I’m a fan of David Baldacci’s Camel Club series, and I haven’t read one of his books with my eyes, but I’ve listened to them on unabridged audio books while driving. In fact, I’ve been listening to audio book for decades. I also read tree books at home. I’d like to read more e-books but the two Kindles I have bought keep telling me that I’m not who I am and won’t let me read the books I buy.
The Camel Club has four members who are obsessively loyal to each other, and if the group has a leader, it’s the man who goes by the name of Oliver Stone. His real name is John Carr and before he was reborn as Oliver Stone, he served in the US military and is a combat veteran who was recruited by the CIA to become a US government assassin—maybe the best assassin that ever lived, but as Oliver Stone he is a thorn in the side of men in the government who abuse their power.
Baldacci never served in the U.S. Military but that has not stopped me from enjoying his novels. The reason I enjoy these books is because John Carr aka Oliver Stone is a man with a conscience, and he is loyal to those who are loyal to him. He will die to protect his friends.
To date, I’ve listened to three of the five books in this series: “The Camel Club,” “Hell’s Corner,” and now “Divine Justice”. The remaining two are on my—to listen to or read list—“The Collectors” and “Stone Cold”.
In “Divine Justice,” John Carr (aka: Oliver Stone) has become the most wanted man in America after he assassinates a powerful senator and America’s intelligence chief—these are the men who destroyed his life by murdering his wife years earlier and then taking his young daughter from him.
After the two-shot assassinations—one shot for each target—Carr is on the run. To escape, he takes an Amtrak train toward New Orleans, but his plans change drastically when he comes to the assistance of a young man who is being beat up by three bullies. Carr beats up the bullies and then befriends the young man, who seems to have a huge unfriendly chip on his shoulder.
This takes Carr to the remote coal-mining town of Divine, Virginia where he finds himself once again helping the victims of evil, powerful and corrupt men, but Carr also finds unexpected love—giving him a second chance at life—that is if he can stay alive and protect the woman he has fallen in love with, because she is a target too.
But Oliver Stone is not alone. The other members of the Camel Club are coming to help by shadowing Joe Knox, the government agent who has been sent to find Carr and deliver him to his executioner.
Will the Camel Club make it in time to save Stone/Carr? I’m not going to spoil the story, but I will recommend this series of books if you enjoy thriller-suspense novels that I think will keep you wanting more.
His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.
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Less than one percent of Americans currently serve in the US Military defending their nation and fighting for its interests in foreign lands. Between 1964 – 1968, I was one of those troops serving for America wearing the uniform. I put my life on the line just like the others that wore similar uniforms in the US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
In 1964, I joined the US Marines and went to boot camp at MCRD in San Diego, California. While I was in boot camp, the Tonkin Gulf Incident took place and President L. B. Johnson used this as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam, where I served in 1966. I came home with a bad case of PTSD and still suffer from it. I cannot sleep without weapons close at hand. One of those weapons is a seven-inch bowie knife with a razor sharp blade. Another is a 38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver loaded with hollow points. Remove the weapons, I cannot sleep. Every night sound brings back memories of Vietnam.
In Vietnam, my battalion, while it was there during the war, took 50% casualties and earned a Presidential Unit Citation.
I often ask myself, who did I sacrifice for? Why did I put my life on the line and who did I put my life on the line for?
I’ll tell you. Out of patriotism, I served to defend the American way of life—the freedoms this country provides and the opportunities offered by a capitalist, consumer economy that is supposed to reward merit and hard work.
My wife was born in China. She experienced severe hunger during the famine of the Great Leap Forward (1959 – 1961) and she lived through the insanity of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966 -1976). In the mid 1980s, she came to the United States on a student Visa, earned an MFA from the Chicago Art Institute and went on to write her memoir, which became a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. As an immigrant and a naturalized US citizen she benefited from what America had to offer to all immigrants and citizens that live and hopefully work here.
Therefore, I served in the US Marines and fought in a war to preserve the right of immigrants to come to the United States and succeed. Since less than 2% of the US population are North American Natives, that means 98% of the population in America are either descended of immigrants or immigrants.
According to Index Mundi in 2012, 79.96% of Americans are white, 12.85% are black, 4.43% are Asian and 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic (Latino). Note – there is a separate listing for Hispanic since the origin may be white, black, Asian, etc.
For example, I fought for Jessica Sanchez (age 16), so she could have a chance at the American dream. Her father, a Mexican-American born in Texas and a US citizen served in the US Navy and wore the uniform, so he also served for his daughter and others just like her.
In fact, Jessica’s grandfather (a Filipino), who wasn’t a US citizen, joined the US Navy and wore the uniform. When a Navy transport carried my battalion from Okinawa to Vietnam in 1966, Jessica’s grandfather could have been serving on the crew of that ship. In addition, the United States, out of gratitude, offers citizenship to foreign nationals that serve in the American military and are willing to fight and even die for this country.
If you do not know who Jessica Sanchez is, I’ll tell you. She started singing at the age of two and her dream is to become a professional singer. For fourteen years, she competed until she became a finalist at the age of 16 on Season 11 of American Idol where she came in second place losing out on $300,000 and a guaranteed recording contract.
Another young American, a white boy, may have cheated Jessica from achieving her dream. In fact, this other young American who never wore the uniform, may have cheated others out a chance to win too, because he claims that he is responsible for the person that won the contest. He admits that he rigged it and he did it legally because there is no law against what he did.
The American military is not a white-man’s club. In January 1948, President Truman ended segregation in the armed forces. The most decorated unit in the US military during World War II was the 442nd Infantry Regiment—the Nisei, Japanese-Americans born in the United States. This unit became the most highly-decorated regiment in the history of the US Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients.
In fact, during World War II, over 250,000 to over 400,000 Filipinos served/fought in the US military. In addition, the US army reported in an Army Profile in September 2005, that 17.4% of the troops were female, 60.8% were white; 21.6% were black (African-American); 10.5% were Hispanic (Latino), and 4% were Asian. Source: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/docs/demographics/FY05%20Army%20Profile.pdf
The US even offers citizenship to foreign nationals that serve in the US military because so many Americans are not willing to serve or are not qualified for one reason or another.
However, one white boy is so proud of being the creator of “Vote for the Worst.com” that he boasted on his site, “We did it, Worsters! 132 million votes were cast last night, and in the end, we helped the fifth straight white guy with a guitar win American Idol… we succeeded yet again and helped make sure Pinoybot Jessica Sanchez was left in the loser’s circle.”
The week before, only 90 million votes were cast to decide who the final 2 would be.
This white boy’s name is David Della Terza, and he launched “Vote for the Worst.com” in 2004. To discover his alleged influence rigging votes on American Idol and other TV talent contests, it helps to understand that an active Website-Blog often doubles its viewers annually, and a recent Alexa Ranking shows that Terza’s infamous Blog is ranked in the top .01% of all global Website and Blogs.
For a comparison, we will use my iLook China.net Blog. In 2010 (the first year), there were 28,341 total views; in 2011, there were 126,557. So far in 2012, there have been 95,050. The average per day views in 2010 were 84 with 347 for 2011, and 645 for 2012 (that number could go up or down before the end of the year).
At my iLook China.net Blog, daily views increased by 400% in 2011 over 2010. So far, in 2012, daily views have increased by about 180%, and there have been almost a quarter-million total views since the January 2010 launch.
If we use the conservative estimate that a Blog’s views will double each year and use the same number that iLook China saw in its first year, then “Vote for the Worst.com”, since it has been active for eight years, may have reached more than seven million views annually or more than 20,000 a day, and those numbers could be much higher.
If a white boy uses the media (a Website or Blog is media when it reaches these numbers) and called an African American by the “N” word, what kind of reaction would result?
One talented contestant that was voted off the week before the final round was Joshua Ledet, and I believed he was so good that he was a contender for first place. How would many in America react if David Della Terza’s ‘Vote for the Worst.com’ had posted, “We succeeded yet again and helped make sure ‘N-word’ Joshua Ledet was left in the loser’s circle.”?
How is that different from calling Jessica Sanchez, a Hispanic-American born in Chula Vista, California, a Pinoybot as he gloats that he rigged the vote on a popular TV talent show such as American Idol and possibly cheated her out of several hundred thousand dollars and a recording contract that might be worth millions?
The reason why I wore that uniform and put my life on the line was not for someone like David Della Terza.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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