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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
In November 2004, Heinrich Finster strolled through Germany’s Hurtgen Forest, the site of vicious battles and thousands of deaths occurring sixty years earlier. Surprisingly, he found a skeleton wedged between two boulders, and realized the dog tags belong to an American soldier. The intriguing adventure continues in the small town of Huntsville, Texas, and the offices of the Army Awards and Decorations Branch, located in the Pentagon. Tom Campbell, an associate professor of history at Graffton College in Huntsville, is grappling with the death of his mostly-silent father – with the help of his sometimes girlfriend, Elly. Bob Vardis’ job at the Army office is investigating veterans’ claims of heroic acts. Author Michael Putegnat crafts an engaging story of intrigue, history and loving relationships in his novel, The Settling.
Although the story contains some complicated scenarios, such as the deciphering of coded information, there is an easy flow in its reading. The author skillfully lays out the plot in understandable and truly enjoyable ways. The characters are realistic, as snippets from their life experiences are woven into their current emotions and behaviors. Tom’s middle-class upbringing and his professorial history at Graffton, and Bob’s challenging work, have a great impact in their current efforts. The Settling by Michael Putegnat is a substantial novel, rich in authenticity and life’s challenges. The reader is pulled into the storyline from the first page, and is enthralled with the complex plot until the last page. There is adventure, mystery and discovery entwined throughout – a novel not to be missed!