Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

SHADOW SQUADRON: BLACK ANCHOR by Carl Bowen, Wilson Tortosa, and Benny Fuentes

Carl Bowen Black Anchor

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: Black Anchor takes a risk of alienating the reader at first. Second in command of the team, Chief Petty Officer Alonzo Walker is a guy everyone’s going to like. He opinionated and firm. It takes a lot to convince this man, and he’s not sure current commander Ryan Cross has what it takes to lead the team.

Even with all the personal tension going on, Bowen is able to deliver a tremendous amount of technical information and history of geographical conflict, including some of the “gray” areas. There’s a lot of insight about how a battleground can take shape spherically, and the tension is really good throughout. The oil rig as the primary field of battle is really well done, and the team pays a price in this one.

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