Kit Up!

Summer Books -- Tactical Edition

It occurred to the Kit Up! staff that as the Dog Days of summer approach, some of our readers might be looking for some written entertainment to while away the hours soaking up rays, watching the kids bury you in sand or sipping a Mai Tai on the veranda.

So we put together a list of books that we thought you'd like. One thing to note...Kit Up! is a big fan of the digital environment -- for obvious reasons. We like books in Kindle, iPad and Nook format and also tend to eat our tomes in a digital audio screed (unabridged always) as well. So while we won't necessarily state whether or not the book is available digitally, suffice to say it's been a long time since we've cracked a real one open.

Since I'm the editor, I'll take the plunge first with a list of a few books that I'm either reading now (I tend to have a couple in the cooker), have read and suggest strongly or plan to read before the summer's out. Please feel free to comment on the selections and share your own. After the KU writers have shared their ideas, we'll do a top ten from our readers as well.

Editor's List:

  • Day by Day Armageddon, by J.L. Bourne -- Our friends the Mad Duo turned me on to the whole zombie genre with this book by naval aviator (nom de plum) J.L. Bourne. It's written in a journal style about his fictional experiences evading and confronting the undead who are infected with a virus sprung from China. I'm not sure I'm sold on the counter-zombie thing, but it seems this is an increasingly popular plot arc and it tends to appeal to my survivalist strain. It's short, a quick read and darned entertaining.
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For, by Eric Blehm --- Based on the recommendation of a fellow Military.com employee, this nonfiction work about the Special Forces team that helped smuggle Hamid Karzai into Afghanistan and defend him in the Taliban heartland is pretty damned good. As Kit Up! readers know, I spent some time down in Bragg for an assignment and it was my first time spending any appreciable amount of time with SF operators. It was an eye opener and this book really helps establish the baseline for modern Special Forces skills and personality. I'm only part way through it at this point, but loving every word of it.
  •  No Man's Land, by Eric L. Haney --- Famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) for his illuminating book Inside Delta Force, this is former Delta plank owner Haney's first crack at fiction. I like Eric a lot -- he helped me on some stories back in my Army Times days -- and I'm excited that he's found a niche as a writer. No Man's Land is predictable but fun. It's got a lot of cool gear descriptions and some realistic action. But by far the most entertaining part are the characters. Haney's got the archetypal personalities spot on -- and as you read, you find yourself rooting for them.
  • Fault Line, by Barry Eisler --- My wife heard this guy interviewed on NPR a while back and suggested I take a look. I was hooked from minute one. Sure is a bit "Jason Bourne" in its indestructibility, but Eisler does a good job weaving in detail, suspense and technical savvy to make up this "beach vacation" thriller. One note of warning: I liked this book so much I bought Inside Out when I finished Fault Line. While Eisler steers clear of the pedantic Bush Bashing so prevalent in last decade war-related thrillers in Fault Line, he slathers it on like he's trying to prove something to his Hollywood hobnobbers in Inside Out...be forewarned if this kind of thing turns your nose (which it does mine).
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