- 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: #1,569,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Soldier on the Porch (An Elizabeth Pepperhawk / Avivah Rosen Mystery) Hardcover – October, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›