reviewers are saying about DESCENDING FROM DUTY
"A crisply-paced military thriller which steams
full speed ahead around Lake Michigan."
– Dave LeMieux, Muskegon Chronicle
“Descending From Duty
is very strongly recommended for its realistic military fiction,
conceptual understanding of the intricate works of national security,
and the threat such an event [the theft of Silversides] would
pose for the nation.”
Midwest Book Review
"This is a wonderful action story...Descending
from Duty is a smooth and exciting read."
– R. Alfred Schneider, Great Lakes
"Those looking for a thriller with a local twist
need look no further than Descending from Duty...This is
well-written, taut and a good read."
– Ann Byle, Grand Rapids Press
“The action and dialog, moving at a crisp clip, are
seasoned with dashes of humor and a hefty ration of political intrigue.
It’s a real page-turner, so don’t start the book an hour before
– Scottie Dayton, Contributing Editor,
Seaways’ Ships in Scale Magazine
“I thoroughly enjoyed the book. As good as
– Dr. Charles Roesch,
Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum board of directors
“Set in Michigan, full of familiar names and
places, Fenzel has written an absorbing, edge-of-your-seat thriller that
you will want to devour in one sitting.”
– Maria E. Schieda,
Michigan Library Association
has managed to weave a seafaring yarn, political intrigue, and a
detective story into one enjoyable read."
- C. Williams Coane, Rear Admiral USN (Ret),
Exec. Director of Naval Reserve Association
“An interesting cast of characters and an unusual story combine for the
kind of excitement that will remind you of Tom Clancy’s classic novel.”
- Alan Caruba, Bookviews.com
“[Descending from Duty] is an exciting book
with an interesting plot which kept me turning page after page.”
- Jonathan Harley, ASTA Race
Director (Tall Ships Challenge)
“Descending from Duty is the perfect
read for those who enjoy mystery and intrigue.”
- Jan Rynearson, Tri-County
“An engaging book! Gripping story line with
heroic characters, suspense, and accurate military detail make
Descending from Duty hard to put down."
- Michael Brown, STS2SS,
Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Whale
“Just completed the reading of your novel and
found it to be quite entertaining...As we say in the Navy: Bravo Zulu!
- E.B. Caraway, Jr,
former LCDR, USNR, fleet-boat submariner and Annapolis alumnus
“Descending from Duty...is an engaging novel.
The great story line and references to local Michigan landmarks really
made the book hard to put down.”
- Barney L. Smith, MSG U.S.
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Duty has received the following special honors by book review
Bookviews.com Pick of the Month
(April, 2006) Book reviewer Alan Caruba sifts through
a multitude of books each month from large and small
publishers alike. From this vast array of titles he
posts his top picks on his website. It's quite an
honor to have my book posted alongside "the big guys" of the
Independent Publisher Highlighted
Title - Independent Publisher is a book publishing and
review organization that receives hundreds of titles for
review each month. Of these submissions only a few are
selected as Highlighted Titles. This
distinction is made for books
"exhibiting superior levels of creativity, originality, high
standards of design and superior production quality."
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What would happen if an armed
submarine prowled the Great Lakes? I asked myself this question while
touring USS Silversides, a World War II submarine now on display at
the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum in Muskegon, Michigan. The
thought occurred to me because Silversides is kept in remarkable
condition. Her hull paint is fresh, her teakwood deck refurbished, her
brass polished. Every Memorial Day her Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines
are fired up and she rumbles in the channel, alive again.
I talked with museum staff and
volunteers about the boat, picked their brains about her. I researched
fleet submarines and their capabilities. I dug into the types of Coast
Guard vessels that patrol the Michigan coast. I discovered the
existence of a treaty signed with Canada that forbids “warships” from
traversing the Great Lakes. I put it all together and realized that if
Silversides was out there, armed and dangerous, it would be a big
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SETTING AND PEOPLE
With an intriguing premise in mind I
began to work on the framework of a story. Given the plot idea the
default setting would be Michigan. That made me happy because I’d
wanted to write a regional novel for some time. Having lived in the
Wolverine state most of my life I knew it had a lot to offer in the way
of setting: Three thousand miles of coastline, the ocean-like expanse
of the Great Lakes, the Victorian charm of Mackinac Island, the
frequent parade of Tall Ships around the Lower Peninsula, the urban
grit of Detroit, the laid-back resort-feel of west coast towns. I used
As far as characters, Michigan has its
share of high profile residents too: Kid Rock, Eminem, Bob Seager, Henry
Ford, Jeff Daniels, Madonna, Elmore Leonard, etc., etc. However, the
name that sparked an idea was Gerald R. Ford, former U.S. President. A
political angle. I felt those cogs in my heard turning. My key story
elements were taking shape.
WHAT’S THE STORY
I had a premise I liked and wanted a
strong story to go with it. It had to be more than a through line with
flash-bang action. With a former president as a lead character I got to
thinking about the people that would be around him. Secret Service of
course. I wondered about that, about what protecting agents thought of
their protectees, about the relationship that might develop in such a
situation. Dylan Reese was born.
Dylan Reese is the lead agent of
former president Warren McCallum’s security detail. Dylan admires
McCallum, not just because of his popular two term tour in the Oval
Office, but for the man he sees in private retirement. His sense of
duty to protect McCallum is strengthened by this relationship, but there
is a problem. Six years prior Dylan was nearly killed in an
assassination attempt on McCallum. Dylan has had six years to ponder
his near-death experience, and with all that thinking his confidence has
faltered. He’s begun to doubt his ability to put himself in the line of
fire for the president a second time.
While Dylan battles his confidence crisis, McCallum is being
haunted by a phantom from his past. Someone is sending him angry
letters, dredging up dark history that nobody should know about.
Determined to keep the past in the shadows, McCallum conceals news of
the letters from Dylan. But ignoring these anonymous threats becomes
harder to do when Silversides goes missing from her berth and
people start dying.
Every good hero needs a strong partner, and Dylan has FBI Special Agent
Rebecca Matthis. Coming off a high profile kidnapping case that
has given her unwanted notoriety, Rebecca is dispatched to the Resident
Agency office in Grand Rapids to allow a media frenzy to simmer. Upon arrival,
however, she is assigned to investigate the disappearance of
Silversides. Tenacious and brusque, not to mention beautiful,
Rebecca sifts through sparse clusters of evidence and pieces together
what she believes is an ambitious assassination plot. When she
learns Dylan is thinking along the same lines they team up to uncover
who is out there terrorizing the Great Lakes, and who the next target
Of course there wouldn't be a problem for my heroes and heroines if not
for the villain, and he is found in the person of Owen Keyes.
Keyes is a former U.S. submarine commander with an immense chip on his
shoulder. Obsessed by re-written history, he has orchestrated a
complex scheme to correct the books regardless the cost. Keyes has
hand-picked a brood of mercenaries to implement his plan with all the
subtly of a sledgehammer, and will stop at nothing to see justice, his
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