Friday, April 28, 2017

David E. Grogan - Sapphire Pavilion - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Steve Stilwell’s former Navy JAG Corps buddy Ric Stokes has been jailed for possession of heroin in Vietnam. He was found in the same room with his traveling companion Ryan Eversall, dead of an overdose and in the company of a prostitute. Steve knows his friend is a straight arrow. Was he set up? If so, for what reason? Steve travels to Ho Chi Minh City in search of the truth. In no time Steve is targeted by the people who framed his friend. A beautiful young American businesswoman insinuates her way into the case. Can she really help, or is she just a dangerous distraction? Ric and Ryan came to Vietnam in search of an Air Force transport plane that disappeared in 1968. The pilot was Ryan’s father. Before the heroin bust, they had located the wreckage. Ryan’s notebook, which Steve manages to obtain, spells out the exact location. Ryan’s widow has given Steve’s associate Casey another piece of valuable evidence, a file labeled “Sapphire Pavilion.” Someone is willing to go to any lengths to steal both the notebook and the file. From Virginia and Texas to DC and Vietnam, powerful, all-seeing forces with unlimited resources are determined to bury the truth about Sapphire Pavilion. But they have grossly underestimated Steve Stilwell and his associate Casey, a former Army pilot who lost her leg in a helo accident. And the ability to inspire loyalty wherever you go can come in handy when danger lurks behind every corner.

My Review

Sometimes an author's profile reads as interesting as the book itself. David E. Grogan is a retired Navy Judge Advocate, just like his main character, Steve Stilwell. However, in this case I really hope that the international intrigue that unfolds in the novel is more a product of the author's imagination, and doesn't have any basis in reality.

It all starts on May 14, 2000, Mother's Day, when Steve's good friend, Ric, is arrested in his hotel room in Vietnam. His business partner is dead in the adjacent bed, and a wad of heroin is found in Ric's suitcase. It's clearly a setup, but in a country where possession is nine tenths of the law, Ric has little chance of avoiding the death penalty.

And the corruption doesn't end there. Ric was in Vietnam investigating an American plane that disappeared mid-flight during the Vietnam War. He actually found the remains, however, no one at the State Department is willing to confirm operation "Sapphire Pavilion" or even the names of the downed crewmen who were onboard that fateful flight in 1968.

As the action transitions from the violent, racketeer culture of Vietnam to the more genteel, colonial-lined streets of Virginia, the duplicity doesn't end there. Because in the back of Steve's mind, he can't help wondering, "What if it's our own government?" And he can't help putting himself in Ric's shoes, the innocent man he left behind, who's unjustly languishing in the bowels of Chi Hoa Prison.

But the scope of the matter goes far beyond one man's desperate plight. Steve learns that the "S" and "P" in Sapphire Pavilion stand for "secret peace," as in a top secret peace mission ordered by President Lyndon B. Johnson that was supposed to bring an early end to the Vietnam War, until the plane carrying the diplomat sent to negotiate peace was mysteriously shot out of the sky—by antiaircraft missiles bearing American-made serial numbers. Does this newly unearthed knowledge free Ric from prison or does it simply embroil Steve in a political scandal that's way over his head?

Their ultimate fate harkens back to the Latin inscription Steve saw above a church in Vietnam: Deo Optimo Maximo. It means: "To God, who is the best and the greatest." Man may try to hide the truth, but it always resurfaces sooner or later, and the old cliché still rings true—the truth will set you free.


Sapphire Pavilion can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 280
Release: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603816038
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

David E. Grogan was born in Rome, New York, and was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a B.B.A. in Accounting, he began working for the accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co., in Houston, Texas, as a Certified Public Accountant. He left Arthur Andersen in 1984 to attend the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, graduating in 1987. He earned his Masters in International Law from The George Washington University Law School and is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Grogan served on active duty in the United States Navy for over 26 years as a Navy Judge Advocate. He is now retired, but during the course of his Navy career, he prosecuted and defended court-martial cases, traveled to capitals around the world, lived abroad in Japan, Cuba and Bahrain, and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf onboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. His experiences abroad and during the course of his career influence every aspect of his writing. Sapphire Pavilion is his second novel. His first was The Siegel Dispositions.

Grogan’s current home is in Savoy, Illinois, where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their dog, Marley. He has three children.

Links to connect with David:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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