Helter Skelter presents a realistic glimpse into the life of Mark Sketer (or “H” as he’s known to his comrades), a highly experienced and very likeable SAS sergeant who is tapped to lead a hostage rescue mission in war-torn Somalia. This story is not glamorized like so many of today’s movies. Instead, it dispels the romanticized myths Hollywood has given us, offering an in-depth and insightful narration of what really goes on in the course of a covert operation – the discomforts, waiting, uncertainties, second-guessing, boredom, life and death tensions, fears, and changing dynamics. But it also portrays the courage, honor, dedication, self-denial, and commitment of the men charged with saving lives.
Perreira paints a vivid picture of life in the trenches and shares with his readers some of the coping mechanisms soldiers employ. He also nailed the awkwardness and vulnerability of the long-widowed Skelter when he found himself in the civilian world with a woman he was unexpectedly attracted to. The dichotomy of the two sides of his personality are dramatic and believable.
The story was told in narrative, the plot developed using simultaneous viewpoints. This style amped the tension and intrigue, and held my attention to the very end. Kudos to Mr. Perreira for delivering a well-written story that didn’t rely on the gratuitous profanity and graphic violence that is so prevalent in today’s literature. The mark of a true storyteller. He gives the reader just enough to paint the scene … and light the reader’s imagination. Warning: There’s a wicked twist at the end, one sure to pull you back again!