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Welcome, friend! Relax & rest awhile, if you please. I'm an ordinary girl, a follower of Christ, mama to Gabriel, & wife to Evan. Here in this little space of the online world, I share all manner of bookish things, including full content reviews, writerly snippets, encouragement for everyday life, and a whole collection of names & their meanings.

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Book Review | Operation Hail Storm

Whaddya know? Two book reviews in two days?? AND on Friday and Saturday of all things?
Normally, my review deadlines do not fall on or around the same week, but these two just happened to do so.  (Actually, this particular review was supposed to be posted yesterday. . . but due to the release of Our Dark Stars just this past Tuesday, I opted to post it first.)

Operation Hail Storm
Hail #1
Brett Arquette | November 15, 2016
Thrillers, Military Fiction

Marshall Hail was a husband, a father, a Physics Nobel prize winner and industrial billionaire. But when Hail's family was killed in a terrorist attack, he became a predator and redirected his vast industrial assets toward one goal, removing every person on the FBI's Top 10 Terrorist list. With the help of his MIT colleagues, Hail designed and built a devastating arsenal of attack drones of all shapes and sizes that are flown by the nation's best young gamers. The world will come to realize that Marshall Hail possesses the capability of getting to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unleashing an operation so disturbing that the CIA has named it Operation Hail Storm.

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I was provided a copy of this novel by the author in exchange for my honest review.

[The Basics]
To begin, I must say the attention to details in this book, as well as the story and plot, were rather impressive.  I've read several military fiction novels, and in so doing have learned much of the weapons, equipment, and aircraft from them.  But this one takes it up a level.  One can certainly tell Mr Arquette did some serious research on this.  

For instance, the story follows Marshall Hail for the most part.  And to some him up in two words, I would say: genius billionaire.  In the near future, he has found a way to provide safe, nuclear power to the entire world using the gazillion tons of toxic waste that sat corroding for years because you couldn't do a thing with it.  The United States sold said waste to him and, from the ground up, he built his company and power plants to recycle and reuse the waste, providing enough power to the world for the next 100,000 years.  In the process, he became a billionaire.  But now, he has a new purpose: ridding the world of the terrorists---any and all---responsible for the deaths of his wife and daughters two years prior.

It is so very clear Marshall loved his wife and twin daughters dearly.  We see him at the memorial known as the Five, where five monuments represent five separate flights shot down by terrorist missiles.  It's the first time in nearly two years that he's found the strength to visit the site he himself funded and mourn his family.

On board the Hail Nucleus, much more than the cargo ship it would seem upon first impression, Hail's crew of young geniuses ranging from ages 16 to 40s, operate as a family.  Most everyone on the ship lost loved ones in The Five, the majority of them underage minors.  We learn Marshall acts as their legal guardian, providing them with a home, food, clothing, and schooling while on board.

Since the death of his family, Marshall practically let himself go, burying everything into his company and focusing on bettering the world's fuel sources.  With that accomplished, he finds a new purpose in hunting terrorists.  While this may be a noble cause of sorts, Marshall is fueled by what he calls "retribution," but we all know it is good ol' revenge---and it definitely shows.  Because of this, he isn't exactly the best role model for his young crew.  And while his friend Gage Renner (with whom he went to college and is now his second-in-command) attempts to give him good advice, all too often, he ignores it.

We learn Marshall's father, one of the highest ranking officers in the military, was a harsh man.  Many of Marshall's memories of him are not that of a loving man caring for his son, but "teaching" him hard lessons and expecting far too much of a young boy.

A woman serves as president of the United States of America.

Politicians being politicians.

[Spiritual Content]
None.  These people are the kind who like to take matters into their own hands, and are unwilling to acknowledge there is a Higher power in control.

Multiple uses of God's name in vain.  Jesus' name is misused at least once.

This is military fiction.  And while Marshall himself is not a decorated officer in any way, he uses remote-operated drones of his company's design to carry out his vigilante actions.  Lots of explosions.  A giant rail gun, which I imagined to be a kind of charge-powered laser gun, blows up a pirates' ship that foolishly threatens to attack the Hail Nucleus.  None of the pirates are killed as far as I know, but they sure are scared to death as they jump ship just before it goes BOOM.  

Marshall's drones are intricately designed to the tiniest, finite detail, and can perform some rather daring feats, which include: delivering poison to a terrorist's glass of orange juice, to simple surveillance, to carrying a modified M4 firearm and shooting anything (or anyone) when necessary, to serving as hosts in delivering bombs, and so on.  

A man, as mentioned above, is poisoned by cyanide to his orange juice.  He dies a ghastly and violent death, caused mainly because of his thrashing about and destroying his glass breakfast table in his death throes. . .  Another man is shot in the hand by a drone.  Drones self-destruct in order so no enemy hands get a hold on the technology.  A warehouse containing missile parts is blown sky-high, killing some soldiers. 

{EDIT:  I will say this, in regards to the ship, Hail Nucleus, it was literally AMAZING.  Like a dream ship for anyone interested in this kind of work.  Basically, it was a resort complete with pool, gym, two-story shopping mall, at least four different cultural restaurants, and staterooms resembling those of a nice hotel.  Not to mention, it also had a mission control room, analyst stations, and a security headquarters.  If I was stuck on a ship for months on end, or years for that matter, I think I would certainly lean on getting hired on one of those in Hail's fancy/yet competent fleet. :] }

[Language//Alcohol & Drugs]
Multiple uses of "h---," "d---," and "a--."  Several uses of "b----," as well as "p---" and "p---ed."

Wine is served in the ship's restaurant.  No one drinks so much as to get drunk though. . . Though Marshall may have a history of drowning his grief in alcohol, I can't recall.

[Lovey Content]
Kara Ramey, an agent for the CIA, is known (and was apparently hired) for her beauty, not just her skills as a linguist.  It is said many times what her job consists of in, to put it bluntly: seducing men into giving her or providing her with information.  We first meet her on an assignment with a baddie, where they end up in bed later. . .  To her credit, she seems to be disgusted with such "work," but does so with a need to avenge her parents in some way.  They too were killed in The Five, but her sense of revenge is more logical (if possible), compared to Marshall's open "need" for vengeance.

At one point, Kara, on board the Nucleus, is asked to fetch Marshall from his quarters (why she is, I don't understand, it could just as easily have been one of the crew, IMO).  He, believing it to be his friend Renner, doesn't bother grabbing a robe, but answers the door in naught but his undies.  Kara, familiar as she is with men, jokes about his tighty-whities.  He allows her in his stateroom while he goes to change, and she comments about his having a nice backside (except she uses a different word).

There's some slight attraction between Kara and Marshall, but nothing so much as kissing or hugging happens.  

To conclude, this novel was an interesting read with an intriguing plot involving advanced technology that made total sense, and wasn't so far out of the blue as to seem Sci-Fi.  However, there were numerous, wordy descriptions that I found myself skipping over at times, and thinking, "Do I really need to know THIS much info?"  A lot of it involved the mechanics of the drones, weapons, ships, measurements, velocity, power, etc. of how things worked.  And other descriptions included entire paragraphs on minor characters we were introduced to that may or may not play a big part in the plot.  In the last few chapters, we read a scene where it's this one giant monologue of Marshall and Kara sharing backgrounds and stories of what we already know of both of them (having learned throughout the book), when it could have simply said something like, "Before they knew it, five hours had passed in which they found themselves opening up to one another and sharing their histories.  Perhaps he could learn to trust this woman.  And maybe she, him."

Also, every now and then, the perspective of the characters in the chapters would switch randomly.  We would be reading from Marshall's POV, but then it would suddenly go to Kara's perspective in the same chapter.  I found this to be a little irritating, but I think I was making it a bigger deal than necessary. . .

Because of this, I found myself growing bored---especially towards the end.  Other than that and the language and crude jokes, I enjoyed this novel.  It is an action thriller with an amazing idea of cheap power supply provided to all the world, all while using up toxic/chemical waste.  And the process of the drones, while scary to think about actually happening, made sense.  Again, I was incredibly impressed with the amount of research Mr Arquette obviously put into this.  But alas, I couldn't enjoy it to the fullest with all the distracting content.  

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Thanks again for reading, y'all!
BTW, I promise I LOVE books, and not every single book I read gets a three-star review.  Heheh. . . that was simply a coincidence with these two novels, unfortunately.
Happy Saturday!


  1. A lot of military thrillers often have a lot of technical information - it's more geared to men than women *shrugs*

    Great review, Sarah!


  2. On the contrary, m'dear, that depends. :] I have read at least three or four series that feature amazing military thriller action geared for both men and women, with NONE of the content. Albeit, they are categorized as Christian Fiction, but in my mind that just goes to show one can enjoy good, clean action thrillers with none of the junk.

    If you are in the least interested in such thrillers, perhaps you could look up author Dee Henderson. Her novels are more for women, you could say, but my hubby liked them a lot as well. :]

    Thanks for commenting!!


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