Coming Home is a military thriller by Howard Kirkpatrick, published in 2013. It is about Lt. Kevin Nicholas, a US Navy reconnaissance pilot whose plane goes down over the Soviet Union in the height of the Cold War. Lt. Nicholas then has to evade capture, escape the Soviet Union, and make his way back home to the United States.
Coming Home started off reminding me of a Louis L’Amour novel, Last of the Breed. In L’Amour’s novel, the American pilot was a Native American who had been taught essential survival skills by his Apache grandfather. L’Amour’s novel then becomes a cat and mouse game between the Native American in the Siberian wilderness and the Siberian native attempting to track him and bring him in.
The similarities end after Lt. Nicholas’ plane goes down, and Kirkpatrick’s hero takes a totally different and unique approach to evading capture and finding his way back home. Kirkpatrick’s characters ring true in the unusual circumstances in which they find themselves. The carrier aviation scenes seem authentic to me, a non-military non-pilot with an avid interest in aviation.
The only flaw I found in the book was that the ending seemed rushed. Kirkpatrick had been doing a fine job of spinning his story, but the last several chapters read like a summary of events rather than a novel. A lot happens in these pages that I really wanted to see play out. If the last thirty pages had been fleshed out as well as the first ninety-five pages, Coming Home could have been three times as long and would have been a first rate novel.
The Kindle version is available here .
I hope that Howard Kirkpatrick is working on another book. I would love to see where he could take us next.