Operation Light Switch is a superior military thriller that captures the essence of what it means to serve one’s country.
In Operation Light Switch, John Wemlinger proffers a wronged hero and a scarily plausible world scenario. It’s a meticulously written story that hits all the right notes.
Cleveland Spires, a highly decorated and respected former US Army Command sergeant major, was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. After he is released from prison, he returns to his hometown. For his greatest enemy, however, his prison term wasn’t enough. The crime’s real perpetrator is too paranoid to let Spires live out the rest of his life.
Through a series of unusual but plausible events, Spires learns of a plot to shift the global balance of power from European to Asian hands. He decides that he can’t just sit back and let that happen; nor can he allow his enemy’s plan to be realized. The potential for destruction, on both personal and global levels, is too great. Spires’s personal code of honor requires him to get involved. He is written as the quintessential military hero—a person who puts in significant service, and who remains someone you’d want watching your back, no matter the tenuousness of a situation.
This is a tightly written and absorbing story, with an underdog hero and themes of injustice upended and courage maintained. Spires is a fully realized character, with insecurities despite his strong moral compass and personal righteousness. He has serious doubts regarding the possibilities for his life after prison, even as he reunites with his wife and son. He is hesitant to trust anyone. These vulnerabilities are built up believably through evocations of his tough experiences. He is always sympathetic, and cheering him on becomes natural. The forces arrayed against him are formidable, and the stakes are high on all sides.
In the wide but well-handled cast, supporting characters are impressively fleshed out, from Spires’s loving and supportive mother to the vile and pernicious villain. Even minor characters are brought to life in a convincing manner. The story’s pacing is natural, allowing events to unfold in an easy-to-absorb manner and capturing attention ably and consistently. Wemlinger’s writing style is smooth and involving, neatly wrapping up all the threads of story by the book’s end.
Operation Light Switch is a superior military thriller that captures the essence of what it means to serve one’s country, even when that service is tarnished by outside forces.
J. G. Stinson
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