Friday, December 16, 2011

Sometimes it's OK to rip up a book in the middle of Wal-Mart, I guess...

One of my down-the-road neighbors broadened my horizons earlier today when he introduced me to his favorite author in an unexpected way.

Before calling it a day, I swung into the local Wal-Mart to pick up a copy of today’s Mobile Press-Register. I don’t go into Wal-Mart often, so I swung over to the book and magazine aisle for a little window shopping.

While I’m standing there, a retiree who lives about a mile from my house rounds the corner and begins looking over the books as well. I have to admit that I don’t know him very well, but he’s a pleasant, nice enough fellow. We often exchange a few words if he’s standing outside when I jog by his house.

“You like books, eh?” he asked me today.

“Yes, sir,” I said. “It’s really about the only hobby that I have.”

“What sort of stuff do you read?” he asked as he adjusted his black, Korean War Veteran cap.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “A little bit of everything.”

He scanned the shelves for a few seconds and then picked up a nice, new paperback. “This guy’s my favorite,” he said, showing me a copy of Dale Brown’s 2010 novel, “Executive Intent.”

He goes on to tell me that he’s been hooked on Dale Brown’s books ever since he read “Flight of the Old Dog,” which was published in 1987. He summarizes the plot of the book as we stand there, and he tells me that I should check it out.

“I hate to say that I’ve never read anything by Dale Brown,” I tell him as we stand there in the aisle.

“He’s written lots of books,” he said. “And they’re all pretty good.” To demonstrate, he opens the cover of the paperback and shows me the first page, which lists all of Dale Brown’s books. Suddenly and without warning, he rips the page right out of the book and hands it to me.

I kind of laugh and all that I could really think of to say was, “You’re going to buy that, right?”

“Yep,” he said, tossing the book into this buggy. He readjusted his hat once more and then disappeared around the corner with a good-natured smile.

When I got home, I examined the torn page more closely to see if I recognized any of the titles or if any of them had been made into movies.

By my count, Brown, age 55, has written or co-written 36 novels. What follows is a complete list of his books in order of publication.

- Flight of the Old Dog (1987)

- Silver Tower (1988)

- Day of the Cheetah (1989)

- Hammerheads (1990)

- Sky Masters (1991)

- Night of the Hawk (1992)

- Chains of Command (1993)

- Storming Heaven (1994)

- Shadow of Steel (1996)

- Fatal Terrain (1997)

- The Tin Man (1998)

- Battle Born (1999)

- Warrior Class (2001)

- Wings of Fire (2002)

- Air Battle Force (2003)

- Plan of Attack (2004)

- Edge of Battle (2006)

- Act of War (2005)

- Strike Force (2007)

- Shadow Command (2008)

- Rogue Forces (2009)

- Executive Intent (2010)

- A Time for Patriots (2011)

Brown is also well known for his “Dreamland” series of novels, which he co-wrote with author Jim DeFelice. The novels in that series include:

- Dreamland (2001)

- Nerve Center (2002)

- Razor's Edge (2002)

- Piranha (2003)

- Strike Zone (2004)

- Armageddon (2004)

- Satan's Tail (2005)

- End Game (2006)

- Retribution (2007)

- Revolution (2008)

- Whiplash (2009)

- Black Wolf (2010)

- Raven Strike (2011)

In the end, how many of you out there are Dale Brown fans? How many of his books have you read? Which did you like or dislike and why? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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