for this book.

It is a novel in which the hunter and the hunted have similar type of weapons and where only the training, the wit and ... luck can make the difference. In fact, in such a clash of professionals it seems that luck becomes the main trump. A race of terror, of stone cold natures and twists. An adventure in which the distance between life and death is measured in fractions of a second, and I am not referring here to the extraordinary reflexes of a lone gunslinger, but to the hunter’s ambush who carefully choose the victim whose death can have a devastating effect on its comrades. The fear and the confusion were snipers’ advantage that had found their perfect playground in the region of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

The Ghost Sniper is an interesting, well written novel, in which the author will not abuse of all sorts of tactical or technical military description, but will focus on the feelings of the characters, on the characters’ confrontation. The Ghost Sniper is a story in which the guns caliber or the number of soldiers do not matter, but the sharp eye and the sly of the predator that lurks in the shadow. A book in which the focus will be on the action, where pointless descriptions and downtime will not exist and you will crave to know the denouement.

Happy reading and… stay frosty because everything can go FUBAR!



About the author:
David Healey has been a journalist, librarian and teacher. He has written several novels, including the Civil War novel “Sharpshooter” and a mystery, “The House that Went Down with the Ship.” His nonfiction books include “Great Storms of the Chesapeake” and “1812: Rediscovering Chesapeake Bay's Forgotten War.” His articles and essays have been published in many magazines, including American History, The Washington Times, Blue & Gray, Running Times and Maryland Life. When not writing, he enjoys hiking, working on his old house, and driving his family crazy by pulling over to the side of the road to read historical markers.

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