Without Reserve

A Novel of the War on Terror

Fiction - Action
298 Pages
Reviewed on 10/30/2019
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

In the wake of 9/11, I returned to active duty as a Captain in Army Intelligence. Over the decade that followed, I served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other lesser-known theaters of 21st Century conflict. After reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, I returned to the private sector as a corporate executive, attorney, and author. I retired from the Army Reserve as a full Colonel in 2019.

I began writing as a way to deal with the challenges that come from serving in inconclusive wars. After speaking with my fellow veterans - from both the military and civilian intelligence communities - I realized my situation wasn't unique. Veterans from every war return home with an infuriating inability to communicate how they feel about their experiences. I found writing both an outlet for my own passions and a way to bridge that gap. Perhaps by writing stories, I can demonstrate that wartime experience is more complicated and nuanced than many realize.

A friend once asked if I was haunted by the war. "No," I replied. "I'm haunted by the peace." I hope my stories go some way toward explaining what that means.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Without Reserve: A Novel of the War on Terror by Steven B. Howery is a military fiction and suspense thriller that follows lawyer and reservist intelligence officer, Captain Chris Gates, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attack in New York. Initially, Gates is followed to Hawaii. But on arrival, he is quickly informed of the role he will play in Singapore, where he is sent in a race against time to try to subvert another planned attack against the United States in the region. He is assigned to work with a local intelligence officer, Captain Jessica Ling, a partner who—as he soon discovers—appears to be as driven and dedicated as he is, especially when it comes to her fascination with apprehending a bomb maker named Khalid...a mission that comes at an incredibly heavy cost.

Without Reserve is a deeply engrossing adventure into the world of counter-terrorism in the earliest days (as far as the general public knew of, at least) of the war on terror. Steven B. Howery writes a narrative that is intelligent and witty, bringing Chris Gates to life almost the moment he is introduced. It's impossible to read this book and not draw comparisons to another famous fictional intelligence hero. That said, Howery writes in a style all his own, and the parallels end almost as soon as we begin to try forming them. The plot and subplots here are thick and the characters are so well developed and human that they might well be having a conversation right in front of you. What makes this book special and sets it apart from the rest in the military thriller genre is that Howery, while clearly knowing a great deal about the mechanics of intelligence, war, and espionage, keeps the story firmly character-driven, and not bogged down by an author showing off their technical chops. This is a phenomenal book. It's absolutely brilliant.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Without Reserve by Steven B. Howery is a risk-taking, action-packed, behind the enemy lines thriller! The day is September 11, 2001. “War never begins the way you’d expect.” On the outskirts of Denver, Chris Gates is out for his morning run. Returning home, preparing for work, Chris turns on the TV and witnesses the coverage of the World Trade Center attacks. In an instant, Chris realizes his civilian life is over; he is going back to war. As an Army Intelligence Reservist, Captain Chris Gates gets called upon again to protect and serve his country. Chris is sent to Singapore to be a “player” in the war on terror. After arriving in Singapore, Chris is introduced to the SID’s Senior Analyst, Jessica Ling. There is an immediate attraction between Chris and Jessica, and soon their relationship evolves into a secret love affair. With Jessica as their control officer, Chris and a hand-picked team of operatives head into the jungle of Indonesia to recover assets with vital Al Qaida information. What began as a simple diplomatic intelligence exchange between Singapore and the US escalates into a terrifying life or death mission for Chris and his team.

Steven B. Howery conveys an untold story regarding the war on terror in Without Reserve. Since 9/11, story after story has been written about the search for Bin Laden and his Al Qaida regime in Afghanistan. The web of jihad extremism stretches far and wide. Without Reserve takes us beyond the borders of Afghanistan, transporting the reader into the heart of southeast Asia. Howery creates vivid word pictures; on page after page, the imagery enhances the setting and the soul of the story. The novel is fueled by heart-pounding action, depicting acts of heroism and patriotism. Warriors are a rare breed; they are strong-willed and at times thought to be reckless with their lives. The hero of Without Reserve is a warrior, an all or nothing individual, intelligent and analytical, fiercely determined to get the job done. Although he seems larger than life, he is vulnerable and cares deeply; these qualities collide with his duty, transforming him into a dynamic character. The internal challenges and the external conflict of the characters create realism within the plot. Full of twists and turns, and a few surprises, Without Reserve doesn’t hold back regarding the pleasure or the pain of valor. Love and war don’t mix well; someone is bound to get hurt. Yet, as Without Reserve so powerfully reveals, without love there is no real reason to fight.

Christian Sia

Without Reserve: A Novel of the War on Terror by Steven B. Howery is an action-packed thriller with strong political themes. Captain Chris Gates of the Army Reserve Intelligence receives a new assignment that plunges him right into the heart of terrorist activities. A new videotape in an al Qa'ida camp contains a plot that may have devastating repercussions - the bombing of US facilities in Southeast Asia - and Gates is tasked to stop this threat. The memories of 9/11 are fresh and the stakes are high. Singapore Intelligence agent Jessica Ling works with Gates to track down the terrorist. With plot twists, Gates is pulled into her world, but things only get more complicated and the final twists make him wonder who to trust.

This is a well-written book with a terrorist theme, skillfully developed and with references to a historical moment that rocked the international political landscape. Steven B. Howery's dialogues are strong and they give a natural flair to the conversation. This is a novel for readers who enjoy strong plot points and sophisticated characters. It has twists that readers won't see coming and deals with themes that will appeal to fans of political and terrorist thrillers. I loved the crispness in language, the beauty in the descriptions and the tension that builds up with characters racing against time to stop a powerful threat. The author grabs the reader's attention and sustains it from one gripping page to the next in exhilarating action. This is an enjoyable read, indeed.