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Read an ExcerptDangerous PastChapter OneOctober, 2000 The air was smooth as the Boeing 737200 airliner sliced gracefully east through the night autumn sky over southern Tennessee. Letters scripted in dark blue printed out the name WestSky across the sides of its white fuselage.
On the flight deck, Captain Frank Braden, 50, a fellow with inquisitive brown eyes, saltandpepper hair and easygoing mannerisms, occupied the left seat.
First Officer John Tate, 30, an eagertoplease copilot, is in the right seat. Tate had been delighted to see that he was scheduled to fly with Braden. Frank was known as a less demanding captain on his copilots and was easy to get along with, unlike a few captains who turned into hardtoplease tyrants in the cockpit. But he also knew that Braden was nobody's fool and insisted on professionalism in the cockpit at all times.
"Heard you flew in 'Nam?" Tate said.
Frank eyed his younger flight companion before answering. "For a short while."
"Not a full year?"
"Got shot and sent back to the States."
"Bummer. Viet Cong?"
Again, Frank hesitated before answering. "No. American."
The First Officer's interest visually perked up. "Wow, that's cool. I mean, not you getting shot, but an American shooting you. Never heard of that happening."
And, thankfully, my life has been mundane even since, Frank reflected.
"You know, I was just starting grade school when 'Nam was going on."
Tate paused and anxiously waited for his captain to followup the shooting episode with an explanation. But only silence penetrated the cockpit. Out of the corner of his eye the First Officersaw his Captain staring blankly at the dark outside world beyond the windshield.
Frank knew he had little to complain about, even with his recent stock marketlosses. Everything he had worked hard for he had achieved. As a senior captain with a major airline and married to a prominent and attractive surgeon, he figured they could get out of bankruptcy within two years. But then what? His two kids were in college and ready to leave home, and his wife recently starting spending more time at medical conventions and hospitals than at home. Sometimes they rarely talked when they were home together. Basically, he was worried that his brainy wife might be bored with him for not paying more attention to her. Was she thinking of splitting?
"Everything okay, skipper?" Tate asked.
Frank, momentarily distracted from his isolated thoughts, turned to his copilot. "In the end, everything works out for the best, doesn't it?"
Not sure how to answer, Tate ventured, "I guess it does." John Tate was not one to disagree with any captain he was flying with even though he may not have completely understood the question. But he was not one to contain his curiosity, either. He again abruptly broke the captain's solitude, "Why'd he shoot you?"
Frank looked down and picked up an approach plate booklet and examined it. The copilot finally got the hint and, although disappointed, wisely didn't pursue the questioning any further.
About a dozen feet behind and on the other side of the flight deck door in the First Class section, senior flight attendant Beth Jordan, mid30s, smiled as she handed a cup of coffee to a rotund businessman.
Beth,slim, with a pleasant personality, had been with WestSky for ten years. She had planned to leave the airline five years ago, but her husband's real estate business had its own recession and they needed the extra income.
"Cream or sugar?" She asked in a very polite but professional voice.
Suddenly, a terrific loud BANG shook the airliner like dynamite, tearing a ten by twelvefoot hole into the bottom right side of the aircraft fuselage.
A deafening tornadolike wind rushed through the interior of the passenger cabin like a giant vacuum cleaner, sucking up anything not nailed or strapped down. Simultaneously, a brief, chilled mist swept through the cabin amid the screaming passengers whose voices could not be heard above the shrieking wind. Paper and debris floated everywhere.
Speechless, the rotund businessman instantly became caught in the suction towards the hole. His body jerked upwards but was held by his seat belt. Stunned and scared, his eyes widened as they involuntarily followed the stewardess, coffee cups, papers and other debris, down and out of the aircraft through a gaping hole in the bottom right front fuselage of the plane.
It had all happened so fast, even Beth didn't have a chance to scream, just wore a shocked expression on her face as she disappeared into the night.
Seconds later, the power of the giant vacuum dissipated as the cabin pressure equalized with the outside atmosphere. But dangling oxygen masks waved back and forth and a ceaseless, deafening, howling wind from the hole in the fuselage continued.
In the economy class, women continued to mouth unheard screams. A pair of flight attendants knocked to the aisle by the explosive decompression, grabbed the bottom supports of the seats and held on until suction towards the cavity ceased. Then they scrambled to their feet, motioning for everyone to put the masks on their faces. As if to demonstrate, they snatched two hanging masks from nearby empty seats and put them on.
Simultaneously, the same wind shrieked through the cockpit making normal conversation impossible. Debris, papers, checklists, and pieces of gray insulation floated everywhere.
"Shit," Tate yelled. But nobody heard him. The sound of the wind drowned him out.
Frank quickly donned his oxygen mask, disconnected the autopilot, retarded the power levers, held the control yoke slightly backwards and banked the aircraft to descend. He squinted at his copilot since the swirling debris made opening the eyes fully very dangerous. After seeing Tate put on his mask, he pointed to the intercom switch. Both men turned the switch on. Now they could hear each other through their oxygen mask mikes and headsets.
"Explosive decompression, emergency descent, I have the controls, extend the speed brakes," Frank said quickly.
Tate extended the speed brakes and put on the cabin seat belt sign.
The First Officer switched from intercom to air traffic control and in an unsettled voice, yelled into his oxygen mike, "Mayday. Mayday. Mayday. WestSky Flight twofivethree. Explosive decompression. One hundred ten souls on board. Thirtythousand pounds of fuel. Leaving flight level threethree zero for ten thousand now."
Frank pointed at the transponder. Tate nodded and put in the numbers, 7700, the emergency code.
"Can you see what's going on back there?" Frank said.
The copilot turned towards the rear and gasped. The cockpit door had been blown off its hinges and he saw the gaping hole in the aisle of the First Class passenger compartment.
"There's a hole in the bottom of the aircraft in First Class. I can see lights on the ground through it."
"See the attendants? How are the passengers?" Frank said rapidly.
"Beth's missing. The other attendants are getting off the floor in the rear cabin but they look okay."
"Scared. But they're in their seats sniffing oxygen." Tate looked for the emergency checklist couldn't find it in the debris. So he did it by memory, mumbling to himself while he glanced at the control and instrument panels. "Captain airspeed."
Frank looked at the rapidly unwinding clocklike altimeter and the increasing needle on the airspeed indicator and nodded. He pulled the yoke back a little further to decrease the airspeed a bit while still maintaining a rapid descent to breathable outside air. "Any reply from Memphis Center?"
Tate shook his head, "Can't hear a thing. Still too much noise."
"Keep transmitting in the blind. Tell 'em it's structural failure, vibrating badly. We're diverting to Memphis."
The airframe vibrations were quite noticeable as the airliner continued its descent. Tate, on a second look, reported that the interior of the fuselage near the tail section seemed to be moving slightly up and down on its own.
A dozen thoughts were racing through Frank's mind. God, I hope the structure of this old bird holds together at this speed. Once the integrity of an airframe has been compromised, all bets are off. Dammit, there's no way to dump fuel from a 737 and we got a lot of it. At least we're still flying. Maybe the worst is over. Hope we got good weather at Memphis.
Out of the sight of the pilots, a small hanging piece of aluminum sheeting on the side bottom of the airline fuselage tore loose in the slipstream and slammed into the right engine inlet. Sparks flew out and a fire warning light ignited on the instrument panel.
Frank spotted the red light almost immediately. "God! What's next," Frank said to himself. He then yelled to Tate. "Check number two engine."
Tate didn't have to look hard. His eyes widened. An orangereddish flume from the jet engine lit up the right side of the wing. Black heavy smoke trailed behind the engine.
"She's on fire."
"Damn." Frank quickly shut down the right engine and yelled to Tate. "Number two's down. Push the fire button."
Tate reached to the center console. He twisted a big red button marked No.2.
"If it doesn't go out give her another fire bottle in thirty seconds." Tate waited out the seconds and eagerly twisted the fire button again. He then switched on the right wing spotlight which he didn't need. His eyes widened. In a grim voice he said, "Still see flames. Smoking like hell, too."
"Tell Memphis we got one turning and one burning," Frank replied. He didn't want to even think about the possibility of the fire melting the engine support struts. He knew that a departing engine and pod would likely take a portion of the wing with it.
"Approaching ten thousand."
"Roger. Leveling off," Frank said. "Retract speed brakes."
As the aircraft slowed, the cockpit wind noise lessened. Tate slipped off his oxygen mask. Frank ripped his off with his one free hand.
The copilot looked uneasily at Frank. "I'm feeling more vibrations."
"Roger. Can't control her below 170 knots." Frank held the control yoke with both hands now, struggling to keep the aircraft from rolling either to the port or starboard sides. He nodded towards the power lever. "Reach over and give me a little more power on number one." Tate reached over and pushed the lever forward a little and the airspeed indicator increased to one hundred and eighty knots, dissipating the aircraft's tendency to roll but causing the vibrations to increase.
"That'll be our approach speed," Frank said.
A ground controller voice was heard in their headsets. "WestSky twofivethree. Do you read?"
"Got you fivebyfive now. Get our transmissions?" Tate eagerly replied.
"Roger, flight twofive three. Air traffic at Memphis has been diverted. You're clear for a straightin ILS approach to runway three six left. Ceiling 200. Fog. Visibility, quarter mile. Wind calm. Altimeter 2996."
Tate alternated between looking at the smoking engine,at the instrument panel and glancing out the front windshield. He didn't like anything he saw. Underneath them was a blanketing white sea of mist that they must descend their wobbling, burning, airliner into at high speed to reach safety. He felt himself getting nauseous thinking about their odds. Taking a deep breath, he looked for the approach plate manual and couldn't find it in the mess. He radioed their predicament to ATC. The controller answered in a minute giving frequencies and headings and altitudes required.
"Glideslope alive. You can start your descent," Tate said.
"Got it," Frank replied.
"I can still see flames coming from the engine," Tate said quietly.
"Roger," Frank said.
The controller voice was again heard over the headsets. "Emergency equipment is in position by the runway. Switch now to final controller on onetwofour point onefive. Good luck."
Before Tate could acknowledge a reply, Frank quickly injected an afterthought into the mike. "Keep the emergency vehicles away from the runway. With the structural damage we have we're not too sure how aerodynamic we might be on touchdown. Could cartwheel."
"I'll pass it on," the controller said.
While Tate changed radio frequencies, Frank gently pulled back the single power lever with his right hand and held a slight back pressure on the control yoke with his left hand as the crippled airliner descended into the murky fogbank seeking the safety of the runway two thousand feet below.
The vibrations lessened somewhat as the airspeed decreased but the wing alternately dipped and rose to one side or the other while Frank tried desperately to wrestle it back to the level position. He knew if the wing dropped just above the ground, the aircraft could cartwheel wing over wing, tearing itself into fractured pieces of metal in which only a lucky few would survive, if that many.
Flames and smoke continued pouring from the starboard engine, baggage occasionally dropping out from the gaping hole in its fuselage, as the Boeing 737 started the last approach its badly damaged airframe would ever make.
Frank glued his eyes to instruments on the panel, struggling to keep the wings level in the fog. Tate sat forward in his seat, beads of sweat on his forehead, his hand on the landing gear lever, his eyes trying to penetrate through the mist to see the runway.
"Vibrations increasing again," Tate warned.
As the Boeing 737 sped downward, Frank, eyeing the ILS indicator, kept the localizer and glide slope needles immobile.
"Descending thru 300 feet," Tate called out. "Runway not in sight."
We're coming in too hot. "Flaps 15," Frank yelled.
Tate moved the flap level. Nothing happened. "Flaps inop," Tate quickly warned.
Frank nodded. Had the fog thickened and dropped lower?
Suddenly Tate yelled. "I see the approach lights."
"Gear," Frank ordered.
The copilot quickly pushed the lever down. "Gear handle down." He glanced at the instrument panel again and his face muscles tightened.
"Starboard and nose gears not down and locked," Tate shouted.
Frank quickly glanced at the gear panel indicators. "Gear up. Tell the attendants to assume crash position. Can't go around."
"Roger." Tate pulled the lever up and spoke the warning instructions into the cabin microphone which probably nobody could hear. But the attendants could tell that the touchdown was near and showed the passengers that they should fold their arms on their knees and bend forward.
Frank brought back the power lever and raised the aircraft nose slightly.
This gave the appearance of the fast moving aircraft floating just above the ground. When the aircraft nose rose and the airspeed slowed, the whole plane shuddered and a wing dipped dangerously close to touching the ground but was quickly leveled by Frank as he plopped the airliner down on the runway. It skidded on its belly in excess of one hundred fifty miles an hour. Sliding, the airliner fuselage scraped along the top of the asphalt runway sounding like fingernails grating across a blackboard magnified a thousand times. Sparks from the friction erupted under the airliner making it look like a giant sparkler.
It was now out of Frank's control and he and the crew and passengers sweated out the seemingly endless minute as the aircraft slowly turned sideways before grinding to a stop.
Emergency vehicles, lights flashing, quickly surrounded the fuselage. Firemen shot foam into the smoking starboard engine as passengers evacuated their aluminum tube by sliding down emergency chutes. Surprisingly, a few of them appeared hardly fazed by their ordeal. Others, shaking, sobbed tears of joy, just happy to be on the ground in one piece. An elderly couple, traumatized and pale, was put into an ambulance.
Frank and the copilot jumped down to the runway from the food service door aft of the cockpit. They walked a short distance, then turned and looked back.
Now that it was over, Frank started to fully realize the implication of what could've happened and he suddenly felt exhausted. The pilots, deep in their own thoughts, remained silent for several seconds, gazing blankly at the remains of the airliner.
Tate broke the silence first. "My ears hurt."
"As they say, any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Cool touchdown, Captain."
"Thanks. But when the company sees their aircraft, they're going to question that."
"Hah, as if those desk nerds could do better," Tate said.
Frank smiled and gripped the copilot on the shoulder. "Couldn't have done without you, good job." His voice then cracked. "We lost Beth."
Tate nodded silently.
Frank turned and headed toward a side door in the terminal. "See you later. I'm going to catch a hop back to Austin after I complete about a thousand pounds of paperwork."
From the Hardcover Edition
Copyright 2007 by A. F.Ebbers
Water poured from dirty clouds as though the South China Sea was overhead. An American army sergeant crouched in a 6-foot thicket of elephant grass and ferns ignored the raindrops cascading off the bill of his cap. He stiffened when he heard the distant sound of a vehicle engine. Reaching down to his webbed belt, he unsnapped the leather cover to a Colt .45-caliber pistol.
A quarter mile away, the skinny imposter behind the wheel of the �-ton Army truck never gave a thought to slowing down even though the downpour obstructed his vision and the underbrush threatened to swallow his only pathway.
He bounced along the muddy trail in perpetual motion, much like his lifestyle, savoring the chameleon roles he played.
Abruptly the trail ended, causing the driver to brake hard. The vehicle skidded on the wet ground into a clearing the size of a tennis court. Several feet away a circular pond of black liquid stood out like a dark blotch on a green carpet. He had found the deep bomb crater four miles north of the Nha Trang airbase where his unit has been illegally dumping used aviation oil.
Only three months ago as an Army CID agent, Jack Braden had posed as a dining facility sergeant at Ft. Benning, flushing out details of a mysterious mess hall fire half a year earlier. It had been his best performance yet. Nobody had been happier than the cooks when the Army had to build an updated mess facility to replace the burned out ruins. But few would talk about it. So he stole a pickle jar containing $101 from a freezer. Military police were called in to investigate the theft of the party funds. The kitchenworkers were more than willing to take lie detector tests to show that they didn't steal the money.
The tests got results, especially when the lie detector operator asked, "Were you involved in the mess hall fire? Within the hour the arson case was solved. Now he was assigned to Vietnam, impersonating an enlisted aviation company clerk named Pat Burnside.
But he wasn't within the safe confines of orderly room office now, and Jack hesitated before leaving the truck cab, looking carefully around the area. The last thing he wanted to see was another human face. As he peered out the windshield at the desolation, his right heel tapped rapidly against the floorboard. He knew there were no sanctuaries in Vietnam and to him this locale looked about as safe as an isolated footpath in New York's Central Park at midnight.
In the dense foliage several feet from where Jack sat in his truck, a figure watched silently.
After determining that he was alone, Jack turned off his engine, grabbed his M16 rifle and stepped down from the cab. The steady downpour had finally yielded to a clinging drizzle. He walked quickly to the rear of the vehicle and lowered the tailgate. Laying his weapon inside the truck body, he pulled several five-gallon metal cans from the canvas-covered interior and carried them two at a time to the edge of the pond. He was careful where he placed his feet. The crater, he was told was 10 to 12 feet deep and slipping into it would be like falling into quicksand.
In a few minutes he carried the final two cans to the edge of the pond. Jack knew he could get the unit cited for improper disposal of used oil. But that would be inconsequential when compared to the real transgression he had uncovered. He reflected that not only the company but the whole damn country was the perfect place for those on the take.
The concealed sergeant edged his big frame forward in a semi-crouch until the elephant grass snapped in protest. He froze, waiting for a reaction from Jack. There was none. Then he started moving again, violating the stillness of the area.
To Jack, the initial noise had resembled wind rustling through leaves. Only there wasn't any breeze at the moment. The sound repeated itself. Phillips dropped the oil cans and jerked upright. Heart pounding, he whirled and scanned the area. He listened intently, hearing only his own heavy breathing. Maybe it was a monkey, a bird or one of those fat-as-a-rat rodents that populated the country. The hair on his arms rose when he heard the sound again. Before he could dash back to the safety of his rifle, a familiar voice commanded, "Burnside."
The vegetation parted and he saw the maintenance sergeant who had ordered him to dispose of the oil. Beyond the path that the sergeant had made through the underbrush, Jack saw the silhouette of another figure sitting in a jeep. Since he had not heard the jeep motor he knew that they had arrived before him.
"Jesus, you scared me." Jack took a deep breath. "What brings you out here?"
The sergeant stepped out into the open. His clothing clung to him like wet fur. He looked towards Jack but not directly at him. His eyes, devoid of expression, were focused on the agent's forehead or perhaps just beyond. It was hard to tell.
Jack started wiping his hands with an oil rag rapidly. The man standing before him, one of the suspects in his investigation and the most dangerous one, had once called Jack the most efficient clerk in the Army. Now he acted as if he knew Jack's true identity.
The sergeant, rigid, silent, thin lips remaining tight under a protruding nose, eyes still vacant, resembled a drenched, skin-covered robot.
Phillips snapped his fingers, "Dammit, I left a can in the truck." But he got no further than his first step when the sergeant withdrew the pistol from his holster and mechanically slid the metallic housing on top of the barrel back and forth, chambering a round. Waving the pistol, he motioned for Jack to stop.
In desperation, Jack looked toward the other figure in the jeep. He could faintly make out captain's bars on the man's uniform. But the officer turned his head away, leaving Jack as queasy as if he had inhaled a cheap cigar on an empty stomach. He again tried to make eye contact with the sergeant. "Hey, let's talk. We can work something out."
The sergeant didn't respond as he raised the pistol head-high, moving closer to Jack, trapping his victim between the pond and himself.
"Think --- Don't use that on me . . . " Jack spoke rapidly now, beseechingly, backing toward the oil pit and holding his arms out to ward off the assassin who was taking aim at Jack's head. "DON'T SHOO-."
Jack's words, hopes and future became history as the first of the two big slugs sent pieces of his skull flying.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Suspense/Mystery is not my usual genre, but I wanted to challenge myself by going outside my genre box. I must say that I'm glad I did! From the first page, set in the past in Vietnam, you're thrown right into the thick of drama. Someone dies right off the bat and then the second chapter starts with a terrifying explosion on a plane! The suspense and excitement continue with each new chapter. I love the personalities of Frank and his wife Nicole. Under the circumstances, they are able to remain reasonably calm. I also like that Frank isn't perfect...he doesn't always out-think the killers. He's a smart guy, but not so smart that his character is unbelievable. This story will have you on the edge of your seat...wondering how they are going to survive, who's coming after them next...will the villains get their just desert? It's a complex story filled with war criminals, corrupt politicians, and assassins...and there's plenty suspense! Ebbers' background as a pilot and Vietnam Veteran really add a depth of imagination and reality to the story. This is a really great read!
I really enjoyed this book! From the start it had me interested and I remained that way throughout the entire book. At one point, I actually shushed my child until I could finish the chapter I was reading. It was just that good! I didn't think a book about a topic I'm unfamiliar with would suck me in so, but Dangerous Past did! Dangerous Past's author, A.F. Ebbers, uses all his life knowledge to make his debut novel so realistic, I almost expected to find newspaper articles proving that the events in the story actually happened. During the flashback scenes in Vietnam, I could feel myself reliving the scenarios along with the characters. Ebbers did a great job writing with such imagery, I was very impressed to find this was his first novel.
Frank Braden is faced with identifying who is trying to kill him and why. His past has returned to haunt him and revenge runs deep. Frank must use his past experiences and knowledge to figure out how to save himself and his family from certain death. Wow!!! I was not expecting this read to be so intense. I felt a range of emotions and was pleasantly surprised by each one. Just as I thought the ride was over I was blind sighted by some new information that changed the course of things. This is a quick read as you will have difficulty putting it down. Ebbers weaves an intriguing mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat and turning the pages. With glimpses of the Vietnam war seen from both sides and how decisions made then continue to chance present day lives, Ebbers keeps you on your toes.
The past is never buried till all participants are dead That is what protagonist Frank Braden discovers in the suspense thriller Dangerous Past. A Vietnam veteran turn airline pilot, Braden is en route to Memphis when the plane he is piloting is suddenly damaged by a hole in the plane’s floor. Braden fights to land the plane as everything that could complicate an emergency landing does; one of the engines catches fire while the other is rendered useless. He manages to land safely and is regarded a hero. However, days later he is suspected of sabotaging the plane. He is accused by the FBI of stuffing his dog with a bomb and bringing it aboard the plane so he could commit suicide. Frank Braden is suspended pending the outcome of the government investigation. While on leave, an assassination attempt is made on his life. In fact, several attempts are made on his life. Each leave a puzzling clue behind, but does not explain who wants him dead or why. That is, till the devil himself decides to pay Frank a visit. It is a ghost from his past. One that Frank thought was dead, one that needs Frank dead. Dangerous Past is a page turner, one that leaves you wondering what else could possibly happen next. In the mystery suspense thriller world anything is possible and no stone is ever left unturned, especially in Dangerous Past. The supporting cast includes a loyal wife and very skeptical investigating FBI agent Tim Coffey. Frank realizes that Agent Coffey is determined to make a case against him, so he takes steps to clear his name and get to the truth. Want to know if the ghost kills Frank Braden or Frank Braden kills the ghost? Read Dangerous Past. Dangerous Past is the winner of Mystery Writers of America Bronze Award and a finalist of USA Book News, and I know why. This book is excellently written, the dialogue is crisp, never once did I detect author intrusion.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This was a fantastic first novel by Mr. Ebbers. The story toggles between the Vietnam War and Present day. The transition is wonderfully easy to follow as each character recollects portions of their past. The imagery was amazing, and the suspense kept me pulled into the story. Needless to say, I enjoyed this spy thriller so much; this book was very difficult to put down, worthy of a five star rating.
I was given a pdf copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. This story is really a thriller whodunit, with information and scenes that bounce back to the Vietnam War. The protagonist, Frank Braden is now a commercial pilot, and one with secrets. Those are revealed in tiny bits and pieces as the story unfolds, and we see where the past collides with the present in truly frightening ways; frightening because they are all too believable and possible. What was more interesting to me is that the plot line is very dependent on the characters and their development. Each character we encounter is a player in the storyline, and any one of them could be the perpetrator looking to kill Frank. And Frank isn’t the only character developed with a depth of personality that includes the bits that we all would like to ignore. While the story, the connections and the plot were all very well crafted and kept me intrigued, there were some point of view issues, often in the same character, which would have been resolved with one more round of editing. Sadly, these POV wavers happen rather frequently, and I found myself realigning as I read to better suit each character. The story does bounce about from 1967 Vietnam, early 2000 Austin Texas and Washington, DC and some shadowy operations in Laos that coincide with the Vietnam timeframe: the frequent hops feel required by the story, even as they distract from the action as it is happening at the present. This is an amazingly intriguing and successful first novel from this author. If you are, or know, a military action thriller fan, a fan of Vietnam-era storylines or a fan of mysteries that span decades – this is the book for you. Just don’t take it for distraction on your next airplane ride. Every sound will make you jump.
What did Frank Braden do that caused someone to plant a bomb in a plane, purposely leave him unconscious on the railroad tracks, and point a gun right into his face and make it look like he was trying to commit suicide. Someone definitely had a grudge, but who? And how could Frank prove all of these things were not suicide attempts and get his job back. Could it be someone from his Viet Nam days? DANGEROUS PAST is a very suspenseful mystery that focuses on the frightening fact that someone can frame you. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. The first few pages did have me thinking that I wasn't going to want to continue because it was about war, but it was simply background information for the book, and I was proved wrong....the book was an outstanding thriller. It was action packed and gripping with many twists and turns that kept you guessing along with an inside look at how cruel, crafty, and evil some people can be. The ending will have you turning the pages faster than you thought you could ever read. :) Anyone who enjoys an intense, mysterious plot will want to read this book. The only drawback for me was the war information, but the rest of the book's suspense and plot made up for those sections. A Warning.....don't read this book when you are on an airplane. :) 4/5 This book was given to me free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I really didn't expect much from the book as seeing it mostly war, planes, assassins and conspiracy, but I was totally surprised at A. F. Ebber's "Dangerous Past". It just grabs you right from the beginning and doesn't let go until the end. Fast paced, strong characters, historically accuract and pact with action! For a first novel, A. F. Ebber has all the elements of a great thriller. This review is based on a complimentary copy which was provided for an honest review.
Teaser: "Standing in the shadows, John smiled. For whatever reason, whether his victim was a macho know-it-all type or just naive of the danger, man y of the men he had killed had swallowed that bait...The voice startled Frank and he whirled around to face a well-built man wearing all black as though he was on a Special Forces recon night team. I'm in trouble, Frank thought, as he looked down the silencer barrel of a 9mm pistol. God, this guy is really good." My Thoughts: I enjoy mysteries and thrillers and I'm always eager to find new authors to read. The blurb for this book was intriguing so I thought I'd give it a try. Ebbers knows his material, and spins an interesting story. Parts of the story occur, via flashback, in Vietnam during the Vietnam war and it feels like it was written by someone who spent time there (and it was). I appreciate when an author actually makes his setting come alive, otherwise it could be anywhere, a bland vague representation of the real thing. As you may have guessed, the story and the mystery behind the attacks on Frank and his wife, have to do with Vietnam. We get flashbacks periodically throughout the story which reveal important information. Occasionally, Ebbers takes a little too long to reveal information and I would get annoyed; but he always came through, if I was just patient and kept on reading. The plot was a little overly complicated at times and Frank's luck at escaping death was amazing, but other things were spot on: the relationship between Frank and his wife Nicole, the FBI's attitude toward him in the beginning, and the way that none of the characters were completely black or white but had some depth to them. My attention dragged a few times but that didn't stop me from continuing to read; I assumed there would be a happy ending and wanted to see how Ebbers got there and how things played out. Was I right about the happy ending? Read and find out. There were some editing issues, particularly with POV's jumping around, and some typos; I kept wanting to get out my red pen. This example shows both a POV problem and a spelling error: "Fenton, shinning his light ahead of him, cursed and stumbled along the trail. He knew he was catching up since he could avoid most of the obstacles that would slow them down. I got to get this over in a hurry when I catch them. He figured he would shoot Nicole first in front of Frank, just to make him suffer a moment longer." While they were noticeable, and occurred often enough to mention, they didn't strongly affect my enjoyment of the story. If you like military action thrillers, you should definitely read this one. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*
A fast and compelling read. My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Disclaimers: I received a copy of this book for review as part of the Reading Addiction Tour. I didn't receive any compensation for this review, but the review host was paid to set up the tour. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I didn't receive any compensation and wasn't obligated to write a good review. My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I went into this story blind. I had no idea what to expect and hadn't really heard anything about it. But it was a suspense/thriller novel. If you know me, you know I love this genre. Plus, it was about planes. I have an odd fascination with planes. I started reading and was stunned when the novel opened with the murder of protagonist Frank Braden's borther thirty years ago in Vietnam. He then launched into a vivid and intense attempt to keep a plane hit with a bomb from crashing and killing the hundred passengers onboard. But instead of being a hero, the FBI accuses Frank of being a suicide bomber who wanted to make a statement with his death. Somebody out there wants Frank dead and there is a time bomb ticking. They need him dead sooner rather than later. As this unknown assailant attacks Frank, he must prove to the FBI and even to his wife that somebody wants him dead and that he's not trying to commit suicide. I love thriller novels. Ebbers' novel read quickly and kept me riveted. I found myself thoroughly engaged as I tried to untangle the plot line and figure out what was going to happen next. If you love engaging novels that leave you breathless, read this one. The writing was solid and I loved the characters. I gave this a 3.5 because while it was a great read I still felt like the plot could have been more developed. It was thoroughly engaging, but it missed that extra something to bump this up to a 4 star book. I still really liked this book and recommend reading it, especially if you love history and novels about Vietnam. The way Ebbers' interwove the Vietnam war into his current day novel was incredible. Definitely recommend to history buffs like I said earlier. In Summary: A well-written thriller novel that brilliantly interweaves the horrors that occurred during Vietnam with the current day. A novel that is bound to leave you on your feet. Warnings/Side-notes: One or two instances of strong language. Violence, but it's not graphic. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one based on content. The Wrap-up: A very enjoyable read. I read this one in one sitting and was thoroughly entertained the entire time. I love this genre and read a lot in this genre. However, this novel was still an enjoyable read. I'm thrilled that I got the chance to read this one. Love, Danica Page
I appreciated the local flavor of the book along with the historical story line that felt real and helped make the pages fly. I don't think I've come across this story line in other books or movies, so I liked that it wasn't predictable. I kept me guessing and I liked that also. I think almost anyone would enjoy this read, women, men or teens and from various backgrounds as well. I met the author at a local farmers market and got a quick synopsis from him that made me want to read it. I liked that he is home grown from Austin and the book is even published local. Lets support our local talent.
This was an extremely enjoyable book to read. The plot is interesting and is written well and keeps the reader turning the pages. I almost finished it off in one sitting. The author does a nice job of blending the historical back-story into the present-day action and pulls in a few new twists to the plot. The flashbacks to the past feel accurate and really help to move the story along. The action sequences are taut, and there are a few genuinely heart-stopping scenes. Anyone who enjoys military or aviation thrillers would most likely enjoy this book as well.