John Ringo has mostly been known for writing science fiction and fantasy style novels, but with “Ghost” he opens another door as he steps into military fiction and even erotica.
“Ghost” is a collection of three short stories that follow the exploits of a retired Navy SEAL named Michael Harmon.
Mike is in his mid-thirties and retired from ‘the teams’ due to the large amount of wear and tear on his body from fifteen years of service. He decided to go back to college and has found that it isn’t to his taste. The ultra-liberal environment is frustrating Mike to no end and he finds his darker nature beginning to take hold on him. Mike earned the call sign Ghost for his ability to blend into the background and become invisible and it is while he’s exercising this talent that he stumbles into a terrorist plot to kidnap college coeds and rape and murder them one at the time on television for the whole world to see.
Mike finds himself alone against the terrorists and it becomes clear that they are the ones in trouble. As the story follows him from the University of Georgia to Syria, as he faces down the terrorists and holds them off until the cavalry can arrive. I don’t want to give anything away about the rest of the book (or the books to follow in the series), but his heroic exploits lead him from there to yachting in the Florida Keyes and the Caribbean to jetting all over Europe in pursuit of a nuclear bomb.
Mike is not a perfect hero. He has a dark side which comes out often in the book. His sexual tastes run from the normal to “kinky” to down right sadistic at times, and there are a number of times when he laments that his current lifestyle may mean he never gets to “kill bad guys” anymore (he should know better). It is this darkness in him that makes him both interesting and sympathetic as a character. The reader watches as he battles his inner demons so that he can do the right thing. It is this battle, more than the fire fights he is involved in, that makes him the hero, stopping the bad guys and protecting the innocent is just a by product of him controlling his own monsters inside him and focusing them on doing what he considers right.
It is John Ringo’s ability to create believable characters that allows the reader to suspend disbelief at some of the incredible situations we find Mike getting into and enjoy the story. It is also worth noting that this book has been recognized not only for it’s action but also for its erotic content as Ringo takes us “behind the bedroom door” with Mike’s character as he teaches some vacationing college girls a thing or two about themselves and the nature of sexual relations.
I highly recommend “Ghost”. It is a fun read with interesting characters. The way it is broken up into short stories also allows the reader to take it in pieces or as a whole, whichever they are in the mood for. Be prepared, the book is full of violence, gore, and sex, so don’t say you weren’t warned! “Ghost” has recently been released in paper back or you can get it digitally from www.baen.com and check out the other books in John Ringo’s “Paladin of Shadows” series, you won’t regret it!