The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm

Fiction - Military
283 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

After a successful career in law enforcement as a field officer, explosives detection K-9 handler, and fatality traffic investigator, Angel Giacomo gravitated into writing. She has a degree in Political Science and History. A big believer in helping veterans, Angel supports a number of veteran organizations. Her first book, a military thriller, The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm was published in 2020.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

I had a deep affinity for the protagonist of The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm. He is a hero in the strongest American tradition of what that word means. He served in the same Army that I served in, though at a different time and place. Angel Giacomo does a great job portraying this character. I like and admire him. I think you will too. I’m betting that if you are interested enough to be reading this review, you will like this book as much as I did. It goes deep into the mind of an American soldier. A soldier whose father and mother were both distinguished soldiers. I have only met a few soldiers like that, but most of them have been extraordinary men. If you like that kind of story, get ready for a great read!

As for the elements that stand out for me in this novel, first, I have to say characters. I like reading about soldiers. I really love it when the characters remind me of real soldiers that I have met and served with. Lt. Colonel Jackson Joseph MacKenzie is such a character. I liked him and, even more, I admired him. The setting for this story changes from actual battlefields to more symbolic battlefields and all are written well. The plot is very realistic and, sadly, is quite a common one for modern American heroes and veterans. But few of them will have their story told as well as Angel Giacomo tells this one.

Rabia Tanveer

The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm by Angel Giacomo is the story of a man who served his country his whole life, but he only got betrayal in the end. Lt. Colonel Jackson Joseph MacKenzie is a man of honor, a man who has served his country with pride and was ready to do whatever it takes to protect it. Fighting and never stopping was the only thing he knew, even when he was broken and destroyed after the Vietnam War. However, his spirit remained intact and he still got up and fought some more. However, his breaking point came when he was sent on a secret mission along with his men and his country betrayed him. Now incarcerated, he doesn’t only have to fight off the nightmares of prison life, but also the nightmares in his mind. He feels devastated and he knows that giving up would be just too easy. But he is a fighter, a man who never stopped even when he was being tortured. This is his biggest battle; he just has to find the will to keep fighting on.

This was a heavy and emotional novel to read. Many times, we take our soldiers for granted, believing they will protect us, but forgetting the fact that they are human as well. Reading about Jackson and his rapid decline and then his fight for survival was a very dramatic experience for me. His development was a strange one; he started from the top, fell to the bottom and then literally crawled his way back up to the top. I enjoyed how real he was, how intense and unfiltered. To say that I just enjoyed this novel was an understatement. Intense, raw and very emotional entertainment.

M. A. Matthews

5.0 out of 5 stars

A good read.
Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2020
I don't usually read war stories. I purchased this book because the author is kin to a friend of mine.
I was pleasantly pleased from the beginning. The story grabbed my interest and moved along quickly, introducing characters as they came into play. Showed the hardship of war, the loyalty of comrades and the strength of family.
A good read!
Posted by M. A. Matthews

Eli Britt

Duty, Honor, Country
Reviewed in Italy on June 27, 2020
Verified Purchase
This is one of those Books that make the "Difference". If you are passionate about War and History, "The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles" will surely catch your attention ...
Among the pages of this Book, you will find much more than you expect ....

War in Vietnam. Duty, Honor, Country. Through these words, I managed to immerse myself in reading this Book. The story of a man, deeply wounded in the soul, with a past difficult to forget, to overcome, it is not "only" the hard life at the forefront of the Special Force, made of Blood and Death, but something terrible and dark , which marked him deeply, forever.

We perceive ties that tighten between the Soldiers, away from home, under Army, the Team becomes the Family, the Friends become Brothers, forever. This is one of those Books that you can "touch" with your hand, the reading is so fluent and engaging, that you have the feeling of being present, while the story unfolds before our eyes.

They are extremely intense chapters to read, exciting, because the mood is transferred to us, many themes are addressed, and they are so current despite the story unfolding in the past, many "ropes" are touched, you can feel a strong empathy for the protagonist.

Jackson McKenzie's Life is continually put to the test, betrayal, anger, pain, and in certain moments darkness... he will have to fight with his worst enemy: himself.

Along his way this man will meet ... a wild spirit, which will penetrate his interior.
A strong, powerful and wonderful creature who manages to change something within him, "A Special Contact" through unconditional trust and great mutual respect and ...excursions, in the rugged wild nature, in the heart of the mountains. A Great Friendship is born.

If like me you love the Historical Conflict in Vietnam, the Honor, the Duty for your Country, the true and only American Patriotism, Justice, Truth, Friendship, all intertwined with the Life of a Man, who tries to fight the his "demons", and to get out of them; I recommend reading. Will this man be able to regain his strength and have the courage to come out of the darkness? This is the book for you.
Personally I think that if a writer manages to hit you "inside" and reach the heart of the reader and leave a "trace", it means that he do his job very well. It was like that for me.
When you start reading, you will no longer be able to stop ...
I have already obtained my copy ... A reading absolutely, not to be missed.

Sally Berneathy

Meet Lt. Colonel Jackson MacKenzie, a man to whom honor is everything. He served his country and became a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Before he can recover from the mental and physical scars of that experience, his country betrays him even as they ask more from him.
In the Eye of the Storm is a spell-binding account of Jackson MacKenzie’s war experiences as well as his emotional journey dealing with those experiences. The action scenes had me turning pages as fast as I could, heart racing, to find out what happened next. Some of the emotional experiences brought actual tears to my eyes. The author takes the reader through tension, emotion, and, ultimately, joy with a few laughs thrown in to ease the tension.
I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

Igor Tinagli

I just finished reading "In the Eye of the storm"
This is my thought:
In general, I liked the book. I know well the syndrome that the protagonist suffers, from because unfortunately I have heard about it and too often those who suffer from it are left alone to fight their "freaks". In fact, I appreciated how in the unfolding of the story he is never left alone, but supported and understood by those around him. Regarding this, the figure of Bandit is very nice in this sense, he embodies the strength and commitment that JJ to get out of that "bad situation" in which life had dragged him. I had a little difficulty in understanding the names of the equipment and some military terms, not having a great preparation in the American military, being Italian did not help me, but I managed to find answers, however, that allowed me to understand how the author meticulously documented every detail, weapon or device mentioned. Inside the book, there is Friendship, Family, Spirit of Corps, and Sense of Duty... things that unfortunately are often forgotten, especially these days, but here they find themselves tied and harmonized properly. Something very important: reading this book allowed me to understand some aspects of my wife and all the references she makes every day, having read this Book much before me. Congratulations to the Author for the good work, that speaks of a story that none of us should ever forget...

Gus Kappler

True to life Vietnam warrior's experience
I served in Vietnam as a trauma surgeon. Her tale of Jackson's mistreatment is true to our real-life experiences. The story flowed. Jackson was chewed up and spit out by his country's military machine which, like Grant, considered "soldiers" as totally expendable. His team labored under the lies and deceit perpetrated by the brass and their unqualified legacy protecting political superiors. Pairing with his gifted horse is so on point. I met Bob Nevins at one of my talks. He flew Dust Off with the 326th Medical Battalion in Vietnam during the same time period I was there and delivered the wounded to me at the 85th Evac. Check out Alliance 360. The author's analysis of animal and man sharing trust and companionship (herd instinct) are right on. I was expecting the feds to show up as a Christmas treat. Thank goodness they did not.


Exciting and Riveting

An excellent read for anyone interested in history snd the trials and tribulations that come with it.

Treasure Stevs

Online Book Reviews
We all hear about wars, but some of us haven't experienced them. The Vietnam War is one of the most discussed. And we hear stories about people who fought, died, and survived. Mackenzie is one of those who survived; now let's talk about his story.

The Jackson Mackenzie Chronicle by Angel Giacomo tells us the story of Mackenzie. Mackenzie was born into a family that had a tradition of serving the country, so he had to join the USA army. He went to several wars; his first was the Korean War, and the second was the Vietnam War. He survived those wars but was left with pain and the trauma of seeing people die, so he was bent on helping humanity. He was sent on a secret mission by his superiors to go to Hanoi and recover an original artwork that North Vietnam was selling on the black market to finance its combat and guerrilla operations and replace it with forgeries. So to stop the war, he and his team were sent. Do you think he survived it? What if he was betrayed? What if he came out alive? What if he died? Read on to find out.

I couldn't get enough of this book. I love everything about it. I was so eager to know what happened next. The action parts made me scream a little; it felt like I was in a movie. The author did thorough research before writing this because it feels so real. One thing I love about this book is that it is part of a series but stands alone as a book on its own that readers can understand even without knowing about the series. I don't love war books because I get so tense reading them, but after reading reviews about this one, I decided to give it a try, and all I can say is that it's worth everything I put into reading it: my time, my sleep, my chores. I'm so happy I read this piece. I cried and I laughed, I smiled, I shouted, and I was curious, but I guess that's the difference between an award-winning novel and any other novel.

There was nothing to hate about the books. It was exceptionally well edited. I love how the author made it different from every other war book. I was reluctant to read it, but after reading the first page, I didn't stop until I finished. I love how he made it very real; one could tell how things happened clearly. I learned a lot of things about the ranks in the army that I didn't know before. I knew this book was going to make sense when the letter was sent to Colonel Johnson. I felt bad about it, but I guess that's one of the things that makes an interesting book interesting. I must commend the author for writing such an engaging book, and I look forward to reading more books written by him.

I recommend it to those who love historical fiction and war books.

Vicki Brown

The group of devoted men, and their stories drew me in quite easily. Dealing with PTSD was intriguing, as this hit home with questions I had often wondered. The references to favorite books from my childhood also a pleasant surprise. The feel good ending brought it to a nice close. I want to start the next book.

Joseph M. Lenard (aka: JLenardDetroit)

The best compliment that I can give: leaves you wanting more (and since it is a series there is) I am going to start this review in what many will consider a strange manner, but talking about myself. I vowed (and I'm giving away my age here) that I would signup for Service should War come between the United States and Iran due to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. History, of course, shows that resolved without it coming to all-out War (though we've fought proxy-war with them through the many terrorism organizations they help fund and arm), but (of course) the threats from Iran still come as they still force their citizens (many of whom yearn for Freedom from their tyrannical Leaders) into chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" and we need to take those threats seriously (learn from the chants and warnings of previous tyrants that may have had to bid their time but once able followed through with their promises of death and destruction no matter the costs) and why it is such a concern about them getting Nuclear weapons (especially if one was a student of Nostradamus (ArethUSA Quatrain 1, 87)). I did have other friends that did go on to join different Military branches and I have only ever gained more and more respect, admiration, and appreciation for those who Served, and obviously therefore those who actually saw the horrors of front-line actions. It was/is that which attracted me to this book from Angel. An appreciation, care, concern, and that she acknowledges them all in her book Dedication, that their stories (though fictionalized here, some may have experienced similar) not be forgotten (and go too often unappreciated, sadly some-much-so our Vietnam era Veterans and even too our LEOs (Angel's bio shows she was one), Fire, EMT, who also Serve in a different respect), and continue to demonstrate a reminder of those that gave so much (some gave their Lives) that the concepts of Freedom and self-determination remain alive. It was also the reason my first internationally published book had an important "appreciation for our Troops" and "concern" for what more we have to do to repay them for their Service when on average 22 Veterans per day commit Suicide thread in it. As for the book specifics, and again as an author of published works myself, I want to not just praise the greatness of the story delivery and how Angel does not deliver the average "cookie-cutter" type "formulaic" writing that makes far too many books (and, as in this case, a series) "predictable" but instead way more enjoyable when it comes time to turn the page it brings great anticipation for the next page, the next chapter, and the "how does this all turn out!" But, again, I'm going to go "untraditional" (a bit more "technical") here in my admiration for Angel's attention to detail in the choice of the books entire delivery, beginning to end. From the chapter header detailing (font selection) to the way she lends credence (IMO) to the story (as if it had happened, as if this were almost a Memoir and someone's written documentary of not only the what but when) by usage of a timestamp (which, too, IMO, adds to a "it really happened" as if we're reading a Military brief account on an event) down to the importance (reality) of using Military Clock (that I as a former IT guy came to adopt over the years too, as more precise, though it still confuses some, that you just subtract 12 for the afternoon/evening hours). The very unique chopper formation breaks! And I could go on further but if this review turns into its own novel others may not read it. :) LOL I couldn't put it down, I purchased the Kindle version/download in the morning, and read well into the early hours of the next day not wanting to put it down. Whereas, far too much other writings are something I'll read a chapter here and there and finally finish potentially a month later. And, this is only a very minor spoiler, I loved her reference to "It's a Wonderful Life" which despite the seriousness of the topic made me laugh because I too have a reference to that movie in one of my books. It is something other writers could/should (IMO) learn from, in that it relates things that are familiar in their life even if other concepts and situations in a book are foreign to them. A very nice touch, IMO. I hope this "somewhat odd" review can/will really help bring others "on the fence" about purchasing this book over the so many countless other choices we all have, to sway them toward either this or other books from Angel.

David Johnson

My views of The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm. I couldn't put it down. It kept me turning pages to the end to see what happens to this brave soldier who gave everything for his country and it betrayed his trust. That is as much true today as it was during the Vietnam War. To "Save Face" the US government will willingly sacrifice young men and women in war. Look at the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. This is the story of a man broken by war and trying to pull himself out of the gutter by his own bootstraps. He has PTSD as it is called now. During the Vietnam War they would and did give the men like this a few days rest, normally pumped full of drugs, then throw them back out on the line. This book shows this in the story of one man, chewed to pieces by the military system then left to his own devices to find a way. A lot of soldiers don't, finding solace in a bottle or suicide. All these are brought up in the book. Great book, I recommend you read it because only a few short paragraphs don't do it justice.

J. Michael White

Great War Tale. Good for readers who like military stories.


Exciting and Riveting. An excellent read for anyone interested in history snd the trials and tribulations that come with it.


Good Read. I'm very into this book, like I am in the events day by day...
Some parts make me smile such as "Ice cream’s better than bland hospital food any day. Yep, I love
ice cream."

Delores Johnson

"The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm” was profoundly captivated. The hands of the clock relentlessly swept towards the hours of the early morning as I found myself utterly engrossed. The narrative compelled me to journey through its pages, driven by the desire to unveil the fate of the valiant soldier who unreservedly dedicated himself to his nation, only to have his trust betrayed by his superior officers. This enduring reality remains as potent now as it was during the tumultuous era of the Vietnam War. The notion of "Saving Face" in the eyes of the public prompts the willing sacrifice of young lives by the US government during times of conflict, as was starkly evident in the recent troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The core narrative orbits around a man fractured by the ravages of war, embarking on the arduous journey to reclaim his life from the depths of despair, relying solely on his own determination. The weight of PTSD as it is now known. During the time of the Vietnam War, it was called “Vietnam Syndrome” and before that “Shell Shock.” No matter what the term it comes from going through tragic events that weigh heavily on the internal soul of those involved. This is a substantial aspect of his struggle. During the Vietnam War, individuals of similar plight were briefly provided respite, often numbed by drugs, only to be thrust back into the battlefield. This account echoes through the pages, illustrating the narrative of one individual who was mangled by the machinery of war, then cast aside to grapple with his own demons alone inside a six by eight cell. Something utterly impossible without help.

The book expertly weaves the tale of his ordeal, a testimony to the toll taken by the military system, leaving him to navigate the path to recovery without a compass. Many soldiers, tragically, don't find their way, seeking refuge in the embrace of a bottle or surrendering to the scourge of suicide. These somber truths are masterfully explored within the book's confines as Jackson grapples with them and many other roadblocks both physical and mental. I wholeheartedly endorse reading this exceptional literary work, for it is beyond the scope of a mere few paragraphs to fully encompass its profound essence.