Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets! Not much happening on the home front, except more writing.  So as I have nothing to add to the equation, let’s talk about today’s featured veteran!

I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES.  You might remember him, I’ve previously interviewed him about his publishing house but today we focus on him, not his business.  The introduction will be the same, because Chris Kennedy hasn’t morphed into someone else in the interim but for those of you who missed his earlier interview, check it out here.  If some of this is repetitive, then your memory is longer than most people’s online these days!  Kudos to you!

To help you appreciate why I chose to interview him, let me tell you more about Chris.  He is a bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author and speaker.  Chris Kennedy is also a former naval aviator (we forgive him for not going Army) and elementary school principal.  Chris’ stories include the “Occupied Seattle” military fiction duology; “The Theogony” and “Codex Regius” science fiction trilogies; and the “War for Dominance” fantasy trilogy.  You can also get his free book, “The Death of Atlantis,” at his website.


Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy

Chris has been called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists (including yours truly) on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions and writing guild presentations.  He is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, “Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores,” as well as the leadership training book, “Leadership from the Darkside.”  You can find out more about having him talk to your group here.

Chris lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his wife and family.  He is currently working with the Navy to help shape Navy training processes for the year 2025.  He is the holder of a doctorate in educational leadership and master’s degrees in both business and public administration.  On a more personal note, like so many in the Indie Writing Circle, Chris is very willing to mentor new writers (though they all likely regret accepting my friend request!) through his social media presence.  He’s an overall decent fella, the kind you’d enjoy doing business with.

Now for the man, the myth and the legend to speak for himself!


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Without further ado, let’s gzet this interview cranking!


Tell me a little about your military service?

I am a retired naval aviator who spent 20 years in the service. About half of my flight career was spent flying A-6E Intruder attack jets off the carrier and half was flying the EP-3E ARIES reconnaissance aircraft. I have over 3,000 hours of flight time and over 300 arrested carrier landings. Even though I’ve retired from active duty, I’m still closely tied to the military, as my day job is managing the curriculum for enlisted sailors learning to maintain the FA-18 Hornet fighter jet.

How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?

Having spent time in two communities, I have a good feel for how a number of services operate, and have worked closely with a number of organizations in each branch of the military. While I certainly know and can write aviation (including space fighters!), I’m also passingly conversant on other military specialties, as well.

Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books?  If so, how?

Absolutely, it does. With me, you get authentic actions and communications, as well as knowing what it’s like to have to “embrace the suck.”

When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

I started about four years ago. Writing wasn’t something I’d always wanted to do, but something that just kind of happened. One day, I had an idea that I thought would make a great book or two, and rather than throwing that idea away, I pursued it to its conclusion (it turned into Red Tide and Occupied Seattle).

Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?

I don’t know that I have one story that is my favorite, but lots of little parts of each. If I had to pick one, I would say, “Terra Stands Alone.” It showed I could bring a series to a successful conclusion (I think so, anyway), and I also got to use A-6E Intruders in the story.

How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?

I’m sure all of them have at least a little piece of someone I’ve known in the service, as I draw upon lots of people I served with when I’m writing.

How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?

I don’t know how many actual scenes were inspired by my service, but the interactions in all of my scenes, how people relate and talk to each other, definitely are inspired by my service.

Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you?  Has it helped you process your experiences?

The only negative I took with me from my service was how I felt about a couple of the leaders I served under, and choices they made which I knew were wrong. Certainly the leadership book I wrote was very cathartic in letting some of those things go.

If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I think that Shawn Hobbs and I would get along well together. In addition to serving with him, I’d also love to have a beer with him, too. That Dan Knaus guy is all right, too, but then again, he’s a red shirt of someone I actually served with.

If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I don’t know that I could keep up with Master Chief O’Leary, and he always seems to be getting into the kind of “life-or-death” situations I always try to avoid.

What are you currently working on and when do you expect it to be ready for publication?

I am working on an anthology in the Four Horsemen universe called “A Fistful of Credits” which has some great names in it, like Brad Torgersen, Chris Nuttal, Terry Mixon and Doug Dandridge in it, among others. It will be released on June 30 and is going to be great! I also have a full length novel in the series, “The Golden Horde,” which will be released about six weeks after that.

How can people find you?


I hope you had a great time getting to know Chris. If this convinced you to find out more, look him up—he’s a heck of a guy!  If he doesn’t respond quick enough, bombard him with stories about nonsense!  Mwahahaha!!


Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!



->As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.


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Book Review: Occupied Seattle


Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN.  It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time.  There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List.  And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points!  So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!


But enough about me, onto this specific review.  Now let’s get to it! 


Title:  Occupied Seattle

Author:  Chris Kennedy

Narrator:  Craig Good

Price:  $3.99 USD (Kindle Edition) & $1.99 USD (Audible Add On)

Obtained:  I bought the story and audiobook combination from Amazon.

Pages:  295




Rating:  5/5 Grenades

5 Grenade




First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel is a very Red Dawn-esq story of what it might look like if America was invaded.  In Chris Kennedy’s twisted imagination, China uses an attack on America to hide their campaign to reclaim Taiwan.  It works, and an unprepared America quickly loses the Pacific Northwest.  But despite how bloody things get, they can’t crack the will of the American people.  Will the United States get Seattle back?  It will, if a shot down F-18 pilot, a retired Navy SEAL, and a platoon of Army Rangers have anything to say about it.  In this book, we see the conclusion of the fight with the People’s Republic of China.  We see a wrap up of all of the previous plot threads and it’s a gloriously explosive conclusion!




In this novel, we see more focus given to the three main characters so I would say there was a lot of improvement here.  There were three main characters; Shawn Hobbs, Ryan O’Leary and the Ranger Platoon they lead.  In the first novel there were too many characters popping in and out of this story, and it was distracting.  Not the case this time, and I could finally get behind them.  Even better, Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Red Tide awesome.  The premise was just as compelling, great job Chris!  The characters were flushed out, though there were still plenty of red shirts and death!  Like the last one, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this military thriller.  Here is a brief summary of the characters, check it out!


Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs: He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who gets shot down during the opening salvo of the war and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.

Ryan O’Leary: He is a retired US Navy SEAL who’s taken to the hermit lifestyle when an invasion of his home forces him back into the fight.  When Lieutenant Hobbs is shot down, he rushes to save him and together they take on the world.

Army Ranger Platoon: Just your average group of grunts who join in on the mayhem to resist the occupying forces.  The provide the troops that O’Leary and Hobbs lead into the mouth of the Chinese Dragon.


Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes these characters with the next series.  The author wrote The Theogony Trilogy and The Codex Trilogy with these characters, and I’m thrilled!




Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in modern day Seattle and follows a series of events that lead to China invading as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan.  If you don’t know, the US has treaties with Taiwan that state America will defend the nation from China in the event of an attack.  It was an interesting set up and premise, which had shades of Red Dawn in it.  I loved Red Dawn, and consequently I loved this story.  With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  I will say that the Chris Kennedy, a retired Naval Commander and fighter pilot, spent a lot of time addressing the air war.  I’m not qualified to judge those situations, but from the outside looking in it was credible, which is all I needed.  Why is the critique of the military in the “Plot” review section?  Because in a military fiction novel, the tactics are integral to the plot.  Occupied Seattle was the conclusion of the story, and it was even more explosive than the book one in the duology!  Like before, I again give Chris 6 out of 5 Grenades!



World Building:

This is the third book I’ve read by Chris Kennedy, and they just keep getting better! Like the previous books, I wasn’t disappointed!  Like in the previous novel in this duology, this world was very flushed out.  However, it was set in the modern world so it had the advantage of the readers pre-existing world view.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  Once I found out that this story transitions into a story of first contact, I was ecstatic!  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series, and see where the war with the occupying forces in Chris’s world goes.  Like the first novel, this novel was placed in the science fiction section on Amazon, but in this book’s duology we see none of it.  Other than that one complaint, it was a great book and I can’t wait to read the next trilogy in this universe, The Theogony Trilogy.  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.




Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  Again, in some places Chris went a little over board with the explanation of the various military minutia.  It wasn’t as bad as before, but it was still there.  Maybe this is because I already know about some of this and don’t particularly care about military aviation?  Others might have a different opinion here?  Regardless, these flaws didn’t distract from the book to such a degree that I wouldn’t finish the series.  While parts of it were a flop for me, I still give Chris 4 out of 5 grenades in this category!



Narration Quality:

Like the previous novel, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  I would give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his explosive performance.




I really loved this book, even more than the last book because there wasn’t any of the previous head popping was a bit jarring.  Like the previous book in this duology, the cover was amazingly invocative.  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, especially the nicknames, even though the author laid it on a bit thick.  It wasn’t as bad as the previous book but it was still a bit overdone.  If you want to use a nickname, then we don’t need the full name, but it wasn’t as noticeable as before.  Again, with such a compelling story you won’t notice!  As for the military equipment, well it was like a Naval Aviators porno, the amount of details given but I was able to skim over these details so I could enjoy the action in this story.  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering at his mental stability!  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!


If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it motivates you to squeeze your fat body into your old uniform and you die from the shock to your system.  And when you die, you end up in limbo, all alone.  And since you’re alone, you go insane from the solitude.  And in your insanity, you try to fly, but can’t.  Instead, you’re left merged with the asphalt you fell onto at your failed effort to recreate Kitty Hawk.  Stuck in the asphalt, your soul wastes away until there is no you left and you fade out just as Ragnarök begins.  Yeah, it would suck to miss that so maybe you should tread lightly!  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  But hey, at least you got to see eternity pass you by as you fade into nothing.  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from up there!


Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!




–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.