Title: “Operation Blackheart”
Author: Jonathan Brett
Publication Date: February 20, 2012
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Free download
My star rating: 5/5
During World War II, Captain Daniel Ryder is recruited for a secret mission behind enemy lines. All he knows is that a plane went down carrying a secret Nazi weapon and OSS wants it, and that he doesn’t trust the OSS operative who recruited him. He recruits a small team to go with him, close to Germany itself, and piggybacks on an Allied mission to get to his objective. That’s the last time everything goes to plan. Lost behind enemy lines, Ryder and his men realize that they’re facing something worse than they could have imagined – and a force of nature that the Nazis shouldn’t have been messing with.
Most of you who follow my reviews know by now that I purchase a book based on its cover and I almost never read the blurb. This book was the exception. The cover didn’t sell it to me, but the blurb and title sure did. I should also mention that I’m not one for historical fiction either, so the attraction to this book for me was more the mystery element as to what relic these soldiers would discover and of course my suspicion that it might have something to do with the occult as it is rumored that Hitler took an interest in it.
The story starts on a mysterious note with an old priest giving Captain Daniel Ryder - an all-American farm boy GI - a strange cross hanging from a chain, on the day before Daniel is shipped out to fight Hitler. Along with this strange cross, he also gives Daniel a sinister warning: “You’re the one…There is death over there. Death that stalks many. Stalks you.” By this point in the chapter I was already hooked and had a couple of questions in desperate need of answers, so I soldiered on. While the priest were giving Daniel the cross and these warnings, he was also interrupting Daniel’s last date with his girlfriend, Genevieve, with whom he was breaking up before going to Germany to fight in the second world war. The moment the cross was pushed into his hand, Daniel instantly had a feeling that he wasn’t going to return from this war.
There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. It’s not solely focused on the main character, but also tells the story of each of Captain Daniel Ryder’s team mates while they’re out on their secret mission to recover the Nazis’ lost relic, which they have no idea what it is. They only know that it has the shape of a coffin and every recovery team sent to the crash site by the Germans, don’t return. Throughout the story I felt part of Ryder’s team and I felt the same fear they did each night they were chased through dark forests by mysterious, terrifying wolves with glowing eyes. I experienced their terror and felt like jumping out of my seat and shouting at them to watch out when they spent a night or two in deserted ghost towns in the middle of nowhere, far from civilization; not to mention the small village with the freaky people who buried their…well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. A gazillion weird things happen to the soldiers while they make a few bizarre discoveries in this village. By the time they came across an abandoned house in the middle of the woods which had close to a hundred crosses carved into its stone walls and a dead Nazi with a petrified expression on his face in the backyard, I was so twisted up in this plot with all its intrigue and suspense, I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the conclusion. It was that or risk heart failure from all the adrenaline pumping through me. Not only did I feel what they did, but I also got to know each of these eight men thanks to excellent character development meticulously done by the author. The suspense ate away at me as this group of GI’s discovered a traitor in their midst, and even more so the night they spent in the bell tower of an abandoned church in the middle of a thunderstorm, being hunted by a killer who also stalks them in their dreams. So much happens in this book that all the things I mention here is only the tip of the iceberg!
I suppose some would classify this as a horror, but as a huge fan of horror I’d still recommend it to readers who aren’t fans of the horror genre. Don’t get me wrong. This story is downright scary, but I think fans of historical fiction and paranormal addicts will enjoy this book immensely. If you’re a gamer (like me) who finished both Wolfenstein games, you’ll have a pretty good idea what you’re letting yourself in for reading Operation Blackheart. This story is not predictable and it doesn’t have a happy ending for some of the characters, but it does come to a superb, feel-good conclusion. It’s the first book I’ve read written by this author and I’m looking forward to reading many more of his books. Thrills and chills, and a read with a macabre twist that will take you back in time and place you in the center of World War II; this splendid novel by Jonathan Brett will without a doubt keep you awake for hours!
This book is FREE on SmashWords! Get it HERE.