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Killing Ground

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A pilot comes to Africa to save his friend, and ends up fighting for elephant safety. Some romance, lots more action.

Life sometimes requires us to make difficult decisions regarding the basic principles we uphold. These decisions may or may not fall within the bounds of legality, and engaging in them could, while saving the world or some segment of it, incur significant risk to life and property. In his book ‚ÄúKilling Ground,‚ÄĚ Phil Bowie explores these topics and more through the lens of elephant poaching.


It begins with an elaborate description of these beautiful animals as they communicate with each other and realize the threat of approaching humanity and its weapons. We then are introduced to Ezekiel (Zeke) Blake, who has just been fired from his job and is coming to grips with this when he learns that his ex-girlfriend’s brother has gone missing in Tanzania. Because of his flying expertise, Zeke is called on to visit the organization for whom Ben Stone, the brother, worked to glean what knowledge he can of the disappearance. 


When he arrives in Tanzania, Zeke learns of a poaching operation run by Islamic terrorists and headed by a ruthless Chinese woman. He also discovers that some in the nonprofit organization for whom Ben worked are working under the name ‚ÄúMambas,‚ÄĚ incidentally one of the most toxic and fast-striking snakes in the world, to sniff out and disarm these poachers through any means necessary.¬†


Though action-packed, this story presents a nuanced look at the serious problem of overkilling elephants for their still valuable tusks. As seen in the beginning, there are vivid character descriptions of these amazing animals, as well as the landscape they inhabit. We get a birds-eye view of all this as it unfolds and Zeke uses his incredible flying acumen, which had landed him a potentially lucrative but less satisfying job in the United States, to help deal a major blow to the terrorists.


The novel overall is pretty good. It features implied sex scenes and a blossoming love, friendships and professional relationships challenged by not fully thought out actions, and a decisive ending. I would recommend it to anyone wishing to get a better understanding of the problems caused by poaching in this part of the world, and to those who enjoy high-flying, clearly well-researched thrillers. 

Reviewed by

‪An avid reader, I have consumed books of many genres. I have reviewed several on my blog, including a few author requests because they know of my potential to reach varied audiences. I also do mini-reviews via Twitter and tag the author if available. ‬

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About the author

I'm a lifelong freelancer with 300 sales to magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest, and Harper's. I have four series action/suspense novels out, endorsed by bestsellers Lee Child, Ridley Pearson, and Stephen Coonts. I live in New Bern, NC, by the wide Neuse River. view profile

Published on November 15, 2019

Published by

90000 words

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by