Plot: The initial tech-heavy prologue sets the stage for the characters and the situations to follow, but the author would do well to work this information into the storyline itself, helping to engage the reader more while introducing the characters immediately.
Prose/Style: The writing here is excellent, with good attention to detail and grammar accompanied by strong dialogue and description. The author is able to invoke a sense of urgency within the reader as the plot unfolds.
Originality: This is a complex and highly original work, where the author has created an entirely new world in great detail.
Character Development/Execution: The author has created vivid and distinct characters that the reader will find memorable.
Date Submitted: May 02, 2021
Ben Wyporek is the Executive Officer, or ‘XO’, of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter, Kauai, a highly capable and well respected officer who, despite his tender years, leads by example. His ship, newly refitted and kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment after the escapades it and its crew went through in book one of author Edward M. Hochsmann’s series (First Contact), is about to be selected for another top secret mission that has huge ramifications for the future of mankind. This time the action revolves around another boat, the Carlos Rojas, which has inadvertently become a pawn in a violent game between two warring violent organized crime gangs, the powerful 252 Syndicate and the sadistic, unpredictable, and unbelievably dangerous Salinas cartel. The problem for Wyporek, and indeed the world, is that stowed aboard the Carlos Rojas is a piece of alien technology that, in the wrong hands, could completely threaten the very future of the planet.
ENGAGE AT DAWN: Seize and Destroy sees Wyporek, under the guidance of his Commanding Officer Sam Powell, lead the Kauai into the perilous waters around the Caribbean island of Barbello to recover the Carlos Rojas and its vitally important cargo. Wyporek and Powell are not alone though, the crew of the Kauai are all along for the ride too, with the full support of a U.S. Navy SEAL team and the backing of the U.S. government, who must ensure the mission is a success without knowledge of their interactions with the alien species becoming public knowledge. This component is one of the story’s real strengths. As the narrative dives deeper into the shady dealings and operations of the 252 Syndicate and the Salinas cartel and the perilous nature of the Kauai’s mission, bubbling away beneath the surface is the story of the power dynamics between human civilization and the aliens. This shifting dynamic and political intrigue adds a welcome and engaging layer to proceedings. Another intriguing and really enjoyable strand revolves around Wyporek’s blossoming relationship with Victoria Carpenter, a young Data Scientist working for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Carpenter suffers from a mild form of Autism, and her side of the courtship is intriguingly and compassionately told, particularly as the true danger of the mission Wyporek finds himself on is revealed. So enjoyable is this element of the story that you find yourself wishing more time was devoted to the relationship.It also takes some time for the action to really develop. Hochsmann meticulously lines up the story and there’s a lot of very technical information delivered. Some readers will of course relish this attention to detail, but others looking for an out-and-out adventure story may wish some of this was pruned and the plot revolving around the Kauai’s mission to capture the Carlos Rojas was brought forward. As the Kauai closes in on Barbello, readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats, rooting for Wyporek and his crew as they once again come toe-to-toe with some truly horrendous foes.The second book in Edward M. Hochsmann’s series charting the adventures of Ben Wyporek and the crew of the Kauai, ENGAGE AT DAWN: Seize and Destroy sees more high stakes encounters with extraterrestrials, and a dangerous mission to stop the aliens’ technology from falling into the wrong hands in engaging, original and imaginative story with a very cinematic feel.