De Facto Pathfinder

Fiction - Military
253 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

CW3 Cesare Giannetti U. S. Army (Ret.) writes a challenging yet encouraging story in De Facto Pathfinder. At a crossroads in life, a search for purpose echoes in Chris Longo’s soul. Chris is an Army veteran, divorced, and an absentee father to his daughter. He works at the local Veteran’s Service Agency (VSA) in Oklahoma. Although Chris is good at his job, he is desperate for a change, something of value. Chris resigns from his position, taking a sabbatical, hoping to discover a pathway to a meaningful destiny. Months pass, and Chris finds himself back at the VSA. The DoD has developed a pilot program to help combat Veterans with their “personal and recovery issues.” They believe that Chris is a perfect candidate for the position. Over the next six months, Chris travels the country to six locations. Spending a month at each place, Chris meets veterans who have lost their way. Each veteran and their situation is as unique as their location. Chris Longo’s job is to help them find their way. He becomes their De Facto Pathfinder. It becomes an act of reciprocity; Chris discovers meaning for himself by assisting veterans.

The De Facto Pathfinder by CW3 Cesare Giannetti U. S. Army (Ret.) reaches the depths of your heart and soul. It is an engaging read on a difficult subject. Giannetti and his military career offer insight, bringing realism to the story and characters. The narrative is profoundly descriptive, including scenery, history, tastes of local cuisines, and regional vernacular. There are a couple of significant factors weaved into the narrative. As the main character navigates his path of self-discovery, he constantly reminds himself “only the veterans mattered.” Another thread of importance is the inclusion of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. The novel helps shape the main character’s growth and interactions with the veterans. I attempted to have a favorite veteran story but simply could not. Each veteran and their individual story were essential to the narrative. De Facto Pathfinder is an inspirational story that will leave you smiling.

Essien Asian

Chris Longo is in the middle of a slump. His marriage is over, but he feels strongly for his ex-wife and daughter. Just when he thinks things cannot get any worse, he loses his drive for his job at the VSA. This has to be the absolute worst, but there's that voice inside telling him that if he doesn't take control of his situation, it can get very bad very fast. He decides to take some time away in a bid to find himself. Little does he know that his supposed break will see him crisscrossing the nation and connecting with similarly lost souls needing his help in De Facto Pathfinder by CW3 Cesare Giannetti.

A retired military veteran struggles to come to terms with life after the army in CW3 Cesare Giannetti's revealing novel. His choice of a storyline in De Facto Pathfinder is timely as this scenario plays out almost daily, with very few people aware of how difficult the transition can be for ex-servicemen and women. His principal character is a flawed individual who acknowledges his personal struggle and its adverse effects on his family life yet is proactive enough to try to break out of it. Interestingly enough, the parallels that can be drawn between Chris and the character from the classic book he occupies himself with are replicated in his encounters with his canine companion. The best part of this story is his conversations with his former colleagues, who he tries to help as their stories make up uniquely realistic subplots. Kudos must go to Giannetti for finding the courage to pen this one-of-a-kind novel.

Natalie Soine

De facto Pathfinder by CW3 Cesare Giannetti U.S. Army (Ret.) is set in August 2018 in Sooner, Oklahoma. Chris Longo had served a five-year stint at Fort Sill as Field Artilleryman two decades previously before he took a boring office job working for Bob Arnold at the VSA. Confiding in his Aunt Sophie, Chris had an epiphany and undertook a “vision quest”, seeking advice from a guardian before taking a journey into the wilderness to discover his calling in life. Chris soon began his new career as an Officer in charge of Personnel Management, reporting to Michael Montrose at the Department of Defense to address veteran wellness and personal recovery issues. Chris was sent to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. His first case was Tim Tilly, a disabled Vietnam veteran who lost his right leg and suffered from PTSD, alcoholism, and was possibly suicidal. Chris felt these veterans' pain and helped them to overcome their challenges.

De facto Pathfinder is a heartwarming novel. Cesare Giannetti has penned a gem, bringing to light the difficulties faced by veterans. The book is well-researched and professionally written, containing facts that are both surprising and, in some cases, shocking. The tone is consistent, smooth flowing and each character is well-defined, making it easy to relate to them. I especially enjoyed the process that Chris went through when making life-changing decisions and prioritizing his goals and aspirations. It takes courage and determination to give up the comfort of a dead-end job to find something more satisfying and meaningful. The book is suitable for all ages and has a high educational value.

K.C. Finn

De Facto Pathfinder is a work of fiction in military writing, interpersonal drama, and inspirational subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author CW3 Cesare Giannetti U.S. Army (Ret.). In this intriguing and well-developed novel, we are offered plenty of realistic military knowledge and detail as we follow our protagonist Chris Longo. Now running a veteran agency after serving more than two decades ago, Chris seeks a new start, only to find himself offered the chance to travel and interact with those who have lost their way. So begins an epic journey cross-country to see if he can truly make a difference.

Author Cesare Giannetti has crafted a deeply-felt and intricately penned drama about military veterans in contemporary times, and there’s a great deal to learn from and empathize with in this excellent novel. There are a lot of different narratives that weave their way into this story, from those who are lost in their memories and current-day struggles, and these all wind around protagonist Chris as he enters lives, touches them, and searches for resolutions. The tapestry of voices that forms, as a result, is heartbreaking, poignant, and quite incredible, giving this novel the feel of a road-trip journey of self-discovery, but one which also amplifies and carries the weight of a whole movement and social issue with immense momentum. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend De Facto Pathfinder to anyone with an interest in psychology, military tales, and deeply-felt interpersonal drama novels.

Pikasho Deka

De Facto Pathfinder by CW3 Cesare Giannetti US Army (Ret.) follows the life of a former army veteran who unexpectedly finds a new purpose in counseling veterans in need. Chris Longo is a 48-year-old man who served in the army as a Field Artilleryman two decades ago. Now working for the VSA, Chris feels stuck and tired of his dull office job. But soon, his life turns upside down, and Chris is approached by the Department of Defense (DoD) to work for a pilot program rehabilitating veterans in desperate need of help to reassimilate into civilian life. Now for the next six months, Chris will travel across the country, trying his best to help veterans at different phases of their lives, suffering from severe injuries, PTSD, sexual assault, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies.

CW3 Cesare Giannetti US Army (Ret.) tells a powerfully moving story about a middle-aged man who finds his true purpose in life while working with military veterans who somehow lost themselves in the service to their country. De Facto Pathfinder will emotionally resonate with anyone who has ever enlisted in the armed forces or know someone who has. Giannetti's characters feel like people you may have met in real life, making the story all the more impactful for the reader. By helping others, Chris finds the clarity to navigate his life and slowly begins to mend his relationship with his teenage daughter—a thoroughly engaging slice-of-life drama novel that I highly recommend.