Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Severance-Elliot Sawyer

The Severance
Elliot Sawyer
Bridge Works, Nov 16 2010, $23.95
ISBN: 9780981617534

To punish him for his attitude and disobedience, Captain Jake Roberts is placed in charge of the Army’s worst unit the Kodiak Platoon. The soldiers are those dumped as losers by other platoons. Rather than early discharge for incompetency, these addicts, deserters, and dysfunctional humans are assigned the horrific missions in the Afghanistan Mountains because the brass believes each one is expendable.

Surprisingly to the shock of even the troop, the soldiers bond and do well fighting the insurgents (and each other – can’t have everything). .However, everything changes when on a mission they find a million American dollars, a contractor under the table stash. Jake and his subordinates agree to smuggle into the States the “Severance” loot to be equally divided by all of them even as they still fight the Taliban, their superiors, an unknown adversary who may be one of them, and each other.

This is an entertaining military tale that is a sort of mix of Up Periscope with the Dirty Dozen, but never quite chooses between the two films. Thus, the story line is amusing yet loaded with action, but not fully gelled into a cohesive thriller. Still readers will root for the Kodiak Platoon especially Captain Jake to keep the Severance Pay as the rules of engagement include the “cost of doing business” in a highly contracted out war.

Harriet Klausner

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