SHADOW SQUADRON: SNIPER SHIELD by Carl Bowen, Wilson Tortusa, and Benny Fuentes
Carl Bowen’s Shadow Squadron is a Tom Clancy type military series written for young readers (third or fourth grade). He keeps the action true to life without the gore (there is killing but it’s the clean shot/clean kill variety – shoot the bad guys, they fall down). His use and understanding of military weapons and nomenclature is good and will appeal to young readers wanting that kind of detail.
Wilson Tortosa and Benny Fuentes (drawings and color in that order) provide great, colorful illustrations filled with action and suspense.
Shadow Squadron: Sniper Shield deals with Lieutenant Kimiyo Yamashita’s time spent behind his M110 sniper rifle. The military sniper is one of the deadliest and most romanticized positions in all branches of service. He’s the guy (or woman) who can get it, set up a shot, and get it down from a mile or more away.
Yamashita’s assignment in this one isn’t easy. He’s been tasked with protecting a man he would have preferred putting a bullet into himself. And even if he doesn’t shoot the man, all he has to do is hesitate just long enough to allow a sniper for the other team to get the job done.
The author builds the tension and suspense well in this tale, and a lot of doubt is put in play before the final few pages. The details about the sniper’s role in modern combat and the tools of the trades are expertly shown, as it the mental toughness of a soldier required to sit and wait till that perfect shot presents itself.