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A Hymn for Those Left Behind

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Everyman can go to war—too bad only the dead ones ever make it back.
A_Hymn_for_Those_4fbbb2acc87e7.jpgA Hymn For Those Left Behind by J.D. Holmes
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Sales price: $2.50
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Rating: 5/5
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Author: JD Holmes
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Genre: Mainstream Military Fiction

Release: July 13, 2012

Editor: Joelle Walker

Line Editor: Nan Swanson

Cover Designer: Charlie Volnek

Words: 5348

Pages: 23

Price: $2.50

ISBN: 978-1-77127-101-1

Back Cover:

Nobody tells you how ugly the world is going to look after you’ve stood at the helm of war and watched blood mold itself around the soles of your combat boots. They seem to forget to mention that tidbit in boot camp. Figures.

Noah O’Conner is a Virginian turned solider. Back from his tour in Afghanistan, he’s struggling to see the world through civilian eyes. The more he scrutinizes the cobwebs in his mind, the more he thinks about his father the Vietnam vet, and the more he’s forced to admit the similarities between the ghost of man he hated as a child and the stranger staring back at him every time he looks in the mirror.

When his best friend’s widow invites him over for a visit, he hesitantly accepts her offer. At first, he’s angered to find out she’s remarried and has seemingly moved on with her life. However, when push comes to shove, Heather cracks and he attempts to soothe her breakdown only to realize with a fascinated revulsion that war really has made a monster out of him and accepts moral responsibility for his sins against humanity…and the sins of others.

Excerpt:

Noah stared up at the ceiling into the vacant, star-studded sky. Could Allah hear his screaming? Did he give any more of a shit than Jesus did? He knitted his brows. Was that heartache exploding through his chest? Oh, that’s right, he remembered, he’d been thinking about his ex-wife…whatever her name was. Speaking of wife, he lolled his head to the right and registered the hard red numbers illuminating the cheap alarm clock’s face.

Too bad the light wasn’t strong enough to illuminate the room—or his mind, for that matter. Like his father before him, Noah had developed a fondness for the night and a need for the dark. He swallowed hard and relished the pull of the beaded silver chain drawn tight over his corded neck. Who would’ve known the time spent with dear old Dad would eventually lead to Noah getting a set of his very own fangs? The abrasive chain agitated his windpipe and he coughed. Sitting up, he noted with aberrant disinterest that he did, in fact, have a set of working legs and forced himself to breath evenly as the weight of his dog tags loosened and righted the skewed chain.

Why do I sleep with them on? Noah clutched the flat squares and dragged the pad of his thumb against the Courier font, staring past the dingy wallpaper into the ocean of sand as far as the eye could see. Why wouldn’t I? He’d die as slowly as he’d been born if he ever rejected his identity, if he ever lost his fangs. Without the tags to remind him who he was, to remind him what his name was, he was sure he’d forget altogether. They were his only method of understanding where he fit into this world. And he hated them as much as he loved them. As much as he needed them. His grip tightened, and the metal bit into his palm and he bled desperation. I don’t want to lose them. I can’t lose them. Without them, without the medal and the scraps of praise the President had saved just for him, he wouldn’t have anything for the tombstone maker to etch onto his grave marker.

REVIEWS

"J.D. Holmes' A HYMN FOR THOSE LEFT BEHIND offers no candy coatings, no pretty masks, it rips our rose colored glasses away and shows us the bile beneath the pretense..." 5 STAR READER REVIEW

"A Hymn For Those Left Behind doesn't need to portray violence, blood and gore to send a chill down your back." 5 STAR READER REVIEW

MEET THE AUTHOR

 

Reviews

Saturday, 31 August 2013
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War...blood...shattered bones...brain matter...post traumatic stress...None describe the gut gnawing incisors that rip your innards to shreds better than being in the military when we're at war...especially wars like we've been engaged in in my lifetime.

Those who go there, place their lives on the line, have lived it, done it, and on the surface, survived it, are forever changed by it.

Their tales, rarely shared, and are so horrific, are the primer coatings of the nightmares haunting their sleeping landscapes, shattering their ability to function the rest of the time, no matter how hard they try.

J.D. Holmes' A HYMN FOR THOSE LEFT BEHIND offers no candy coatings, no pretty masks, it rips our rose colored glasses away and shows us the bile beneath the pretense.

I don't like having my guts shredded under normal circumstances, but J.D. Holmes deserves at the very LEAST FIVE STARS for this book, and so much more for the truth behind the story he's told. A HYMN FOR THOSE LEFT BEHIND. I pray a day will come when no one will NEED to sing such a hymn.

Thank You, J.D. for a powerfully moving story.
Lin Holmes

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