Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Major Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky's Blaze of Glory ~ Reviewed

By Major Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky
Published By: B & H
ISBN# 978-08054-4854-2
379 Pages

Back Cover:

United States Sgt. Major Eric Moyer and his Special Operations unit have been called in to track down a wealthy Egyptian terrorist who is believed to have sordid ties to a sudden increase in female suicide bombers. Chasing El-Sayyed through Italy, they soon gain interconnected details about a Mexican drug lord who is plotting to kill the U.S. and Mexican presidents.

Now Moyer and his team must stop not one, but two madmen on separate continents. And with a new member of the unit hiding his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, a third problem begins to boil.


While reading Blaze of Glory, I developed a new appreciation for our military men. I’m thankful for the review copy, which gave me a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the men and women who risk their lives so that our country can be safe and free.

Blaze of Glory gives the reader a fascinating, suspenseful and realistic look at military operations from an insider’s point of view. I was clueless about the preparation for these top secret missions. Sergeant Major Eric Moyer is the leader of this six man Special Operations unit that heads off to try and stop suicide terrorists who want to blow up a hotel; the hotel where the United States and Mexican presidents, along with eighteen other world leaders, are staying.

Because of Major Jeff Struecker’s twenty years of military experience, the storyline is scary and believable. Some of his experience has been depicted in the movie Black Hawk Down. With Struecker’s trained eye and knowledge in the military operations and Alton’s writing experience, this team takes the reader places only a well-seasoned soldier could go. I really enjoyed the way these authors showed the human side of military life...the men, how they trusted one another, how they joked around and how they enjoyed each others laughter.

Soldiers,” They were a different breed of men, especially career warriors. They were complex beings that hid more than revealed.”, even with friends and family. I liked the beginning of this book; it starts off in a light-hearted atmosphere as the readers get to know the colorful cast of characters. I felt as if I were there watching the men give J.J. a hard time as he announces he’s engaged. They start ribbing him about dates and how he found someone. Engaged? How did that happen? “J.J. was used to exchanging ‘barb’s’ with the guys. It was one of the ways they dealt with the work they had to do!!” It also showed they cared for one another. Laughter was a gift they all cherished.

This writing team has the perfect blend of humor, suspense and action. The humor gave the characters in the story, and the reader, a welcome relief in some very dramatic action scenes! The reader is right in the middle of a military mission that could have been taken from headlines, “Concern today—the work of suicide terrorists’ – people willing to martyr themselves by driving a bomb-laden car or truck into a crowd. Or strapping on an explosive vest, or carrying an explosive stashed into a crowd.”

A new twist the increase in women suicide terrorists’ – even woman who are pregnant! What would make a woman do such a thing-especially when pregnant?

Captain Moyer gets his men ready and introduces them to a new member of their team. A member everyone knows- a war hero! They all know of Jerry Zinsser and are glad to have him aboard. Jerry’s a little embarrassed—likes to keep to himself for several reasons. The war hero has a few secrets he can’t tell his team or anyone else for that matter; he struggles with post traumatic stress disorder—PTSD. This was Jerry’s secret battle. The one he was slowly losing. Jerry dreaded sleep or anything that would trigger a flashback. Yet, he felt in his heart he could control mind for one last mission.

Zinsser's team leader, Eric Moyer, and the others were watching Jerry and wondered if they could rely on him in the thick of the battle. Captain Moyer shares what he felt about fear. “Moyer’s fear morphed into annoyance. There was not shame in fear. No soldier denied being afraid. Instead they took pride in conquering fear!”

Interesting way of looking at fear, don’t you think? Blaze of Glory is not just another war novel; these authors did a great job of having the reader instantly care about the men and their families. The reader gets to know the men on a very personal level, and saw how being a soldier 24/7 affects everything they do and every relationship they have - even with one another.

J.J. is a Christian and walks out his faith in the middle of the battle; he’s not preachy but honest. Jerry tries to avoid him because he’s afraid he’ll beat him over the head with a bible, but that’s not J.J. He says he preached once and no one listened, so now he just lives out his faith. When someone wants to talk, he’s there to listen. His team knows he’s a Christian and respects him; they even ask for prayer every now and again.

I highly recommend this book!! These authors take the reader on an exciting action adventure while maintaining there realistic nature of the story. This novel made my hair stand on end because I knew that most of the military drama, both on the field and off, and the scenes depicting how soldiers struggle with PTSD, are real; either Major Jeff Struecker experienced them or someone he knows did. This is the second book in a series...Certain Jeopardy was the first. I’ll have to read that one next.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

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