Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: 'Choosing Sides' by Hyrum Laney

Oregon author Hyrum Laney began composing and writing his Die-Hard Patriots Series in the winter of 2000. TIME BOMB TICKING was Book 1, Book 2 is this CHOOSING SIDES, and they are fine overtures to a potent thriller series whose Book 3 will be released soon.

Hyrum writes a fine, forceful Prologue to lead us into Book 2 of his series: ‘Spring 2008 - The president laid the photo down and glanced around the table at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The evidence was compelling, to say the least. The People’s Republic of China had been a pain in the ass since day one in the Oval Office. They had a knack for siphoning off American jobs, stealing intellectual property and shipping boatloads of cheap plastic products to the States, but had never posed a bona fide threat. If this information could be verified, the most populous nation in the world with 1.328 billion people and the largest standing army of 200 million was certainly a threat to world peace. A rising superpower with the second-fastest-growing economy in the world—a country hungry for natural resources yet rich enough to own twelve percent of the United States’ debt—was not a country to be trifled with. Leaning back in his chair, he took another look at the map displayed on the monitor. The only good news was the Pacific Ocean, separating the two countries with 6,000 miles of water. But if the Pentagon was right, nobody was safe from the threat of war. With less than a year left in his second term, Will Dennison was tempted to let the next president resolve the issue. The only problem was the oath he’d made to keep America safe. Taking a deep breath, he nodded, then spoke. “Do whatever it takes to confirm this. And do it now.” “Yes sir, Mr. President. We’ve put together a plan. Would you like to see it?” “Please.” Without delay the general began to talk, occasionally highlighting an item on the monitor with a laser pointer as pictures came and went. When he finished, the room fell silent. “That sounds fine to me. But tell Donavan to wait until McGraw is out to sea before he gets his orders. This mission has to stay covert.”

To play a bit of catch up, Book 1 is summarized here: : ‘Espionage was nothing new to Captain Larry McGraw and the crew of the USS Charlotte, a Los Angeles--class fast attack submarine. But this mission certainly was. Docked onto the hull of his sub was the new, state-of-the-art Advanced SEAL Delivery System, complete with 16 highly trained SEALs. Orders from the White House were simple, yet clear. Penetrate the Bo Hai Bay--a mere hundred miles from Beijing--and linger while the SEALS conduct nighttime missions. Simple, as long as they weren't detected. But if spotted inside the shallow bay, the orders were clear. McGraw couldn't let the Charlotte or the ASDS fall into Chinese hands, even if it meant destroying both.’ And from that flows smoothly Book 2: ‘The President knew he'd made a mistake. Three Chinese warships were lying on the bottom of the Yellow Sea, along with four hundred dead sailors. China was retaliating by dumping stocks and bonds, causing financial markets to plummet and war with the rising superpower appeared imminent. In a desperate attempt to conceal the botched mission from the world, the President orders survivors of the USS Charlotte to be hidden inside the Pentagon's Dilorenzo Health Clinic and directs Secretary of State Claire Haskett to negotiate a settlement with Ambassador Chen Feng. As negotiations began, one survivor escapes and the President recruits senate staffer Cal Stockton to rein him in. Stockton follows his directives until he realizes a massive cover-up is underway and he is forced into choosing sides.’

Though we are not privy to Hyrum’s military experience or political experiences, he makes us feel the immediacy of this timely story, and eager to read the third installment. Grady Harp, November 16
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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