Sunday, May 01, 2016


By Terrence McCauley
Down & Out Books
130 pages

“The Devil Dogs of Belleau Woods,” is a gripping war adventure set during one of the most brutal battles of World War One.  Corporal Charlie Doherty is a New York City cop who thought he was a tough guy but when he finds himself in a pitched battle alongside a handful of U.S. Marines against an overwhelming force of German troopers, he quickly discovers the true meaning of grit and courage. 

The book opens with Doherty the sole survivor of his company after a hellish battle with the enemy.  Alone in its aftermath, he founds himself lost in the dense forest of the Belleau Woods pinned down by a machine-gun nest.  Then two gutsy Marine officers arrive on the scene; Capt. Devlin and Lt. Barrows. Devlin, though young, is a seasoned warrior and quickly directs them into taking out the German gun.  Soon the trio hook up with a group of other lost Marines led by a grizzled Sgt. Ambrose.  Devlin believes the enemy is going to make another push to break through their lines and they may be the only force in the area capable of repelling them.

When they find a small, isolated French farm, Devlin decides it is the place where they will make their stand.  Their objective, to hold back the advancing Germans until reinforcements can arrive.  McCauley’s prose is terse and straight forward.  His fighting scenes are savage without being sensational.  He paints the horror of warfare with a detached, clear reporting and captures the pain, suffering, courage and ultimate sacrifice that are part of combat.

We haven’t read a war book this good since Richard Matheson’s “The Beardless Warriors.”  For a small volume it packs a solid punch proving once again that Terrence McCauley is a rising star in today’s fiction.  Not to be missed.

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