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Monday, February 4, 2013

North S*A*R: A Novel of Navy Combat Pilots in Vietnam by Gerry Carrol

Published in 1991 by Pocket Books

A-7 Corsair attack bomber during the Vietnam War
This first novel by a high school friend of Tom Clancy concerns two U.S. Navy pilots named Mike Santy and Tim Boyle who are best friends serving during the late stages of the Vietnam War. They serve off of the coast of North Vietnam. Santy is a pilot of an A-7 Corsair attack bomber and regularly flies bombing missions over North Vietnam. Boyle flies a Sikorsky HH-3A Sea King Combat SAR helicopter. His job is to rescue downed pilots, both in the water and in North Vietnam.

The book is a pretty typical war story novel featuring pilots reminding me quite a bit of Stephen Coonts' earlier novel Flight of the Intruder. The story is solid. There is plenty of detail and jargon but not so much that the reader is overwhelmed. The story is paced a bit slow at first, but the end is very strong, assuming that the reader can overlook the overwhelming coincidence the brings the two buddies together at the climax of the story.

Sikorsky HH-3A Sea King Combat SAR helicopter during the
Vietnam War
Tom Clancy put a blurb on the front of this book saying that "this is the best first novel I have ever read." That's an overstatement, considering how many fantastic first novels there have been, such as The Hobbit or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or The Big Sleep or Frankenstein.

So, how do I rate this first novel.

I was going to rate this book 3 stars out of 5 but when I realized that I read through the final big moments of the book and nearly made myself late to work I had to bump it up to 4 stars. After all, it drug me into another world and wouldn't let me go - isn't that what a good book does?

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: North SAR: A Novel of Navy Combat Pilots in Vietnam

Reviewed on February 4, 2013.

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