I have to keep this review short, because if I go into too much detail, I might throw in a spoiler and inadvertently ruin this fantastic read for the many, many readers I know it currently has and will continue to have.
There is nothing formulaic, repetitious or trite in the first of what I hope Mr. Capko makes into a long-standing serial. I have seldom been enthralled by a military thriller as much as "Say Goodbye" managed to do from page one. There are so many questions the reader has to answer about why John Paxton (a Pararescue Jumper who plays with the idea of retirement while he teaches other servicemen in his field) is called to join a very sketchy secondary character, McMurphy, in a mission that can only be described by a brilliant new word the novel taught me which I can't post here, so I'll paraphrase: hot mess. The original word can pretty much surmise the mounting stress, foreboding, mystery and sheer thrilling entertainment that makes up the plot of "Say Goodbye".
I have always admired authors who either rely on their own expertise or research the intricacies of military equipment, strategies and history, but very few of them are able to break away from the description of a gun or an aircraft and also draw characters that are well-rounded, engaging and most of all, relatable. Mr. Capko is that rare talent who can sum up a clear depiction of a service man caught up in the pre-9/11 ethnic cleanse and brutal massacres in Yugoslavia and still wrestle with the anxiety of leaving on what might be a suicide mission without speaking to his wife and children. This is a book for a wide audience, and every page turn is rich with images and action that can easily translate into a blockbuster movie. Hollywood, give this man a producer and a director, and let him write his own script. This book is movie-ready from page one.
Robert Capko is simply a brilliant storyteller, and I can only wish him many followers and a long and truly successful writing career. He deserves it; this book is thrilling and fantastic; this is a must-read!
Conchie Fernandez, Author, "Undrawn".
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)