Tuesday, December 17, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille's 'The Deserter'

The Washington Times published my review of The Deserter.

Inspired by the strange case of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army sergeant who deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was subsequently captured by the Taliban and held captive until 2014, ”The Deserter” is a thriller about a U.S. Army officer who also deserts his post in Afghanistan and is held captive by the Taliban.

But the fictional Capt. Kyle Mercer is different in many ways from the real deserter. Mercer is an elite special operator who kills and beheads his captors on video and then looks into the camera and resigns his Army commission. Mercer resembles more the renegade Col. Kurtz character in Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now” than the oddball Bergdahl.

In Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille’s “The Deserter” two U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigators are assigned the task of finding and bringing to justice the deserter, who has been identified as living in Venezuela. The two investigators are Chief Warrant Officer Scott Brodie and Chief Warrant Officer Maggie Taylor

 “Brodie tried to recall what he knew about this case. Captain Kyle Mercer had been a member of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment — Delta, more famously known as Delta Force. He was the elite of the elite, one of the most potent weapons in the military’s arsenal, and the tip of the spear in the counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan,” the authors write.

“One night three years earlier, while stationed with a small team at a remote combat outpost in the rugged Hindu Kush, he walked off. According to his teammates, Captain Mercer must have left sometime after midnight. He took all his field gear with him, along with night vision goggles and his M4 rifle, but no one had actually seen him leave the outpost, and no one noticed he was missing until first light. Conclusion: He deserted.

“Desertion is rare. Desertion in a war zone like Afghanistan even rarer. And desertion in a war zone by an officer in an elite unit, unheard of.”

The desertion of Capt. Mercer is a mystery, a public relations nightmare and a major security risk, as he possessed in his head highly classified information about counterinsurgency operations. Capt. Mercer was a highly trained, experienced and well-regarded officer. All his teammates described him as a capable, competent, and brave commanding officer. Why a man like Capt. Mercer would desert is a mystery to the investigators.       

“Captain Mercer was an enigma even before he walked off in the night into a rugged mountain range in one most dangerous and godforsaken corners of the earth,” Nelson DeMille and his son Alex DeMille tell us.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:


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