A World At War Just Like It Was Yesterday: HAWSER – A Review

HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

To one who considers some of his favorite literary works to be those about World War II – SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and CATCH 22 being the obvious ones – the war seems to be very present for me, when in fact it is now eighty years in our past. With it now so far removed from us, and with the space filled in by so many countless other wars, it really is quite an accomplishment that author J Hardy Carroll was able to bring the period back to us in such a vivid and entertaining way.

HAWSER, our selection for Volume 3 of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review (IABS&R), is a finely weaved, fascinating tale of Hawser (don’t bother asking him his real name) as he recounts his time as a B-17 bombardier during the Allies’s bombing campaign against the Germans.

We meet Hawser in a prisoner of war camp and it is from there he recounts for us all that has happened to him in the war before that point. We learn how he washed out as a pilot to become a bombardier, how he had to abandon his unit because of a murder, how he was abandoned as a child, how he met his arch nemesis, how he became trained in subversive warfare, how he became an expert bombardier, how he became burnt out and disillusioned by the war, and finally, how he tragically became a Nazi prisoner. From there we pick things back up from the present time in the story and we go along with him until the book’s conclusion.

Within that very rough sketch that I just laid out of the novel, there are so many – too many some may argue – different plot twists and sub plots filled with suspense and murder and love and passion and discovery and deceit along the way that several times throughout the course of my reading the book I had to stop to marvel at Carroll’s ability to manage it all so seamlessly and with such intrigue, all the while bringing out some of the larger and more poignant lessons learned from the war: mainly of the incalculable death and psychological and material devastation that the war wrought across the entire globe, as well as teaching us – or reminding us – that war isn’t always honorable and that not all people go to war to be heroes…some go to war simply because they want to kill.

And I was equally impressed with all the military and war jargon with which Carroll was able to flavor the story. It it his description of the B-17s and all their guns and ammunition and flight formations, and his knowledge of England during the war and its pastoral settings and its pubs and its quirky dialects that truly bring the story to life. Now I don’t know how much research Carroll had to do – my guess is a lot – and I don’t know how much of the detail he writes in the story is accurate – my guess is all of it – but I don’t really care. I don’t care because it all seems so real and so accurate that it significantly enhanced the story’s ability to pull me into that zen-like space of blissful verisimilitude.

In the end, the only flaws to be found with the book are in its ambition and achievement. At times the sub plots pull back the tempo of the story and I never really felt that there was that one thing, that one element of the story that had enough heft to bring an immediacy, an urgency of discovery, from the beginning to the end of the tale. But I see that more as a good problem for an Indie Author to have, as it is always better to have too much material to work with than not enough.

So I say congratulations and thank you to J Hardy Carroll for writing such a powerful story that both entertains and reminds us just how much effort and expense throughout history we silly humans have invested in our seemingly never ending quest to kill and conquer each other.







So what do you think of this new description for Hercules Gone Mad that I’ve been working on?

So, about this new HGM description…it’s been long overdue. The last one (first one) was rather bare-boned and relied more on its association with the Heroes of Dystopia intro than on any deeper meaningful description of the book.

So, I decided to put some meat on its bones, so to speak. Check it out below and let me know what you think in the comment section please.




The man they call Hercules, a handle bestowed upon him while an elite warrior in the former military of the former leading World Power, struggles to maintain his sanity in a world no longer known to him, a world no longer known to anyone who has managed to survive the brutal collapse of its established order, or who is so unfortunate as to be immune to the bloody disease that has decimated the global population, or who has been captured, caged, and commoditized within a system formerly known as slavery but now is known as the market of human capital.

However, it is not the insanity that has befallen the ruined world that is tormenting and degrading the former warrior’s mind – what is eating at his sanity is the suffering from the disgrace that has befallen him. For it is his belief that he has committed the most heinous act a military man of honor and integrity could possibly commit. And it is this belief that is driving him completely mad.

As he struggles to survive the madness, Hercules must maneuver through all the evil raging around him, evil stoked by the continuing battle between the neo-collectivist revolutionaries committed to global utopia and the outlawed capitalist rebels committed to restoring a new version of the old order. As the war between the two political foes rage on, the De Borja Cartel, led by a zealot drug lord known as The Pope, seeks to leverage the chaos and extend its own corrupt domain northward.

All the while, Santa Muerte, threatened by one powerful man’s proximity to the technological attainment of a god-like immortality, mobilizes to purge the earth of its remaining living souls once and for all so that she, at last, may attain her divine ascension.

And yet nothing is as it seems…




These moving images were selected from the results of a search I did on the term “PTSD” through foter. Attributes and rights can be found in lower right corner of each image.

Peace be to the sufferers and those who care for them.


The Intensity of PTSD
Truthout.org / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
PTSD Nation
Truthout.org / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Soaptree / Foter / CC BY
otisarchives4 / Foter / CC BY
Dr.S.Ali Wasif / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Inner Anguish!
Dr.S.Ali Wasif / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Dr.S.Ali Wasif / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND