Shawn Hartje “Pipeliner”

Pipeliner Book CoverThink of your days in high school and tell me you don’t wonder what would have happened if things had gone just a little differently; a different best friend, a better second date, or more success with the popular kids, sports, or other entertaiment. Get the picture? That’s what Shawn Hartje shoots for in Pipeliner, a coming of age story about a kid growing up in Idaho (you da pimp) but “bound for glory in Portland and Seattle, exotic places where he planned to become a famous rock guitarist—once he escaped from Helen Springs, population 58,000 and hub town of southern Idaho.”

When you are 17, everything is possible, and everything you want is out of reach, even in  Jason Krabb’s world of the 1990’s, a punk/grunge guitarist wannabe trying to make it with a new crew in town, girls and guys, bringing gas lines through the land. Pipeliners.

Hartje has direction in his writing, a plan to bring some wit and sense to everyone’s younger days. The writing is descriptive, if slightly direct-narrative, the plot moderate and filled with the sex-topics of high schoolers and after-high schoolers in a “what did you do on your summer vacation,” saga. Nostalgic for yesteryear? Then this story is tuned to the right station for you.

Pipeliner runs 248 pages, published by Helen Springs Press in late November, 2016. Kindle edition is $3.99.

 

 

 

Wayne Kerr “Ric-a-dam-doo”

ric-a-dam-doo-book-coverWayne Kerr’s novel, Ric-A-Dam-Doo: The Snow Devils Kindle Edition opens with a five-man crew of soldiers arriving in a foreign port. They are from Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry’s 2nd Battalion arriving for a covert operation. They are met with skepticism and derision by an officer expecting Navy Seals. She doesn’t know about the soldiers from the Great White North.

The title of this book may also be met with confusion. If you don’t know (I certainly didn’t), Ric-a-dam-doo is the nickname for the original camp flag of the PPCLI – a phonetic bastardization of the Gaelic saying: cloth of thy mother. The soldiers of the PPCLI would rather lose an arm than see their battalion badge (sewn to their uniform) damaged. A hearty bunch no doubt.

Kerr’s writing is very strong, his story-telling skills fine. He draws the reader quickly into battle, filling the pages with secret operations and then leads the main characters to a heart breaking incident years later.

This isn’t a war novel in the classic sense, it’s a crime thriller in which a retired PPCLI soldier and his retired Interpol agent wife are swept into fighting a Mexican gang of slave traders. Characters have weight, operations make sense, and the whole story is scary, thrilling and plausible.

 

At 290 pages, you can easily get lost in this novel, published in April of 2016 by Canusa. Right now it’s $2.99 on Kindle or free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.