“The Command”

David Poyer

Unlike so many writers of military fiction, David Poyer manages to have a continuing character – Dan Lenson – who changes and grows from book to book. That, and the air of authenticity that Poyer generates (thanks to his own years in the navy), distinguishes the Lenson books from the likes of Dan Brown and Tom Clancy.

This book finds Lenson dealing with a divided crew learning to cope with gender integration aboard a destroyer on a Read Sea deployment. Interesting characters and situations combined with a gripping climax involving a terrorist nuclear device make this one stand out from the pack.

“Black Storm”

David Poyer

This is another story about navel officer Dan Lenson. Poyer’s earlier novels about Lensen had an aura of authenticity, but this is just another special ops in the Gulf War tale. Poyer puts Lenson in a group of Marines along with a crazy killer SAS officer and a female biological warfare doctor. They’re given the job of finding an unknown weapon of mass destruction in the heart of Baghdad. All the hackneyed Gulf War novel plot elements are present: team discovered by wandering child shepherd, characters tortured by mustached Iraqis, and so on.

It’s not a bad story in itself, and the team’s passage through the Baghdad sewers is suspenseful, but compared to the earlier books about Lenson, it’s a disappointment Poyer was just going through the motions when he wrote this one.