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Silent Sanction: A Novel (The Wade Hanna Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – Large Print, March 27, 2014
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About the Author
Joseph D’Antoni is a true forensic and economic expert having spent many years testifying in court cases throughout the world. His clients have included the FBI, Department of Justice, intelligence agencies and some of the largest law firms in this country. He holds advanced academic degrees and has taught at three major universities. His fictional characters are often inspired from actual cases he has worked on and events he has investigated. The popular cold war suspense novel, Silent Sanction and two short stories, Invisible Markings and Undersea Voices are recent fictional works based on actual events which took place in and around New Orleans, Louisiana where he grew up. His non-fiction fine art black and white photography book, Louisiana Reflections, has received wide acclaim as an introspective photographic study of New Orleans and Cajun Country before Hurricanes Rita and Katrina devastated the area. He currently resides in Southern California where he writes and works on art when he is not consulting or investigating on forensic assignments.
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D'Antoni has also created two dangerous milieus through which Wade must make his way. While doing a favor for a friend he finds himself mixed up in a huge car-thieving operation, where, to clear his name, he is set up as an undercover agent. As his involvement grows more and more dangerous he is unexpectedly sidelined when his reserve unit is called up by the Navy to serve on a submarine in the Gulf of Mexico during a peak time of the Cold War and the Cuban crises. Let's just say that danger has a way of following Wade around.
So, D'Antoni is able to make both his hero and the challenges he faces totally believable. Why then has he taken all this potential and plopped it down on the page in such careless fashion that only the most determined reader will get far enough into the book to truly engage with the story? All books deserve to be well crafted, and fiction requires those skills that turn a mere story into a compelling narrative. The author's indifference to such craftsmanship is all the more surprising in that he has received accolades as a photographer, certainly an art form that requires great sensitivity to similar demands.
Probably a little more high school English teacher on my part than is called for, but if Mr. D'Antoni would take the trouble to actually craft his existing manuscript into novelistic form we might have a really fine book here. Meanwhile, bookreview.com suggests you can do worse than meet Wade Hanna in the New Orleans and Cold War of the 1960s. It will take you to an America most of us only vaguely remember and to a memorable young American.
The book is readable, compelling and intriguing. The major theme and suspense evolves in the final chapters with Cold War confrontation: the Soviet Union vs. the USA. The setting is offshore Cuba. The combatants are Soviet and USA atomic subs and their crews. The confrontation occurs when a Soviet submarine prepares to fire on its peer US submarine. Do they exchange deadly fire? I do not reveal the consummation in this review. The main character, Wade Hanna, plays a significant role in the harrowing event. His acquired survival skills were essential.
Perhaps Wade Hanna is an alter-ego for the author. Personal details are forebodingly explicit. The theme of crisis is embodied in Wade's character development. Wade's choices place him continuously at risk---perhaps a desired state. The Louisiana swamps with his alligator companion, 'The Master,' represent the eerie off-the-grid challenge he frequently chooses to be engaged by. He acknowledges acquaintance with an elderly woman possessing exceptional powers. Wade is intrigued by a young woman with deadly commitments. Wade, as portrayed, is searching to define and understand himself.
The submarine confrontation including Wade's superb performance on the material loading docks, his navigational interpretations and tactical showdown cull his survival skills acquired during childhood and teenage years. He was forced to navigate a dysfunctional family life that transcended him into the New Orleans underworld. Here, too, he survived and, ultimately, excelled beyond the negatives. One key to understanding Wade's character is the mystical which provides the courage to outwit or out-wait the dark negatives of life. 'The Master' did not upend Wade's simple swamp craft. The mystical 'Lady on the Porch' to whom he waved provided positive stimulus. Wade successfully, at times not without pain, swam upstream -so to speak- regardless of the downward currents.
Silent Sanction is a 'Quest by the Author' to understand his challenging personal past and document a positive historical contribution during an era foregone. The message is fortitude!
One note regarding format: I would like to read Wade's subsequent adventures in hard copy. The last I checked these were available in Kindle only.
In spite of that, this will be as honest a review as possible. I read Silent Sanction about a year ago. I thought the premise of the book was very interesting. I was expecting more sub action than I got, but I understand the story needs to be built, and I assume all this will play some role in Wade's future adventures. I did find some typo errors, which I pointed out to Jay, and he has since corrected. I happen to know the manuscript was professionally edited. What that says is typos get past the best of them. I find them in almost every book I read, and I am, by no means, good at proofreading.
What I liked most was the NOLA setting (I live there), so I could relate to much of what Wade lived in the story. And I have experienced some of what Wade experienced.
I did enjoy the book and will read future installments of this series. Jay has a lot of potential as a writer, and I look forward to future installments in the Wade Hanna saga.