Minesweeper (Special Forces, Book 2)

Written by Chris Lynch
Review by Thomas j. Howley

Before there were Navy SEALs, there were Underwater Demolition Teams, UDTs. Fergus Frew lost his father in WWII. His mother worries about him as much as he feels he has disappointed her. He is a southern California surfer who avoids other surfers, along with disliking most other people. He is happiest when he’s alone and in or on the ocean, especially when he free dives for sublime three-minute underwater excursions. He skips his high school graduation to surf and unexpectedly meets a formidable man a bit older than himself. Initially wary, Fergus ironically finds a friend in Duke, a U.S. Marine.

Duke encourages Fergus to come out of his shell, and see the world, intuitively knowing the logical place for the almost amphibious Fergus is the Navy. To his mother’s dismay, Fergus enlists and learns for the first time what being part of a team means, especially when he completes UDT training. To reassure her, he introduces his mother to his team buddies in a delightful and moving scene. Soon he is off as the Korean War interrupts his newly found contentment. The team covertly inserts into hostile territory to blow up communications and logistic targets, conduct reconnaissance and, most dangerously, clear mines.

The second in a young adult series on Special Forces, this novel is filled with humor, pathos and action. I very favorably reviewed the first and learned a lot from this one. The reader will learn there was “LARU” before “SCUBA” became common and what a “green dragon” was. Fergus was a beach lifeguard before and feels he’s continuing that calling when he conducts missions to save the lives of marines and soldiers. Uplifting and highly recommended.