THE FIRST GRAY MAN NOVEL FROM #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR MARK GREANEY
“Hard, fast, and unflinching—exactly what a thriller should be.”—Lee Child
To those who lurk in the shadows, he’s known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target. Always.
But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these as the only currency worth fighting for. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness.
But Court Gentry is going to prove that, for him, there’s no gray area between killing for a living and killing to stay alive…
My thoughts …
Just wow! If you like fast-paced action bordering on unbelievable, you will not be able to put the book down!
The main character in The Gray Man, Court Gentry, is badder than James Bond, Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp, and Wolverine all rolled up into one. The action moves at a superhuman rate. You will certainly not be bored.
The question is … is it even close to realistic? The answer is no, In fact, it is about as unrealistic as any book can be. I’ve never read a book in this genre that has more action combined with a hero who takes that kind of punishment and then walks away like Deadpool.
I really did like the book and I will probably read the series but it is more of a superhero book than a political thriller based in any kind of reality.
If super-fast-paced wild and violent thrillers are your thing, this one is a must!
I will admit I wrestled a bit with the star rating, but I did thoroughly enjoy the read. So, I will have to go with 4 stars. However, I can see why some reviewers think it is over the top and give it lower star ratings. And, if superhero stories are your thing, you will probably give it a solid 5 stars.
I hope you will take the time to check out some of my other book reviews by clicking here!
I am proud to announce the release of my new novel, Montagnard!
The paperback version of Montagnard is now available at Amazon.com. The hardcover will be available June 30th. It should also soon be available online at Barns & Noble and Books-A-Million.
In addition, it has received its first review … 5 Stars.
This review is special to me because it is from someone who very much enjoyed the story despite not being a huge fan of the military action genre. This reviewer found several threads in the story that she enjoyed even though the language and action were a bit outside her comfort zone. You don’t know how much I appreciate that. You can read the entire review here!
Action thriller indeed …
… If you enjoy details about martial arts and weaponry, combined with a well-woven thriller, you’ll enjoy this. I was more taken with a couple of threads of the story that hinted toward redemptive outcomes after such scenes of human despair left behind after the Americans pulled out of SE Asia.
Joy Neal Kidney
Thank you, Joy, for the honest and great review.
Your support is truly appreciated.
You can order your very own copy of Montagnard, by clicking on the links below!
Well, it’s here! The promised sequel to Serpents Underfoot. I have worked very hard to make this book better than the first, and if I say so,, I think I succeeded. I hope you will read it. And, I am definitely interested in hearing your comments!
To order your kindle copy of Montagnard for the introductory price of only $2.99, click here!
One former USAF pilot said …
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and liked it better than the first one. The first one got a little tedious to read due to the (understandably long) historical setup sections that weren’t tied together until much later. I felt that I wanted to understand the context, and then it jumped to the next section for a long time without any ties to the previous one. This book was much better, and I enjoy books that carry the main characters through to the next.
And if you haven’t read Serpents Underfoot, you might want to check it out as well. While I have improved my writing in Montagnard, Serpents Underfoot is still a good read with about 30 Five Star Reviews.
A little progress each day adds up to big results!
I had a great call with my editor this afternoon, and I was excited because I was finally going to see the edits she had made to Montagnard. Unfortunately, this turned out to be precisely what did not happen. There will be a delay of a couple of days.
However, we did go over some of the notes she had jotted down during her editing process. For example. there were comments like:
Pace and flow are very good. Great character development. Good detail, but not overboard. No Fluff.
The narrative speaks to the reader. Good dialogue. Shows, not tell. Likes the word “however” a bit too much. (Corrected)
Great how friendship is developed among the team members.
Romance is good, well-done. Didn’t make me roll my eyes!
Spaghetti and meatballs are Italian/American. Won’t find in Northern Italy. (Corrected)
I was flabbergasted when she said, “I would put this work up against the top writers in the genre. The book is fantastic – very well written.
So then, what is the hold up, you may ask.
Montagnard is now being reviewed by subject matter experts!
My editor comes from a Navy family – with a long history of military service and many retired military friends. It seems she thought the book was good enough that she wanted to share it with some subject-matter experts and get some feedback from them.
So, Montagnard is now in the hands of several clandestine readers. I can’t say anymore, or they might have to kill me. That would not be good because I want to write a few more books.
One expert has responded, stating, “It doesn’t bother me.” And, according to my editor, that is very high praise indeed. This particular person doesn’t normally like to read stuff like this because it usually upsets him, leading to comments like, “They wouldn’t do that,” “You couldn’t make that shot with a rifle like that,” or simply, “That’s bullshit!” We are awaiting feedback from the remaining three. Hopefully, in the next day or two.
While I was initially disappointed by the delay. I am now thrilled. Folks, I really think it’s going to be pretty darn good. I do hope you will want to check it out.
I just received the official Kindle version cover from my cover design expert, Angie, on Fiverr.com. The paperback and hardcover versions are waiting until I get the final edits back from Beth Werner at Author Connections in about two weeks. I need the actual page count to determine the spine width.
Another component, at least for the paperback and hardcover versions, is the back-cover book description, a 200 to 250-word blurb designed to catch the prospecting reader’s attention and get them to buy your book.
A fiction book’s back cover blurb should:
Situation: Briefly describe the circumstances of the story.
Problem: Highlight the situation or hitch that makes change inevitable.
Hopeful Possibility: Provides the hope of overcoming the crisis, whether a cool character or long-shot possibility that provides the belief that the difficult problem can be overcome.
Mood: Sets the emotional state that readers will have from reading your story. For instance, a “dark, dystopian tragedy,” “humorous chick lit,” or “suspenseful, romantic and awash in…magic.”
Here is the most recent version of the back-cover blurb for Montagnard
Navy SEAL, JD Cordell, is ready to retire and take his K9 partner, Ajax, with him. JD has exciting plans for a new life that includes the courageous and beautiful Doctor Ellen Chang he met on a mission in Niger.
But when JD’s father unexpectedly dies of cancer, his grieving mother travels to Vietnam to search for her adopted Montagnard brother whom she hasn’t seen in over thirty years. Mai unwittingly steps into a blood feud between her Montagnard brother and a powerful Vietnamese drug lord, a bitter hatred that began during the Vietnam War.
When his mother disappears into the seedy underbelly of Ho Chi Minh City, JD has no choice but to come out of retirement for one last mission. And Ajax is with him all the way.
Dealing with an explosive situation such as this, even two battle-hardened veterans like JD and Ajax might need a little help from some old friends … and maybe a few new ones.
I would love to read your reaction to it … pro or con. Please take a moment to leave a comment.
Thank you, in advance, for your help with this.
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Berlin 1939 – 1943 From the smoking ruins of a bombed Berlin brothel, three shocked and injured female survivors are taken to a secluded training facility by Nazi officer, Gruppenführer Watler Schellenberg. They’re not there for official business but for medical treatment.
Trained by the SS officer in all aspects of espionage, the women are desperate to survive. They turn the tables on their armed captors and kill them. After covering their tracks, the women return to ply the only trade they know… with an added twist. Somehow these ‘sisters in arms’ escape the attention of the Nazis, despite the high rank of their victim, and their lucrative business thrives.
They haven’t escaped everyone’s notice, though. British Intelligence was monitoring Schellenberg’s operations for some time, and their attention has zeroed in on the three women. They dispatch one of their top male agents to make contact…
My thoughts …
I enjoyed the story very much. And I like how the story was told through the eyes of the three main characters; Hannah, Heidi, and Petra. You really get to know these characters well and can feel their fear, anger, frustration, despair, and desire for justice. You are quickly caught up in their lives.
This novel is also a fascinating blend of fact and fiction, with a unique plot. There are exciting twists and turns around every corner. Readers also get a real look inside Germany, and the suffering of the German people brought about by Hitler’s ambitious plans for Aryan “Lebensraum.”
I have done a significant number of book reviews over the years, and it dawned on me that they become too easily lost among the other blog post in a typical blog feed.
Therefore, I created a new book review page called DC’s Book Reviews and will display images of the books I have reviewed on the page. Each image will contain a link to that book review in my blog. I have been working on this for several days, and it is now ready to go live.
Voilà! A lot less searching.
I guess I’ve done about 40 or so book reviews. However, 16 have been added to date. I will keep working at this until all of them are on the book review page.
I do enjoy good books and reviewing them for other readers. However, lately, whenever possible. I have turned to audiobooks. I guess my eyes are getting a bit older, and too many years of working at the computer have taken its toll. Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy books, even with tired eyes!
While I only review books I have an interest in reading, anyone interested in having an honest book review done by me can contact me through my contact form. I will reply as quickly as I can.
Click here to view my new book review page. It is also a menu option a the top of the page.
I have learned good beta readers are worth the time and effort!
I got the first set of results back from one of my beta readers, and I have to admit, I was blown away and humbled at the same time. Of course, there were some typos, punctuation errors, suggestions for clarity, and perhaps some rewording. But I was pleasantly surprised at the rather small number of errors found in the text. I must give most of the credit to Grammarly!
Will anyone like what I have written?
Most authors can identify with this question. I suppose it gets easier with time and success, but I am still mostly amazed that people enjoy reading my work.
So, I was really blown away by some of the comments made by this particular beta reader, Eric. I know Eric well enough to know that he will give honest feedback and he has done beta reading for other authors as well.
I thought I would share a few of his comments here. They will not mean much until you read the book, but then, that may entice a few folks to take a chance and read Montagnard when it comes out this summer.
Here are some of the positive comments:
The story flows well and is an exciting read.
Like in Serpents Underfoot, I appreciate reading the many boots-on-the-ground anecdotes and other “Behind the scenes’ experiences of your characters. Especially the reactions of the family members when they learn their daughter has been kidnapped.
The experiences of the SEAL team members, their conversations, thoughts, and activities are quite compelling.
I was worried if there would be any friendly casualties. Next, I found myself VERY worried about Ajax during the grenade incident.
Every time you described Ajax and “a thump of his tail,” it made me grin.
There are dozens of terrific one-liners in here (e.g., the Browning .45 spoke twice). I won’t echo them all, but good job!
It’s good storytelling, and really, that’s the reason we read.
There was some constructive criticism as well.
1) This one was more a comment than a criticism. Eric said he is not used to short paragraphs, and that took a bit of getting used too. I am not sure I will change that. I kind of like writing in short “digestible” segments and find that I get lost when paragraphs go on and on.
2) There was a confusing section in the third chapter. It was a flashback to Serpents Underfoot and Vietnam during the war, and then a return to present-day Vietnam. Comment appreciated, and section reworded for clarity.
3) I would use a Vietnam Names website to find names for characters in the story. I discovered I had used the same name for two female characters and had to go back and change one of them. Apparently, I missed a few. That has since been corrected.
Four more beta readers to go!
I definitely will use beta readers for every project going forward. The additional sets of eyes are indispensable.
Also, I am using a professional editor this time around. She gets the book after the beta readers are done with it. This should help keep costs down. Good editors are not cheap (as you will discover if you ever try to hire one), so keeping the work the editor has to do to a minimum is a big plus! Especially if you are on a tight budget.
Dr. Ellen Chang, working for Doctors Without Borders, is trying to curtail a Hepatitis E outbreak among the desolate villages north of the Nigerian city of Agadez. It is a rough region, sparsely populated with hopeless villagers, bandits, and now, al Qaeda, fleeing from the success of American forces based in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Abardek village was the last stop before the team would head back to the drone base outside Agadez. Exhausted, Ellen had treated seventy-three patients so far. There were another seven waiting in Abardek. Ellen saw each one in turn. The hardest to see were young children. The look of hopelessness and hunger in their eyes was almost unbearable. Ellen frowned as her mind drifted home for a minute. So many people in her generation had no idea how damn lucky they are.
People protest over such stupid stuff, Ellen thought. They should experience a little of this life. Life or death, out here, was real.
After Ellen treated the last patient, Norman threw her medical kit into the back of their old Land Rover. At least the hot and dusty day was drawing to a close. Bram stood nearby, keeping a vigilant eye on the surrounding desert. Ellen hadn’t met any mercenaries before this and didn’t know what to expect. He seemed quiet and polite enough, very professional, but there was a detachedness in him that discouraged much in the way of pleasantries.
What makes a man do what he does? Ellen wondered. God, it was hot!
It was so hot and dry that you didn’t even sweat very much. Or at least, it didn’t seem like it. Any sweat evaporated immediately. Ellen took a sip of water from the bottle she held in her hand. She always carried one; hydration was vital in Niger.
And to think I volunteered for this shit! She almost laughed.
Ellen suddenly became aware that Bram was waving her frantically toward the Land Rover. He was yelling something as well. But with his Dutch accent, it was hard for her to make out his words. Then from nowhere, Norman grabbed her arm.
“Come on, Ellen! Run! We’ve got to go now!” Ellen heard shots being fired and turned to see Bram on one knee, firing the Galil Ace assault rifle he never went without. Her eyes looked in the direction the gun pointed, spotting a group of pickup trucks racing toward their location.
Needing no more urging from Norman, she turned and raced the few yards to the Land Rover. Ellen climbed into the passenger seat as Norman jumped into the driver’s seat and pressed the ignition switch. The Land Rover’s old engine sputtered to life. Norman threw the transmission into gear and spun the wheel, swinging around to pick up Bram. Bullets were flying everywhere. Ellen could now see men standing in the back of the speeding pickups firing their weapons. As the Land Rover moved toward him, Bram dashed toward it, reaching for the rear passenger side door as Norman momentarily hit the brakes. Reaching back, Ellen tried her best to help him in. Bram was halfway into the back when several AK-47 rounds tore into his back. Ellen screamed as his blood splattered over her arms and face.
“Get the fuck out of here,” Bram yelled as he fell back, several more bullets striking his body. He was dead before he hit the sand. Norman stomped the accelerator, heading for the road that led back to Agadez. Bullets slammed into the side of the Land Rover. A pickup truck cut wildly across their path. Instinctively, Norman swerved to avoid hitting the smaller vehicle. The Land Rover skidded to the left, glancing off the side of an old mud-walled hut and careened wildly in the opposite direction. Norman fought to regain control of the Land Rover, correcting for the skid. He overcompensated. The Land Rover flipped over onto its passenger side. The last thing Ellen felt was her head hitting the windshield hard. Everything went dark.
Please leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this small selection from Montagnard!
In the jungles of Vietnam, innocence is the first casualty of war…
Nineteen-year-old Eddie Henderson is a private in the U.S. Army. His parents are deceased, and he has no one in his life except his platoon brothers—Porter, Rocky, and Professor. His fellow soldiers are his family now. But none share a bond as close as he and his best friend, team leader Mitch Drexler.
In the heat and jungles of Vietnam, each man does the best he can to survive. Battles are fought, friends lost, and promises made to the fallen. But when the enemy fatally wounds a platoon brother in a deadly attack, the dying soldier makes Eddie promise to fulfill a final vow… A debt of blood that could change the course of his life forever.
When Eddie and his friends’ tours are over, they return home to a world they barely remember. But Eddie is still trapped in the past. He has no family, no home to go back to. Just a nightmare he lives over and over again. A dark vow he made to a dying friend. And one question, burning in his mind…
Will he keep his promise to his friend? No matter the cost?
My thoughts …
While I served in the U.S. Army several years after the war in Vietnam ended (from 79 to 83), I have always been fascinated by the Vietnam War. I certainly saw enough on the news to be curious about what it must have been like, and this has led me to read a great deal on the subject. Add to this the fact that, later in life, I had a few good friends who were Vietnam veterans, and who would occasionally share snippets of their experiences during the war, which only served to increase my desire to try and understand the background and circumstances.
I have read all four of Glyn Haynie’s books. Each one has been excellent and a real pleasure to read. While the first three were memoirs, Promises to the Fallen was Haynie’s first foray into the world of fiction. It did not disappoint.
This novel is an incredible read! Haynie puts you right in the middle of the Vietnamese jungles, the smells, the mud, the villages, the people, and their rice paddies. It is almost like you are there, and with those young men who find themselves in another world, an insane world full of danger, death, fear, courage, loyalty, and sacrifice. It is also a world of hope and hopelessness, where you can’t tell your enemies from your friends, and you anxiously count the days, hoping you survive until you get to go home.
The author draws on his own experiences in Vietnam and in close infantry combat to make this book one heck of a page-turner. And, for those of us who have served in the U.S. military, whether it was during the Vietnam War, other conflicts, or even during peacetime, Haynie’s narrative will bring to mind memories and experiences of your time in the service of your country.
To those who haven’t served, this novel may help you to understand why those who serve in the military are the way they are … their pride in their service, this country, and its flag. And yes, even its problems and shortcomings.
The bond of brotherhood that exists between those who have served together is a real bond that stands the test of time. When you cut through all the hyperbole, it is really about the man (or woman) in the foxhole next to you. While politicians, the media, and Hollywood love to talk about defending our country, baseball, apple pie, etc., it is really about defending your buddy while he or she defends you.
I found Promises to the Fallen extremely difficult to put down. It took me through a broad range of emotional responses as it laid bare the authentic, unadulterated experience of the American soldier in Vietnam; the good, the bad, and even the ugly. I highly recommend this book to all.
Now, on to Leora’s Lettersby Joy Neal Kidney, another book I have been anxious to read! What great books have you read this winter?