Thursday, November 7, 2013
Welcome Home, Capt Harding by Elliott Mackle
Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Publisher: Lethe Press (Aug. 2013)
Five stars out of five
In this third (of three) novels featuring Captain Joe Harding, a gay Air Force administration officer during the Vietnam era, Joe has finished his tour of duty overseas and is working stateside, assisting one of his mentors assigned as the base commander. Unknown to others there, they also have been given the duty to observe, document and report on any potentially serious misbehavior among the pilots and other officers, a situation that can be dangerous to them if discovered. Adding to the complexity of the situation is that Joe is now able to get together more frequently with his lover, Cotton, the nineteen year old son of an important state department official whom Joe first met when he visited overseas with his mother. Then there is Sam, now a TWA pilot, whom Joe had played with overseas, before he met Cotton.
Joe is given an assignment, to coordinate an important air show at the Northern California base, a seemingly-uncomplicated task that becomes anything but, when a hotshot pilot’s carelessness threatens to make it a deadly disaster. The challenge involves many of Joe’s contacts, both there and overseas, and a bit of trickery, all in the name of safety. It’s an assignment he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
As mentioned, this is the end of a trilogy with this character, although you really do not need to have read any of the earlier novels to thoroughly enjoy this one. As in all of his previous books, Mackle shows his talent for providing realistic, fully-nuanced characters, which drive the story throughout. This action/adventure novel is something you will not want to put down.