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Reviewed by Tom Gauthier for Readers' Favorite
Zero Two Hundred Hours by Eric Wentz is a ticking time bomb of action in the maelstrom of the worldwide war on terror now zeroing in on Guantanamo Bay. Navy Seal Grant Chisolm has fewer and fewer options as the clock runs toward 0200 and the specter of a chaotic, deadly, bloody Al-Qaeda promise coming true. With a prolog flashback to the underpinnings of the terrorist mind, to AD 605 in the deserts of Arabia masterfully described, death descended out of the darkness and raiders whirled in on their camels and horses, striking the encampment. The Bedouin tents flapped and fell upon the slaughtered like shrouds. One man dropped to the sand, headless before his tent, as his wife screamed in childbirth and her own death…. The reader is drawn into the intensity and the roots of the twisted psychology that faces the fighters of radical Islamic terror today. And, most importantly, of what is to come for the reader of this fine story. What the protagonist endures and masters at the highest levels of intrigues are well delineated throughout the plot.
Eric Wentz brings us a gripping tale steeped in truth, based on fact, and delivered like the staccato of a machine gun, but not all just blood and guts. His expert guidance through the world of terrorism in the guise of religion, the splintered leadership of nations around the globe, mixed in with the physical, mental, and spiritual challenges thrust upon the elite fighting forces united against evil, places us exactly where fans of suspense and action novels want to be. My review reflects my own background as a behavioral psychologist, writer, reviewer, my military service as an intelligence specialist, and worldwide travel experiences into chaotic countries in war. It was a delicious experience for me to read his work and a privilege to reflect on it and recommend it to fans of suspense based on accuracy, deep analysis, and good old-fashioned writing skills.
Eric Wentz conjures up his own experiences as an intelligence officer, interrogator, and linguist to wrestle us into the darkest regions of the human psyche as he lays bare the interactions of cultures and ideologies in a dangerous trifecta of contempt, respect, and distrust. Wentz delivers the deadly dance of his characters, SEAL LCDR Chisholm, the Cuban military adversary, and the blind followers of Allah personified in the mysterious Moustafa Arins Riat al-Haj, prisoner #9696, in the most suspenseful, deadly accurate, up-close descriptions we could ask for. At every level, from the background of Islamists in the 7th century, through the special ops battles in the Middle East, to the intrigues of the Guantanamo prisoner interactions – and the climactic battles – Eric Wentz is to be praised for his research, accurate analysis, and delivery of this well-wrought story. My highest praise and my thanks to Eric Wentz for this reading journey. He’s made a new fan of me.