This is the online home of David Healey, author of thrilling historical fiction and regional histories. Over the years, quite a lot has been added to the site, so this page will help you get started with navigating HealeyInk. Please start by getting your audiobook or your free story!

 

Recent releases and re-releases

Deadly Anthem Time Reich Pirate Moon

The Caje Cole sniper series

Ghost Sniper Iron Sniper Gods & Snipers Ardennes Sniper

Red Sniper Frozen Sniper

Get started with the Caje Cole series audiobooks


New Release

In December 1941, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor plunges the United States into war. On farms and cities nationwide, lives are upended as young men and women volunteer for the war effort. 

One of these young men is Deacon Cole, fresh from the hardscrabble mountains of Appalachia. He’s never been good at much except hunting and hard work. He soon finds himself sent to the Pacific Theater to join the fight against Imperial Japan. 

Deacon hits the beach for his first test against the enemy. He will use all his skill with a rifle against a deadly Japanese marksman. Across the beaches and jungle, they take part in the savage battle for control of a Pacific island. Can he protect his squad, or will they fall, one by one, under the enemy’s crosshairs?

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Read an excerpt

SNIPER’S JUSTICE

Just when it looks like Allied troops are finally winning the massive Battle of the Bulge in the snowy Ardennes forest, German forces launch a devastating counter-attack called Operation Nordwind.

Surrounded in the deep, wintry hills, the odds seem impossible, but the defenders have Cole and his rifle on their side. For Cole, the battle leaves some unfinished business. Years later, on a trip to Germany to help dedicate a WWII museum, Cole will have to settle the score once and for all to satisfy his “Sniper’s Justice.”

Read the first chapter.

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Audiobook now available.

Fallen Sniper

Deep in the Korean mountains, U.S. sniper Caje Cole and his squad are on patrol when they witness a dogfight that ends with a pilot being shot down over enemy territory. Cole leads the rescue effort that puts him in conflict with a deadly Chinese sniper, but that turns out to be the least of his worries. Chinese forces are on the move, starting with the capture of an outpost just forward of the American line. To stop a large Chinese force poised to smash the American line, Cole joins a makeshift unit sent to hold an ancient fort at a mountain pass. These misfits plan a desperate fight to the last man against overwhelming odds as Cole faces a showdown with the enemy sniper.

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Audiobook now available.

Sniper Ridge

At the Battle of Triangle Hill, Cole and his squad find themselves in a stalemate with Chinese forces, fighting to capture and then regain a strategic foothold. To make matters worse, a deadly enemy shooter has positioned himself on the hill known as Sniper Ridge, picking off the defenders and outshooting Cole. To defeat this enemy, Cole must return to his mountain roots as a hunter, tracker, and jaw-dropping marksman.

Sniper Ridge is the the seventh Caje Cole novel, now available in ebook and print. Click here to get your copy.

Audiobook now available.



Civil War novels

Sharpshooter Rebel Fever Rebel Train

Mysteries and more

The House That Went Down With The Ship Beach Bodies Deadly Anthem

First Voyage Ship of Spies The Duelist

Regional History (non-fiction)

Rediscovering 1812 Great Storms Delmarva Legends

Blog Posts & News

When Heroes Flew: The Shangri-La Raiders

By David Healey for The Big Thrill Magazine In the fight against Imperial Japan, the early months of 1942 were some of the bleakest and most uncertain. The Japanese had already pummeled the United States with their devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. In swift order, outposts from the Philippines to Guam quickly fell to … Continue reading

A Civil War substitute

This seemed like a good story to share as we get into Independence Day celebrations and the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Sometimes I actually get out from behind the keyboard and that was the case this week when I went exploring and visited Bethesda Methodist Episcopal, a country church and old cemetery near … Continue reading

Does it hit the mark?

This is a sneak peek of a detail from an upcoming book cover. Thoughts? Comments are welcome. Thank you!

After Alice Fell

By David Healey In the summer of 1865, the nation is just beginning to heal from the bitter Civil War. The signs of the war are everywhere—in the man with one arm on the street corner, the empty chair at the table, the still-bitter ring of names like Shiloh and the Wilderness. As if this wasn’t … Continue reading

My favorite rock videos on YouTube

These are better than a cup of coffee … it’s impossible to watch these videos and not feel energized and even a little amazed. Your results may vary, but these work for me. Richard Ashcroft 2019 singing Bittersweet Symphony live. This song was a hit in the ’90s but he’s still got it. Lucky Man love … Continue reading

Get to know the Borinqueneers

Fallen Sniper was inspired by several unconnected events from the Korean War that came together here for the story. In the late stages of the war, the conflict entered the stalemate phase described by historian Max Hastings. Instead of fighting back and forth, the two opposing sides were now facing each other across a wide … Continue reading

Author Lee Gimenez on Blacksnow Zero

The following article appears in The Big Thrill. By David Healey Author Lee Gimenez is one of those rare writers who still uses a pen and paper to craft his stories, often in a coffeeshop or sometimes in the backyard during these pandemic times. Day by day, word by word, those pages have added up … Continue reading

Canal history cruises planned for Summer 2020

It’s hard to picture today, but when the C&D Canal first opened in 1829, it was just about 60 feet wide and 10 feet deep. A whole section of the canal would have fit into some of the vessels that traverse it today. Locals called it “The ditch,” which was something of an apt describe. … Continue reading

Wild about foxes

Earlier this week, I was out for my evening walk and I had a good bit of luck because I saw a red fox sitting in the path ahead. We started out some distance apart, keeping a wary eye on one another, but as I got to within about 50 yards away he still hadn’t … Continue reading

When Heroes Flew by Buzz Bernard

The following article appears in The Big Thrill: By David Healey Former Weather Channel senior meteorologist H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is best known for his thrillers related to weather disasters and other natural phenomena. This time around, he has turned his attention to the skies in a new way, writing about a World War II … Continue reading

An interview with Cara Putman, author of Flight Risk

By David Healey In her ambitious new novel, author Cara Putman takes on so many topics that this thriller is hard to classify. The story touches on human trafficking, the issue of fake news, the consequences of social media, and even alcoholism within families. Where to begin? “It is hard to put it into a … Continue reading

Knock on bookstores’ virtual doors!

Support our local bookstores through this time Our local bookstores and shops have been so supportive of me in my 20 years of selling books. My heart goes out to the many small businesses and shops that are doing their part by closing their doors. You can imagine how difficult it is to suddenly stop … Continue reading

Meet The Savage Deeps author, Timothy S. Johnston

Underwater warfare in the next century DECEMBER 31, 2019 by DAVID HEALEY By David Healey Deep under the oceans, more than a century from today, a struggle is being waged for the survival of humanity. After the devastation wrought by rapid climate change, the remaining world superpowers are coping with how to sustain their populations. Where do … Continue reading

On the trail of a stolen Star-Spangled Banner in Deadly Anthem

Read the complete article here By Tim O’Mara In David Healey’s new thriller, DEADLY ANTHEM, the Star-Spangled Banner flag is stolen from the Smithsonian, and it’s up to historian Francis Scott Keane (does that name sound familiar?) to get it back. To do so, he will test his knowledge of history and his skills as a … Continue reading

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When Heroes Flew: The Shangri-La Raiders

By David Healey for The Big Thrill Magazine

In the fight against Imperial Japan, the early months of 1942 were some of the bleakest and most uncertain. The Japanese had already pummeled the United States with their devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. In swift order, outposts from the Philippines to Guam quickly fell to the Rising Sun flag. Rumors flew—was even the West Coast of the United States vulnerable?

Imperial Japan appeared unstoppable and invincible—until it wasn’t.

That’s where the story of the Doolittle raid comes in, as told in H. W. “Buzz” Bernard’s newest WWII novel, THE SHANGRI-LA RAIDERS, the second installment of the author’s When Heroes Flew WWII historical fiction series.

The novel was inspired by the true story of Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle’s raid on Japan in 1942. The raid provided an incredible boost to American morale, considering that the extraordinary victory at the Battle of Midway had not taken place yet. (The meat-grinder of Guadalcanal was still to come.)

In this case, the author set himself a tough task in that the real-life story of the Doolittle raid is so incredible that it needs no fictional embellishments. In April 1942, after months of planning and training, a squadron of 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers did the impossible and hit back at the heart of Japan, dropping bombs on Tokyo.

The bombers launched from an aircraft carrier and didn’t have the fuel to return—it was essentially a one-way trip. Any surviving aircraft were expected to land in China (which was at war with Japan), and the crews would have to make their way home as best they could.

Incredibly, 80 young men signed on for this apparent one-way mission.

H. W. “Buzz” Bernard

“The novel follows an American bomber crew through its secretive training, a harrowing raid on Japan, and finally on its desperate journey through occupied China to Chungking, the seat of the country’s wartime government,” Bernard says.

“The crew, along with an American missionary’s daughter whom they’ve rescued, must evade the Japanese occupiers every step of the way. And amidst all the horror and turmoil of war, a romance blossoms between the rescued woman and the crew’s pilot.”

Right away, readers are introduced to the crew of one of these bombers. Through their eyes, the story comes to life.

The story is told largely through the first-person narrator, First Lieutenant Ray Howzer, better known as “Boss.” For Boss, training for the mission seems to be a piece of cake (never mind a feet-on-the-brakes, drag-race approach to getting bombers off the ground). What really sends Boss reaching for his parachute is his relationship with women—or lack thereof. Readers will be amused by the subplot of a daring young officer who takes air maneuvers in stride but can’t seem to get his V-card punched. Anyone who has read William Manchester’s excellent wartime memoir, Goodbye, Darkness, will recall a similar obsession shared by many young men with a limited life expectancy.

Whether it’s sharing drinks at the bar or preparing for the mission, this interaction between the young men—and their personal challenges—are where this novel really shines. Bernard gets it right down to their 1940s vernacular, the hit songs, and the flyboys’ penchant for brown liquors.

Bringing new life to a wartime event depicted in well-known films such as Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) or even briefly in Midway (2019) wasn’t always easy.

“Since this is historical fiction set against a well-known event, the plot and setting were predetermined. Fictional characters who would fit into the event and carry the story then had to be developed,” Bernard says. “The biggest challenge was getting the historical details right. Different sources sometimes present differing ‘facts.’ Getting things right is like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together when some of the pieces just aren’t going to fit.”

The author’s quandary will be familiar to any writer (or reader) of historical fiction. Which version of events is the right one?

“The biggest opportunity is to bring to life little-known historical details that make a well-known story even more robust,” he says.

He continues, “Using one B-25 bomber crew, it illuminates on a very personal level the stunning courage of the men who flew the first mission of WWII to strike back directly at the Japanese Empire after Pearl Harbor. The actual dropping of bombs on Japan wasn’t the most daunting part of the Doolittle Raid. It was what came afterward as all the planes but one crashed or crash landed in China.”

Much of the realistic nature of the story comes from the author’s own familiarity with aircraft. Although he is not a pilot, he has flown as a meteorologist on a “Hurricane Hunter” plane. For his research, he did take a trip on a WWII-era B-24 in the skies of South Carolina. He says the experience was not only amazing, but helped him as a writer to get the smells, sounds, and sights just right.

“I do try to get it technically correct,” he says, explaining that he has some pilot friends look over his writing. “I want it to be real.”

In our high-tech world, it’s hard to grasp the challenges of piloting a WWII-era bomber when the world was still analog and controls were manual. There was a compass, but there was no GPS system to provide instant positioning. As even more of a challenge, planes flew low to the target rather than using the high-altitude bombing they were designed for.

“A lot of this stuff turned out to be seat of the pants,” Bernard says, noting that skill and practice helped crews improvise.

So far, the series has gathered some excellent reviews from the likes of Steve Berry, NYT-bestselling author of The Kaiser’s Web, who said, “Another clever mixture of fact and fiction…Bernard’s flair for bringing history alive is on full display.”

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