Walter Ihlefield,
Controlled Conclusion
(PageFree, 2002)

Controlled Conclusion is the second in a series of mystery novels involving Mitchell Parks. If you read the first novel, Banshee Rising, you will better understand the characters and history leading up to this book.

Two years have passed since we last heard from Parks, former SEAL, codename: Banshee. He has been promoted to police chief of Bridgeway, Va. He and his partner, Det. Dana Warren, have married and settled into a quiet, comfortable life in the small town. They are planning a trip to Kentucky to attend the wedding of Parks' closest friend and former SEAL team member, Owen "Hawk" Taggart.

The adventure quickly begins when two federals arrive with the news that Hawk has been murdered. The killer left a list of names in his pocket -- all former SEALS -- with Mitchell Parks at the top. His brother, Michael, codename: Truck, has also made the list. Mitchell must scramble to find his brother, an explosives expert who disappeared upon returning from Vietnam, before the unknown killer does.

Different family members in different regions of the country raised these brothers after their parents were killed in an automobile accident. Yet each has felt his Lakota blood call and has learned the Way of the Warrior. While Mitchell had the benefit of formal Lakota training by his grandfather, Michael has reached his through individual seeking. Both are formidable opponents for the best-trained assassins.

Mitchell is reinstated to his position as lieutenant with the Navy and heads up the search for the killer, assisted by a hand-picked squad of the teams' best current SEALS. He locates each former SEAL on the list and they work to develop plans to catch this assassin before he strikes again.

Walter Ihlefield has again produced a spectacular masterpiece of action and mystery. I read this book with the critical eye of a former "spec ops" troop and found nothing negative. The facts are on the money and he has produced a well-researched, entirely credible novel. The characters are what you would expect from former SEALS, especially the Parks brothers -- both dealing with nightmares and the guilt of lost team members. The women are dealing with their own issues of love and admiration pitted against confusion and lack of understanding.

Ihlefield has a special knack for layering the plot with several subplots. He keeps your interest peaked and your fingers turning the pages. He is consistent with books that force you to read the entire story before putting them down.

I expect this series to continue for a long time simply due to the demands of readers. Ihlefield is especially open to the desires of his audience and will be kept busy by those of us that demand to know what happens next with the Banshee.

If you like a good murder mystery, have an interest in Native American culture or need a new hardcore veteran hero, this book is a must read. Order your copy right away. You will not be disappointed!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 26 July 2003

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