By Chris Wright
The Orange County Public Libraries’ annual literary festival, Literary Orange, is closing in fast, but first a word about snipers. Perhaps by the time you read this, controversy over the film American Sniper and remarks by celebrities will have abated. If you want to know what snipers do exactly and what they contribute to the battlefield, then check out these books.
Perhaps the best book and my favorite is Trigger Men: Shadow Team, Spider-Man, the Magnificent Bastards, and the American Combat Sniper by Hans Halberstadt. This book published in 2008 is not for the faint of heart. It’s graphic and a good read that gives you an appreciation with no apologies for the dirty business of killing. It has an introduction by Marine sniper and author Jack Coughlin.
A new book out by Bing West about Marine infantry in Afghanistan, One Million Steps, tells the tale of one platoon from 3/5 (That’s 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. There is a support group for the regiment, 5th Marines, in Dana Point) deployed to Helmand Province. This platoon had snipers attached to them. The contribution of these snipers to the fight cannot be overstated. If you want to read a good military fiction series then you must read Jack Coughlin’s and Donald A. Davis’ Kyle Swanson sniper series. It’s “Tom Clancy light” with lots of action but without the verbosity. It even has a strong female character who is Kyle’s defacto boss at times. There are seven books in the series with book eight, Night of the Cobra, due out in August 2015.
Literary Orange is only two months away and one of the genres readers love the most is mystery. We are only having one mystery panel this year and it features three authors. Kirk Russell lives in the Bay Area and has two series out. One, the John Marquez series, features a California game warden. You really gain an appreciation for what game wardens do and the battle not only against poachers but the battle of the state budget for funds to protect our resources. Marquez must wear out vehicles as he is all over the state staking out abalone poachers or organized crime syndicates from abroad. There’s also a subplot involving Marquez’s past as an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency. Russell also has a new series out featuring Ben Raveneau, a homicide detective in San Francisco. There are three books in this series.
Our next author was mentioned in this column in April 2014, Kwei Quartey. Dr. Quartey has three books in his Darko Dawson series set in Ghana. We have all three at the Dana Point branch. Dr. Quartey is an internal medicine practitioner who blogs frequently and has had a lot to say about ebola recently.
Laguna Beach resident Suzanne Redfearn’s debut novel, Hush Little Baby, fits in nicely with the theme of the mystery panel, “You Can Run but You Can’t Hide.” It’s a suspenseful story of a woman with her children fleeing an abusive husband. Sounds like another Gone Girl to me. I’m going to have to add it to my reading list.
Register for Literary Orange online at www.literaryorange.org or you may pick up a registration form at the library.
For more information about upcoming events, access to online databases, ebooks, audiobooks, jobseeker resources and more, visit the website at www.ocpl.org.
Chris Wright is not sure if he lives to read or if he reads to live. He has been a public librarian with the OC Public Libraries since 2006 and currently works at the Dana Point branch.
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