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Soldier on the Porch (An Elizabeth Pepperhawk / Avivah Rosen Mystery) Hardcover – October, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star (October 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594145946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594145940
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,174,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1973 at the Pisgah Mountain VA Hospital in Ashville, North Carolina, an explosion rips into an abandoned wing. Security guard Avivah Rosen investigates the ruins. Two corpses are found; one is nonagenarian patient Zeb Blackenship who went out for a smoke and the other is Major Henry Campos, Avivah's nasty former superior in Viet Nam. Meanwhile Avivah's friend nurse Elizabeth Pepperhawk knows the rules, but showed up for work somewhat intoxicated; she is forced to join a counseling program. Thier other friend Benny Kirkpatrick is too busy with school and babysitting to assist either female.

The FBI Agent Harrington and Military Intelligence Officer Darby Baxter take Avivah into custody to protect her from a serial killer. Besides Campos, three other officers from that cell of five are dead; she is the last one standing. However, not one to sit around, Avivah sneaks out with the help of newspaper reporter Saul Eisenberg as she begins an inquiry into who wants them dead; she already knows why.

The latest 1970s military veterans Pepperhawk/Rosen mystery (see SOME WELCOME HOME and FIRST MURDER IN ADVENT) is an exhilarating thriller that focuses mostly on what happened in Viet Nam that Avivah has hidden. This time Ben is a minor player unable to come to the rescue of his two female friends and Elizabeth is tied up with an alcohol issue. This leaves Avivah going alone (she enlists Saul) to fix the mess as her choices seem to be going to jail or learning of more murders until she becomes a corpse. Historical mystery fans will enjoy this strong investigative tale that remains relevant as the then hot Cold War Against Communism is now the hot cold War Against Terrorism.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Sandman on January 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I won't summarize the plot of "Soldier on the Porch," because two other reviewers have covered that ground better than I could (I'd either write too much or too little); I'm just going to say why I enjoyed the book.
For one thing, I saw a side of Elizabeth Pepperhawk's personality I'd not seen before. (Either it wasn't evident in "First Murder in Advent," or I missed it, and I haven't read "Some Welcome Home.") In many ways, even though she's in a career-threatening situation in "Soldier," Pepper strikes me as more relaxed, less intense in this book. (Not languid, day-at-the-beach, no-cares-in-the-world relaxed, by any means, just more three-dimensional, I guess.) Her irreverent sense of humor comes through, as well as a large dose of chutzpah (strength with style, as opposed to just gritty toughness).
For that matter, development and growth for all the main characters--Avivah, Benny, Darby and Loraine--is what I liked best about this book. That, and the seamless way Wildwind has woven together the individual, yet interdependent, stories of Pepper's trouble at work (and what that means to her surprisingly fragile sense of security), Avivah's not-so-distant past coming back to haunt her, and Benny's relationship with Loraine and her sons, and given us a mystery to solve, to boot.
Reflecting on this book--and this series--I've decided that the Viet Nam War was a little like alcoholism. I've had the sad experience of loving or simply knowing a number of alcoholics whose years of drinking so damaged their bodies that even years of sobriety couldn't repair them. It strikes me that serving in the Viet Nam War had a similar effect on the psyche, to varying degrees.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on December 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sharon Wildwind's first mystery (Some Welcome Home) captured my imagination and made me want to know more about the protagonists, Elizabeth Pepperhawk and Avivah Rosen. The series is unique in that it features women who have served in Viet Nam, as Wildwind herself did. Her books portrays both the disturbing aspects of war and the camaraderie that can develop between those who serve.

In Wildwind's second mystery, First Murder in Advent (set in 1972), Army nurse Pepperhawk is between assignments when she receives a call from Benny Kirkpatrick, ex-Special Forces first sergeant. Their friend Avivah is in trouble, and with Benny and Avivah's friend, has sought refuge in a convent in the mountains of North Carolina. When Pepper goes to help, she finds military intelligence officer Darby Baxter, her on-again, off-again love interest, with three other men.

What follows are days without electricity in a mostly empty convent, in a snowstorm. Avivah, Pepper, Darby and Benny, along with a few nuns and some members of a paramilitary think tank, struggle to survive the cold amidst murder, secret passageways and lost wills--delicious reading with tangling sub-plots. Pepper confronts her childhood experience of Catholicism, while Avivah must contend with the nuns' suspicions of her Judaism. Our heroes all survive. although some of the other characters do not.

In the third book, Soldier on the Porch (set in 1973), Pepper is now a civilian nurse and Avivah works with a security team for a Veterans Administration hospital in North Carolina. They live on a rural, mountain homestead with two houses. They are living in one while Benny, his friend Loraine, and her two sons live in the other.
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More About the Author

First a note about my blog. The link on this site is to a group blog, Poe's Deadly Daughters. I blog there every Tuesday.

Born and raised in the U. S. south, I turned out to prefer cold northern winters and now live in Canada. In addition to being a mystery writer, I'm a beginning playwright, and have kept a journal for a long time. When I'm not writing I sew, knit, and make multi-media art.

The books on amazon.com are my first series. Five books in the series. The protagonists are returned Vietnam veterans who are trying to make a transition back to civilian live, but murder keeps getting in the way.

I have also published a non-fiction book, based on the year I spent in Viet Nam with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.

I'm currently working on a stand-alone set in the folk music world and a paranormal romance play, which happen--when else -- on Halloween.