War Stories: my review

War Stories

Elizabeth Doyle


Some wars are not fought on the battlefield, in the street or even on a playing field. Some are fought within the minds of people and the turmoil in their lives create such force that a war rages within that person. Manny and his mother ran the pumps at a gas station. Manny had little hope for his future as he watched others die in front of him, some come back from war in body bags and one friend who wanted to find his way to what he thought was a better life. As the story unfolds you hear of army recruiters coming into this poorly ridden area hoping to entice young men to join and go to war under the guise of giving them a better life, free education and a roof over their heads. But, some would return changed and others would return shattered. When Manny and his friends have a night out what happens would make most rethink their lives but Manny. Well, you do not know if he gets the message after the end result of what happens to his friend and a young girl. Reckless driving, careless behavior and thinks spiral in a different direction. The recruiters: Just waiting! Interesting first story in this collection by author Elizabeth Doyle. Some wars are not made to be won!


Diego came home from war a changed man. Before he was different but no matter how much his wife encouraged him to get help he did not. Dealing with his children and his life he decided to leave and find something on his own. Becoming a janitor did not stop him from drinking and avoiding his responsibilities as a father. But, sometimes an event, no less unexpected might bring the harsh realities of life front and center and wake you up to what you have and much more. Indifference is hard to deal with when it comes to not helping others. Picking his two children up to take them to school, standing on the platform of the trains station Diego would learn the true meaning of heroism and understanding. One young man seemed as others thought to be putting on some kind of show but was not. Diego realized as he saw this young man clutching to the floor and writhing that he was having a seizure. What he does is short of miraculous as the young man falls over on the tracks and Diego risks it all to save him? What he does you have to read for yourself and the sadness of those around him will make you wonder just how cold and indifferent people can be. One of these Days It Will All Be Over has many meanings for not only this reviewer but for Diego too.


The next story is titled Pistolesi which tells of a young woman trying to find work before her family is evicted. Eveline decides to take a job as a photographer and listened to the war stories her partner told her and had to convince clients they needed pictures of their children. Also told never to turn down anything offered to her. Many couples, many photos sad stories. Mary Pistolesi worked hard at taking pictures and all Eveline could think of was that as she remembered those she met that day, the pictures taken and the sad life that was hers. Would she ever rise above?


The next story is Driving followed by the Deepest Darkest Part of the Woods. Some wars continue even after they have ended. Each story tells of the changes in the lives of one of the characters as they face their inner conflicts and fears coming home from war. Realities set in and each one deals with rejection, financial stress and family responsibilities they are not equipped to handle. What happens when our vets return? What do we do to help them readjust to life? When the war is over why does another one begin?


Bobby went through life watching children dig ditches, daydreaming and not really being noticed. His family evolved around him but he was never really part of it. Coming home from war he seemed alienated, alone and looking at the world from faraway almost like a movie that he was watching and he was playing himself. Bobby needed help but no one realized it. He began hanging out with certain friends, watched his sisters bring girls home to flirt with his younger brother and often walked the halls of his high school at night. But, one young girl had his attention and he would watch her each night leave her house and go off into the night by herself sleeping in the darkness of the shed in her quilted robe. Why was he so fixed on her and why did he think they have something in common? Read this story to understand more about Bobby and what fate brings him. Next, Graduation that deals with a group of teens that graduate and the hopelessness of it all. A disastrous and fatal bus crash awakens one man to realities of life as he searches for the meaning of his past, tries to understand the present and tries to understand the future. Despair, anger, loneliness and death all around him as he comes out of his daydream and sees the same in the present. Remembering the death of his parents and how fragile life is and how things change instantly or even faster, how these children would be missed, how some would never find their way and how he remembers the death of his own son who sacrificed his life for others during a war. Some wars will remain within the soul of a person forever. In each story there is sadness, some hope and little joy.

Lives that changed as in this story Love Spell we meet our narrator who starts by telling us about his friend Callie and his relationship with her. The dysfunctional life she lives and the lack of support from anyone in her family starts the reader on a story of sadness and much more. The narrator works with students that are violent in a school that requires training for the instructors and for those like our narrator who become crisis counselors. Thinking about the students and imagining them seeing the world the way do helps our narrator get through. Telling and sharing his day and things about the students with Callie I guess can be considered therapeutic. Explaining how violent these children are and the fears that students and teachers have of some students frightening. Myrna and Louanne he dreamed about them both hoping that they would find normalcy. But, things changed when Callie left and moved to NY to become an artist. Things turned out bad and she wound up on the street. He left his school and moved elsewhere too. But, where Callie winds up might have helped her to see the light or the world better. Where she finally winds up and what happens to her he wonders. Things changed when she didn’t care and sometimes other factors come into place when you see the light and it’s too late. Callie: where is she now?


Finally the last story is Passengers. A woman is going to see her daughter after a very long time. A dream haunts her visions but she enters the airport and boards the plane greeted by the staff. Polite yet not accommodating no one helped her with her carry on or offered to. Next, some small talk and the stewardess in her robotic manner served drinks. No one was overly nice just polite. Almost like going through the motions. The woman observed everything as we take the trip with her and learn about the passengers and the coldness of the staff. The young man opposite her did not seem to want to talk and her thoughts went back to her son who died of heroin. Then, a strange dream and a visions of her son. The end result will remind you of 9/11 and the events will haunt you forever. The Passengers: what happens to them you won’t forget.


This is a compilation of interesting stories that deal with love, loss, sadness, death, hopelessness and despair and the depths of humanity and the hope for survival. Nine stories what will bring tears to your eyes and make you appreciate you life and more. War Stories: Some battles are never over and some will never end.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer









Do As I Say: David Sterling


Boys’ night out proves a little too much to handle for special agent Bennett Mills. Sometimes men will overdo and drinking too much will take its toll. Assigned to a security detail to celebrate the reelection of a senator, he falls prey to more than just a hangover and decides he needs a day off. But, this day off would forever haunt him and his guilt would overpower him as he learns from a colleague that a breech in security several malfunctions in the room that was to house the celebration and the festivities moved outdoors. Realizing that the Senator would not be talked out of cancelling the celebration back up security was supposed to be in place but no one saw where the shooter came from until it was too late. Choices we all make them and sometimes they, as Bennett learns about the assassination affect others. Feeling that if he did not call in sick he might have prevented the inevitable he decides to make it his mission to learn the truth about his death. Something does not ring true and the shooter takes his own life and the reasons behind the murder unanswered. The senator definitely had a mind of his own you might state he feels: Do As I Say: because that is how I see life: My Way! David Sterling’s debut novel will definitely blow the reader away from the first page until you find out the hidden truths.


How do you approach the wife of the man who committed the crime? How do you treat her with understanding? Her husband a War Veteran fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, angry that so many died and he lived and yet he voted for the late Senator Billings. Trying to figure out why he killed him and how he betrayed his trust since he voted for him still remains unsolved. Added in as many men that come home from war he was jobless and had trouble finding work. This is a real issue that the author brings to light early in the novel. Getting a job driving a cab and told that if engaged in conversation with a fare to agree with the passenger’s political views in order to get better tips is quite enlightening to say the least and did prove profitable to Rodney his wife stated. Questioning had to be done with caution as his wife was pregnant and her condition quite fragile. But if you believe in fate or situations orchestrated you will understand that after the funeral and the wake Bennett goes off to see his father and a chance or definitely planned encounter with a police detective ignites more than just his curiosity as he relates a case similar to that of the Senators with circumstances that you cannot ignore. Just why would two vets go off the deep end and kill someone and then take their own lives? Why would their wives say that they were slaves to meds that would either help one of them sleep or the other feel calmer? Ed Lynch a detective on the Phoenix force enlightens him to this case and the similarities are too hard to ignore and a trip to his father would now be more like a working vacation. But, what about what his superior told him?


As Mills and Lynch come together and process the information they both learn from the articles on the net and what research they could find on other deaths, they realize that the two cases are more than just similar and there are others too. Trying to find out more about the deaths of each of the victims tied into the fact that each assailant was a vet returning from war, received an honorable discharge and asked to see a psychiatrist and entered a facility to help. But, just what happened during their stay remains a mystery as according to their research the doctors in charge of each of these men died. But, did they or was it one doctor faking his death in order to move on to take out others. What exactly was this treatment and why were all of the killings linked to prominent politicians or businessmen? What happens when Lynch and Mills start to put the puzzle or dots together where will it lead? Why didn’t Matt Webb, Bennett’s superior continue with the investigation? Was there someone in the department covering it all up and making information disappear? Dan Stone was his friend’s son and the case was personal to Lynch. The Senator was a close friend to Mills and being on his detail and having been close to his daughter made this personal too. Added in is the unsettling feeling that things might have been different if he had not gotten sick. Or was that planned too?


As the cases link together and the two men realize the connections they agree to pool their resources to find out more about who is behind the murders, who the doctor is that is faking his own death and handing out pills to vets and why these pills appear in a zip lock bag in their mailboxes and without any return address. They are just refilled. Added in when they question the wife of the man who was the killer in Lynch’s case that he handled something happens to alert both Ed and Bennett that they are being watched and that their movements are begin monitored. Added in we now meet April Lynch, who because of Bennett’s father, meets Bennett and who knows what will happen next. As Ed is shot and the shooter hit by Bennett’s father a former Chief of Police things start to heat up even more for the two investigators. A twist in the case you won’t expect as his superior enters the hospital, the discussion heats up and the suspect is dead. Security in the hospital was lax as the officer guarding the shooter and the shooter are taken out and a second attempt is made on Ed’s life as Bennett and his boss question the doctor that took care of many of the vets. What he learns is quiet remarkable the skill he uses when questioning surprising and the end result you won’t expect.


But, more deaths occur and one in particular will take its toll on Bennett. Betrayals, lies, deceits and one man who seems to be pulling all of the strings. Why would someone hypnotize vets and make them assassins? Why would someone in the bureau help this person out? Just who else is involved and how many more debts will be repaid by the man who states,” Do As I Say,” common for most giving their subjects post hypnotic suggestions. Throughout the novel we hear Bennett telling most of the story in his own words and we hear the voices of his father, April and some of the other players as they all race the clock to find out who and why so many were being killed and who is next. So, why is April a target?


When information comes to light that the mob might be involved thinks heat up even more, several more bodies are found and the one man who everyone thinks is behind it they think is dead. But, was he burned in the fire or is he a man of many faces and creates his own illusions.


Just who was behind the entire plot and why you won’t believe and just who winds up where you have to read for yourself. As the players all focus on getting the killer and the truth behind the murders comes out more lives are ruined, several surprises you won’t expect and one FBI agent named Bennett Mills what you will definitely want to see more of. Author David Sterling kept this reviewer fixed to the printed page and glued to the plot because I finished the book in less than two hours and cannot wait to see what he has in store for Bennett and maybe some romance with April. The back-stories are great and the minor characters have backbone and the FBI and police working together help to move the plot and the final resolution in hopefully the right direction. Who comes out on top? Will they get their killer? Do AS I SAY! READ IT TO FIND OUT!

Fran Lewis: Reviewer