SEAL Team Six : Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin (2011, St. Martin’s Press)
Seal Team Six tells the story of Howard Wasdin, mixes it with an on-the-scene report of what happened in the Battle of Mogadishu, and presents it as an interesting nonfiction book charting the professional and personal development of a Navy SEAL.
Wasdin details his youth and the regular abuse by his stepfather, which helped to harden him for his military training. The book moves from there to anecdotes about his training life, which is fascinating but not covered in particular depth; that lack of depth is a constant throughout the book. That is a criticism, but only a minor one. Wasdin has led an interesting life, and he chose to not dwell on any time frame but rather to provide a fairly constant overview, with more attention granted to his adulthood than his childhood. He’s had enough experiences to make this style of autobiography interesting.
The book takes the reader through his time in the SEALs, first on Team Two and then on Team Six, and eventually into Mogadishu. Roughly thirty pages are allocated to that battle, bringing his experiences into focus. Rather than end there, he follows it with another fifty pages dealing with the aftermath of the event.
It’s a gripping book about a true modern military hero, and worth reading if that is what you’re hunting.
The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy by Avram Davidson (1990, Owlswick Press)
Eszterhazy is a consulting man of the upper classes who, having achieved a measure of comfort, now makes his services available to the monarchy of his native land.
Those services are of a paranormal detective, attempting to distinguish if science can explain events, or whether they must be attributed to supernatural means… and in either case, correct a problem which has arisen.
There are two types of paranormal detective series; in the first, the investigator always comes up against the supernatural. Carl Kolchak, the reporter from the Night Stalker series, is a fine example of this type. In the second, the cases may be solved with demonstrations that nothing magical was involved but rather were caused by normal – if typically clever – means.
Davidson presents the reader with an inverted version of the usual “second” story. Here, magic is fairly common but the world is shifting toward technological marvels. This conceit, combined with Davidson’s deft hand with language, make this worth hunting.