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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Red Dirt is a pulsating military thriller novel by Joel Cochran. When he was a young boy in the early 60s, Jimmy's family trip to Sylacauga, Alabama, showed him the first glimpse of racism in the deep South. But he also found a best friend in Cecil. Jimmy and Cecil become part of a special forces team as the two boys grow up to join the US Navy during the Vietnam War. But tragedy strikes when a covert mission goes wrong, and Jimmy is the lone survivor of a deadly ambush that takes Cecil's life. After losing another friend, he returns home, only to be recruited by Naval Intelligence and assigned to spy on a woman he falls deeply in love with. With death circling him wherever he goes, will Jimmy lose another person he loves?
Red Dirt is a gripping military spy thriller doused in action, romance, and heartbreak. Setting a brisk pace, Joel Cochran weaves a captivating plot that is unpredictable and keeps you on your toes until the last page. The characters have realistic personalities and discernable motives and agency to their actions, making you sympathize with their plight. Cochran pulls no punches in showcasing the horrors of war that put soldiers' lives in danger, with death looming around every corner. Jimmy is a person who suffers setback after setback and yet keeps trying to do his best under adverse circumstances. If you love military fiction with layered characters, Red Dirt is a book you should look into.