Evan Davis is a writer, or at least he would be if he could finish his first book. Because the book has languished unfinished, Davis finds himself presented with an ultimatum by his agent: Take a three-month assignment as a press embed in Afghanistan or risk losing his book contract. Since the job does have a salary attached he takes it, but before departing, a friend hands Davis a hastily gathered good luck charm: three paperclips. Over the months in country, he gets to know the men of a small team of US soldiers that he is deployed with and rediscovers his muse writing about their experiences in Southwest Asia for a truth hungry American public. Davis also finds a use for each of his talismans, as they save his life and those of the men he comes to regard as his team; the soldiers who promised each other that they would all make it home in one piece.
A swift, intriguing and compelling story that takes no prisoners
Reviewed By Piaras O Cionnaoith for Emerald Book Reviews
War is hell, for sure, but war can make for irrefutably brilliant book writing and movie-making. If you’re a fan of action, adventure, war stories, mystery, thriller and suspense…this one has it all!
Author Sheldon Charles weaves a significant tale of mystery and suspense, with intriguing twists and turns that will easily captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. The author paints a war story intertwined with ‘three paperclips and a grey Scarf’ in a very vivid and convincing way. The characters are drawn with great credibility and compassion. Although a work of fiction, this story had an intellectual conviction that stayed with me for days are reading it. Maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised as the author himself is a decorated Air Force veteran.
The book description gives a sneak preview; ‘Evan Davis is a writer, or at least he would be if he could finish his first book. Because the book has languished unfinished, Davis finds himself presented with an ultimatum by his agent: Take a three-month assignment as a press embed in Afghanistan or risk losing his book contract. Since the job does have a salary attached he takes it, but before departing, a friend hands Davis a hastily gathered good luck charm: three paperclips. Over the months in country, he gets to know the men of a small team of US soldiers that he is deployed with and rediscovers his muse writing about their experiences in Southwest Asia for a truth hungry American public. Davis also finds a use for each of his talismans, as they save his life and those of the men he comes to regard as his team; the soldiers who promised each other that they would all make it home in one piece…’
Now, if that’s not enough to stimulate your curiosity juices, I don’t know what will. But if you want to find out what transpires you’ll just have to turn the pages for yourself to find out! However, I will say that this was well worth the read. It’s my second time reading this author and I must say I was very impressed yet again. I recently finished his latest novel,From Within the Firebird’s Nest (An Evan Davis Tale), and would highly recommend this read also.
This commendable work had me captivated from the opening page. The story flowed from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows remarkable skill when it comes to storytelling. There’s an ample supply of attention-grabbing moments in this page turner that will take the reader on a compelling and gripping journey.
It’s one of those books that comes along occasionally that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. This is a relatively short read, so there’s no excuses for not picking this one up! I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader. I will say, however, that fans of the mystery, thriller and suspense genre will love having a nibble on this one!
I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more from Sheldon Charles in the future. I would recommend this book and I would even go so far as to say that this story would benefit from a sympathetic Hollywood treatment. I would put it on the same par as ‘The Hurt Locker’. A well-deserved five stars from me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheldon Charles is a decorated Air Force veteran, whose career has taken him around the globe, and given his writing a unique international flair. He is the author of “Three Paperclips & a Grey Scarf”, “Blood Upon the Sands” and “From Within the Firebird’s Nest”. His last book (“From Within the Firebird’s Nest”, the third book in the Evan Davis Trilogy) held the Number One Bestseller spot for Russian Historical Fiction, and was in the Top Ten for War Fiction, for 2018. Sheldon currently resides in Michigan, where he is a member of Michigan Writers.
From the Author:
At about age eight, I went to my first sleep away camp at Lake Arrowhead, California. I could say many things about the camp; just like anyone else who has ever gone to camp, it is impossible to escape without more than a few One time at camp stories.
Every night of the week, there was a huge bonfire down by the lake right at sunset. It seemed as if there were thousands of us gathered there, but in reality, it was probably only 2-300 boys gathered around in a semi-circle being led in cheers, songs and watching skits. All of this was new to me, and camp was a big bag full of new stuff of which to be a part. At the end of the evening came an act that changed my life.
The character’s name escapes me now, but he walked out slowly from the darkness, using a cane, and wearing a jungle explorer jacket with a pith helmet. A long beard and wire-rimmed glasses finished his look. Everyone fell silent as he walked to the center of the fire ring and slowly sat down on a small stool a few feet in front of the fire. The intensity of the moment increased as he took off his glasses and cleaned them using a handkerchief he had taken out of one of his many pockets. The only sound to be heard was the crackling of the fire that roared behind him.
Even among us first timers, there was a sense of expectation as he cleared his throat and began to speak. He told us a story. The story was a combination of local legend, tall tale, and humor; all told using various voices and sound effects he provided. As he spoke, he used facial expressions and hand gestures to emphasize points. The assembled crowd was no longer silent as we laughed, cheered, and shouted comments while he kept us enthralled. The teller of tales would eventually stand and walk from side to side as the story came to the climax; his gestures becoming more wild and inspiring excitement.
When he finished the story, he would slowly drop his hands to his side and lower his head – as the absolute silence returned. As if on cue, we all exploded in loud cheering and applause. Over the course of my life, I have come to realize that what I witnessed was a master storyteller sharing his craft. I went back to my cabin every night of camp inspired and knowing the career path I wanted for my life. I wanted to be a storyteller too.
As an avid reader, I found myself drawn into writing. My first public display of my talents was in 2009 when I climbed back on a motorcycle after a thirty-year hiatus. While riding, I found myself flooded with thoughts, words, and visions of tales I should tell. So, I did. I started a blog to record those events. I found myself writing about people, adventures, and observations. It was not long before I expanded into fictional tales written. The blog evolved into a weekly, when I was assigned to Kuwait, then writing about my experiences living in the Middle East… Humorous and poignant.
It was there, during a meeting, I expressed a small bit of regret that I had yet to become the storyteller I envisioned only to have LtCol Dan Ellis, point out that I had become the storyteller – using the written word. Sometimes it takes someone outside of you to point out a truth you are too close to see. I am grateful Dan did, as it caused me to write and publish my first novella and to begin writing tales in earnest.
Someday, I may get a chance to be a purest, experiencing that feeling of walking out before a crowd in front of a roaring fire, wearing an appropriate costume with the right props ready to tell tall tales. However, for now, I find great joy in telling stories through the written word and sharing them with readers. I hope you enjoy them.