Evac

May 26, 2015

The Story

When we started the editing process for Evac, I had not realized that it would be released on the week of the Memorial Day holiday.  What a fitting time for this story to be published.  Evac is the story of Benji, a soldier stationed in Afghanistan.  One morning he and his band of brothers board a helicopter for a flight north.  It is a standard mission until it all goes to hell in a heartbeat.  Snipers bring down their chopper.  Those who were not killed outright in the crash are slowly picked off one by one as they try to get away from the fuel leak and smoldering remains of their chopper.

Benji does his best to keep his men safe and to fight back, but they are seriously outnumbered.  He tries desperately to radio for help, for medical evacuation, but the valleys of Afghanistan make radio communication difficult. When help does finally come and the Marines mount a rescue mission, there are more body bags than anything else.  When Benji wakes in a hospital in Germany he learns he is the sole survivor of his unit.  All of his men, all of his brothers, all of his buddies are gone.

This book traces Benji’s journey as he tries to return to life as a civilian back in San Diego.  Survivor’s guilt, PTSD, and lack of understanding of how to be anything but a soldier make his reintegration to civilian life next to impossible.  He is driven from one wild extreme to another in attempts to atone for surviving while everyone else died.

Reviews and Feedback

Early reader reviews of this book have been uniformly and overwhelmingly positive:

“This one has a lot of power.”

 “This is a heart-breaking story about a very realistic character. I really sympathized with Benji and his circumstances. It is so sad what happens to many of our veterans, and you’ve done a really nice job portraying that here. I’m glad you wrote this—it will bring attention to an important issue. I was so glad when Benji met Nick, and I hope they continue to be good for each other.”

 “Wow! I loved this one; it is quite a powerful story and Benji is wonderful and well-developed.”

 “I was riveted throughout”

 “This has been one of my favorite stories this year. Thank you!”

 

The Cover

EvacLG

The cover art for this book is taken from a beautiful piece by the gifted artist Michael Breyette.  I adore his work and am honored to be able to use one of his works as the cover for Evac.  The image he has produced is so absolutely perfect for Benji and the desperation he comes to feel. I could not have asked for a more perfect cover than this one.

 

 

6 Responses to “Evac”

  1. Angela says:

    Congrts on the upcoming release of Evac :)

  2. MikeM says:

    Thank you so much. I’m so glad to hear from you. Mike

  3. H.B. says:

    Congrats on your upcoming release. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the book itself sounds like an intense emotional read.

  4. MikeM says:

    H.B. Thanks for your comment. This is an intense read. A couple of years ago I had a great conversation with Elizabeth North who said she was looking for a great, solid story about someone with PTSD. I heard her comment and let it work around in my head for about a year. Then I got an idea and the story started to write itself. To be sure I got the details right, though, I did major research. I interviewed former soldiers who had dealt with the problems of transitioning from soldier to civilian after seeing some stuff that they could not escape no matter how hard they tried. I consulted with some psychiatrists to get the technical details of PTSD right. So I think I got the details right. One additional thing to know, though, is that I write stories with a happy ending, or at a minimum a hopeful ending. So, yes, this is an intensely emotional story, but as Benji finds, at his darkest hour, he finds help in just about the last possible place he could imagine. This book is basically the story of the journey that Benji is on. Hang onto your seats because he has one hell of a ride ahead of him.

  5. Su says:

    Hi, congratulations on your new book :) I have just been checking out the artwork of Michael Breyette and all I can say is wow and I might visiting his site for some while… Plenty of inspiration for new stories. I also love the paintings of Steve Walker and they have so many stories to tell and a few of those have been used for book covers (Mary Calmes – Acrobat)

  6. MikeM says:

    Steve Walkers paintings were always some of my favorites. When we lost him we lost a true treasure. Michael Breyette’s work is stunning in a different way. I have come to love his works with pastels and anxiously look forward to his new releases.

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