Friday, March 16, 2012

Review by Author, Joyce Godwin Grubbs

In  author S.B. Newman’s new novel, “Burnt Yellow and Red”, we find a new depth of the author’s literary skills in writing. In this much-anticipated sequel to “The Night Eagles Soared” which left us gasping for more and wanting to know the outcome of the “first mission into Afghanistan and the team that was handpicked to lead it”, we are again privy to the writing style that took us into each mission. The already demonstrated genius of Newman being able to bring every reader ‘into the moment’, men and women, military and novices, is still there as we learn of every move the team makes through the actual preparation of the team and its Special Forces procedures and requirements.

Newman’s sequel could have taken many directions, but rightly decided, he chooses to introduce us to the key member’s of Mike’s team and make them live. The reader is made to care and fret over the welfare of each of them.  Kyle, the “outsider” of the team is made so real you can believe you grew up in Oklahoma with him and that you understood the “Americana” of his life that motivated him into the military. The team in totality is a microcosm of many men in the military and thus represents to the readers someone they know, or know of.

In the journey of Kyle’s character into the team and in proving himself, we are made to feel his doubts and fears, his intense family connection. The role of his love for his wife and its place in all of his service as well as his sons teaches us of the humanity of our men and women in the service: even the distraction love can be when trying to be at the most disciplined. He is a real man, a real soldier, but most of all, an American in love with his wife and family.

Kyle’s relationship with the Team Sergeant, Mike, brings home the incredible bond that binds the military men and women together beyond their service. Even the ‘toughest’ is brought to his knees in gratitude and loss when it comes to his ‘military family’ that has his ‘six’. The respect that has to be earned to go from outsider to valued team member and “brother” is a powerful transition and Newman nails it when he demonstrates the ‘process’ with his personal literary style.

Having found his writing voice, Newman reveals the story of a vital mission into Afghanistan and its pivotal role in establishing our efforts after 9/11.  He creates a story so real that the reader believes they are part of the mission, or could be called on to support the team, as there is such a clear explanation of the training, and service. His gifted telling of the most mundane parts of the preparation and the intent of the team is really Newman’s forte’. It is why yet again, he has a novel that can draw women, families and military men into his literary world. Every reader feels they “fit in” and can participate.

Congratulations to the author who continues to tell “more than a war story”, by revealing the hearts, lives and dreams of the men and women who serve us. No frills, no fuss, just the “real thing”.

Joyce Godwin Grubbs author, The Greyhound Lady Walking Series

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