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Engage at Dawn: First Contact

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Engage at Dawn: First Contact is an exciting and engaging, action-packed story that is easy-to-read and hard to put down!

The story unfolds as two exciting, interwoven strands: the search for a possible extraterrestrial vehicle and drug smugglers trying to recover their ship full of product that was accidentally destroyed when the alien ship materialized near it in waters off Key West. As I had previously read the prequel to this book, Vis Major, I knew some of what to expect in the extraterrestrial plotline, and I almost squealed with delight when the "old beachcomber" and shack finally appeared. The drug smugglers' plot is also exciting and very intense. I realized I was holding my breath at several points along the way, such as when the crew was working with a bomb and while Frankle and Bell were watching the path to the escape boat at the terrorists' hideout awaiting the "GO" signal.


I loved the peek inside the Coast Guard's operations and appreciate the "civilianization" of some of the dialogue to make it easier to understand what was going on. There were so many new and interesting things mentioned along this line that I googled quite a few phrases or object names for more information. For example, the mention of the 'fouled anchor' incorporated in the Kauai's crest is a very familiar image, yet one that has its own story and tradition I'd never known. The author writes excellent banter and includes some fun yet cynical and slightly irreverent jesting regarding military nomenclature.


I also appreciated the depiction of the Kauai's crew as robust individuals with lives and concerns outside their duty stations. The crew is comprised of both male and female members, and I thought the various working relationships were natural and true-to-life. I quickly connected with the characters and empathized with how they worried about balancing home life with their careers.


ENGAGE AT DAWN: FIRST CONTACT is very well written, which made this exciting and action-packed story easy-to-read and hard to put down. It can be read solo, but I highly recommend starting with the prequel, Vis Major, which is the flipside story (the aliens' point-of-view); it is excellent. I was delighted to see that there is a sneak preview of the next book in the series, Engage at Dawn: Seize and Destroy, included at the end of this volume. So, YAY! More to come! I recommend this book and series to readers that enjoy military adventure stories, Coast Guard-themed fiction, and first contact tales.


I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advance Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

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I love to read and hook up others with books that they might enjoy. I like genre fiction with a weakness for cozies, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and westerns. My professional background is in law enforcement, fire, water, and environmental education. I have basset hounds and ham radio is a hobby.

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About the author

Edward Hochsmann is a retired U. S. Coast Guard search and rescue and law enforcement professional and author of the new sci-fi action-adventure novel Engage at Dawn: First Contact. The veteran mariner, aviator, college professor, and defense analyst has added “author” to his list of experiences. view profile

Published on September 15, 2020

80000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Science Fiction

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