Walter Ihlefield,
Banshee Rising
(Xlibris, 2001)

Banshee Rising is one of those books that you cannot put down until you have reached the end. It is a first book by Walter Ihlefield, but demand by readers for a series brought the release of a second, Controlled Conclusion, in 2002. Ihlefield is currently working on the third, soon to be released.

This book introduces us to police officer Mitchell Parks of Bridgeway, Va. He is a Vietnam-era Navy SEAL, codename Banshee. When his parents died, he went to live with his grandfather, a Lakota warrior. He was taught the Way of the Warrior and has practiced the art throughout his life. By calling upon Chameleon, he can become invisible. By calling upon Pegasus, he can float and fly. To him, this is simply the way of his people.

When Parks purchases an old home, the adventure begins. He learns that he has a ghost living upstairs. Not one to flinch from the Spirit World, he ventures up to meet her. She is a gorgeous 16-year-old with flaming red hair and a warm smile. She tells him that she has been waiting for him to come. He will settle the matter of her death.

Parks quickly involves his partner and lover, Det. Dana Warren, in the matter. They discover that the girl's entire family disappeared without a trace. Worse still, this man was a former Navy SEAL himself. It becomes more than a police matter to Parks; it is a matter of brotherhood.

In the course of the investigation, Parks runs head-on into one of his team members, Owen "Hawk" Taggart, now employed by the Kentucky State Police. They have not seen each other since Parks left the SEALS and they're eager to join forces in solving the mystery and setting this young girl's spirit to rest.

This story will keep you turning the pages and trying to guess the end. Several subplots are interlaced to keep you completely immersed in the lives of the characters. The strong female character will appeal to most women readers, while the tough former SEALs will rivet any veteran's attention.

The plot moves smoothly along at a brisk pace, with great attention to detail. The end brings a satisfactory closure and answers all the questions about whodunit. The dialogue is splendid and reveals much about the characters' inner feelings. The author usually shows instead of telling, the most important quality of a great writer.

The only negative point I could find to this book is entirely grammatical. The story is outstanding and thrilled me. I read it without even refilling my coffee. I kept glancing at the cup and thinking, "Just a few more pages." But there are many obvious grammatical errors that should have been caught during proofreading. The author has a tendency to hit the "i" when he needs the "o," resulting in moments of blurred clarity, especially when it should read "of," not "if." Only tiny mistakes, they have a numbing effect and snap you right out of the action and back to the reality that this is only a fictional story.

This book is a wonderful beginning for what I hope will become an extensive series. The author is extremely responsive to his readers and I really feel that fact will keep this series alive. I have the second book and cannot wait to get the third. If you like a good mystery or have an interest in Native American culture or Irish folklore (hint, hint: the ghost has flaming red hair), order a copy of this book today!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 17 May 2003

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