Author: Joseph D'Antoni
Publisher: Royal Oak Press
In his debut novel, Silent Sanction: A Novel (The Wade Hanna Series) (Volume 1) set in New Orleans during the early 1960's, Joseph D'Antoni narrates a poignant tale of a teenager, Wade Hanna, who, by the time he reaches the age of nineteen, has become involved in a few risky and harrowing undertakings that could have easily cost him his life.
Growing up in a dysfunctional upper-middle-class family, Wade's childhood life was not exactly a bowl of cherries. He was often beaten with a straight razor strap by his father whenever he made a mistake, forgot something, or was the cause of a problem. He was expected to be perfect in whatever he did, however, his father offered little advice as to how to achieve excellence. Wade's mother was half Irish and half Cajun, who had an Irish temperament and a drinking problem. Most days her drinking began in mid-morning and went on until she went to bed. Unfortunately, Wade was also subjected to scathing beatings at her hands when she was plastered.
Ironically, Wade's first break and turning point in his young life came when he and his parents were informed that he would not be permitted to attend the next level of Catholic School education after he completed his fifth grade due to his behavioural problems. Upon following the advice of a local parish priest, who was a family friend, Wade enrolled in a new experimental school that was accepting problem children. As the school was located a considerable way from his home, Wade would have to stay with an aunt and her family. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as his previous tormented environment dramatically changed for the better. The beatings stopped and there were no longer problems at home.
Wade did very well at his new school and managed to keep out of trouble even though there had been a close call with a possible involvement with a young female gang member who had taken a liking to him. In fact, Wade had done so well in school that he was sent back to the regular school system where he again excelled in his studies as well as in athletic activities. During his spare time, Wade worked in a garage where he applied himself to learning about internal combustion engines as passionately as he did about football. It was here where he would work on a 1933 Chevy that he had purchased for a low price.
To secure the reconstruction parts for his car Wade contacted a friend that he had known since grammar school. Little did he realize at the time that this reconnection would lead him down a path that would eventually mean agreeing to accepting a task as an uncover operative which would have enormous consequences. After completing his role as an secret agent, Wade joins the Navy Reserve where he becomes involved with the submarine reserve unit. This in turn leads him to partake in a voyage that might have turned out to be his last of his young life.
D'Antoni has a good
storytelling gift thanks to his expertly voiced narration and his
skilled evocation of time and place particularly around the era of
the Cuban Missile Crisis, which makes for an immensely readable
novel. And although you might not understand every detail of
D'Antoni's information about submarines and naval encounters, which
may seem at times too contrived, nevertheless the fact that it has
been included, gives this part of the novel a strong dimension.
That being said, it would have been preferable if D'Antoni had focused more on fully developing Wade's chilling struggles as a covert agent rather than delve into his naval exploits. There was certainly ample unfinished business to include in the yarn pertaining to these dangerous undertakings that would have been sufficient for the book and surely would have maintained readers' interest. The naval escapades could have been set aside for a sequel.
I am looking forward to reading more from this up-and-coming author and a sequel as hinted in the last few pages of the novel as well as the title.
Follow Here To Purchase Silent Sanction: A Novel (The Wade Hanna Series) (Volume 1)