Special Forces soldier turned author, Colonel Mike Sanchez, survived the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and converted his military experiences into a new career as an "inspirational" motivational speaker. But his heroic demeanor and outward confidence mask a burden he carries on the inside, the agonizing memory of two brothers with whom he served in the war. Caught off-guard at a public speaking event, Sanchez is compelled to expose the ghosts of his past and his searing memories of a bloody battle on a blasted Afghanistan hilltop where love conquered fear forever.
The Guru's Review:
I was asked by the author to review his debut novel after finding me on my Amazon review page. Being a new author and the genre being one of many that I love, Christian military, I agreed. Encouraging new authors is one criteria that my blog exists for. I also love encouraging Pastors who become authors too.
My first impressions after reading this short (estimated 31 pages as stated by Amazon) is that Moynihan packs a lot in a short space. Another is that he knows how to write well. His command of the English language makes this novel flow well and is very smooth. This, coupled with a strong plot development and very real characterisation makes for one all-absorbing and believable story. I was totally transported to the military base in Afghanistan and all reality of my life did not exist as I was there, observing all that went on, experiencing the fear, anxiety, the despair of the characters and also the brotherly love that existed between brothers Daniel and Zachary Taylor. I also felt the care and concern and genuine Christian love from Mike Sanchez towards Daniel and Zach and from Daniel to his unsaved brother. Mike not only comes across as an experienced leader but also as a father/Pastor figure. I felt very close to Mike in this novella. I won't forget him in a hurry.
I have heard from other authors that in some circumstances, it is easier and more successful to write what they know. This shows in this novel. Moynihan definitely knows his subject matter and I can see from this novella that his description of the warfare, tactics, military hierarchy, jargon is all very real and convincing and adds strength and credibility to this story. I also feel that Moynihan has used his experience as a Pastor to develop the character of Mike Sanchez. I wonder also if some of the events described in this novella are based on his military experience or from other Christian soldiers as well to develop the character of Daniel. I would not be surprised. I will be interviewing Tim later this week so I know what some of the questions will be!
Another writer's method is to show not tell. Showing engages the reader and telling disconnects. Moynihan succeeds here, he shows and I was engaged. This was also another reason I was transported to the military base in Afghanistan and I experienced what they did.
I had a feeling from the title that I knew what this story would involve. From the plot, I thought that I had it worked out and was not unhappy about this, but I did not expect the way it did turn out. I got the message the author intended and it is powerful. I cried at the end. I pray that I could do the same if I was placed in a similar situation. And this is a message that every Christian grows up with in Christianity. I wonder how much for some of us this message is head knowledge and how much is heart action? I applaud Moynihan for this message.
I felt for Mike with what triggered what appears to be his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A question from a female youth during one of Mike's inspirational talks to a church congregation. It is one very important question that he tries to answer with the story of the Taylor brothers. And the telling of this story has a healing effect on his mind and heart. It is a great story and powerful.
I also loved the message that Moynihan leaves us with, what Mike has learnt from war,
That God does care, even if nobody else does. God cares, because God knows, God loves and God grieves...for us.Highly Recommended