Rewards and Reviews

Awards

The Gomorrah Principle, by Rick DeStefanis is a riveting tale written with the skill and precision. In this genre blend, DeStefanis proves that he is a force to be reckoned with in the literary world. The plot is well crafted, and the pacing is spot-on. Once people read it, I think word of mouth will make DeStefanis a must-read for anyone who enjoys recent history, war stories, mysteries, and romance.
Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Book Awards

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The Gomorrah Principle is the winner of the prestigious Readers’ Favorite 2014 Silver Medal Award for military fiction.The Gomorrah Principle works…I know it’s something I’ll remember.
Samantha  Rivera for Readers’ Favorite

Valley of the Purple Hearts is the winner of the 2017 Best Indie Book Award for Literary Mainstream Fiction. Read more here.

BIB

The Gomorrah Principle Reviews

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  I would have to say it is one of the best books I have read in years
By Hirsberg “Pink Tower OB” on  April 16, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
From the very first chapter I could not put this book down. I would have to say it is one of the best books I have read in years. The book is beautifully written and very suspenseful . I read this book while I was on vacation at the beach and each day I could not wait to get back to the book. The characters and the settings we so well described I felt like I knew the people and the places. I could tell a lot of research went into the writing of this book. I can not wait for his next book. A+++ A 5 star!

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 Great story of friendship, love & war!
By Chris on  April 3, 2015
Format: Paperback
Life jumps off the pages! Whether its the hills of Tennessee, the jungles of ‘Nam, Music City USA or Saigon there is excitement and drama to keep you turning the pages. I found myself wondering if Brady would ever love again, who his real enemies were and if he would discover what happened to his childhood best friend.
I was instantly hooked. Brady, the good-ole country boy from the Tennessee hills, grew up learning to hunt and knowing right from wrong in the hard-working blue-collar mining country. Leaving his girl friend to find out about his best friend’s (her brother) death makes us ache for him and her both. Understanding our God-given tendencies gives Brady the edge he needs in landing in a position to find out what he wants to know only to put his life at risk.
I highly recommend getting a copy and joining Brady Nash on his quest through love, war and government espionage to find out what happened to Duff Cowan. Thanks Rick DeStefanis for this exciting book!

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 love, etc.
By michele on March 9, 2015
Format: Paperback
The author’s thought-provoking mention of Richard Connell’s, “The Most Dangerous Game,” offered the audience a literary comparison. Connell is unquestionably known for his ability to successfully blend literary devices and use various types of genre to capture his audience attention. Rick DeStefanis offers a similar composition which allows him to appeal to a broader, nonspecific, audience base. Whether or not, you are attracted to war, mystery, action-adventure, suspense, thriller, love, etc., DeStefanis brings it home in his all-captivating, spellbound, masterpiece, “The Gomorrah Principle.” –Michele C.

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 5  Best Vietnam experience in print
By Steve Scattum on April 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition: Verified Purchase
Excellent in all categories, suspense personified thru out book, a must read, one of the best I’ve read for sure Super! 

Melody Hill Reviews by Amazon.com Readers

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 Take a journey to Vietnam by way of Melody Hill May 6, 2015
By Carol Carlson
Format: Kindle Edition
Driving to work this past Monday, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been away for a long time, like on an extended trip to some exotic place. I felt disconnected to everything around me. But I had not been anywhere. In fact, I’d spent the weekend at home reading Melody Hill. That’s when I realized that it was Vietnam I was thinking about. I felt like I’d been there, and now needed to readjust to being home and going to work. All day my mind would drift, wondering what was happening to Duff, Roland, and the rest of the guys back in Vietnam.

Okay, perhaps I was losing my mind. But this is how realistic Rick DeStefanis’s writing feels. At the time, I was only halfway through the book, and it was difficult to pull myself out of the story and go about my normal life. I’d say that’s a rare kind of writing talent, since I’m not commonly known to confuse my suburban life with the sweltering jungles of Vietnam, circa 1967.

As the prequel to Rick’s first novel, The Gomorrah Principle, Melody Hill is the satisfying answer to all that was previously uncertain or unexplained, introducing the characters as they are just becoming the people we came to know in the original story. This is exactly the ‘back story’ a prequel should be. But this one is so much more. In its own right, Melody Hill is a war story (much more so than The Gomorrah Principle), it’s a love story – two love stories actually, it’s a coming of age, finding your way, good vs evil, who do you trust, band of brothers, family loyalty, searching for truth kind of story. Read more ›

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 you always get great writing. That writing makes you feel as if … May 1, 2015
By Ellen Morris Prewitt
Format: Kindle Edition
From the first sentence of Melody Hill—”Duff Coleridge stood over a freshly killed deer, one he hadn’t meant to kill.”—you know things will not proceed as expected. With author Rick DeStefanis, you always get great writing. That writing makes you feel as if you’re in Vietnam, living the dangers along with Duff. We’re there when Duff meets the gorgeous Lynn Dai Bouchet (“a woman as beautiful and complicated as the country she called her own.”) and the evil Spartan. Duff quickly finds himself entangled in something he doesn’t understand, where he must navigate not just the dangers of combat, but the traps of corruption and betrayal as well.
For those who have read The Gomorrah Principle, Melody Hill is an opportunity to again spend time with Brady and Lacey, getting to know their relationship better. For those new to the series, after reading Melody Hill, you’ll want to quickly run out and find The Gomorrah Principle to keep the story going.

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 Thoroughly enjoyed it! May 4, 2015
By Myates
Format: Paperback
Having read The Gomorrah Principle a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find that Rick DeStefanis has completed the prequel to it. Melody Hill recounts the story of Duff Coleridge and the swirling web of truths and lies that define the U.S. participation in the Vietnam war. Duff’s unintentional venture into the corruption that existed amid that “war on communism” parallels the manner in which evil often lies its way into the lives of “good” people. The contrasts seen in the life of Melody Hill and the hamlets of Vietnam add tension as the plot unfolds to reveal how completely foreign this warring country is to Duff, yet his ability to see some of the people he meets as honest and true men show his acceptance of the Vietnamese people as equals whose lives have value.
I thoroughly enjoyed Melody Hill as well as The Gomorrah Principle and look forward to this Mississippi writer’s next fictional adventure.

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 DeStefanis hits it out of the park… May 4, 2015
By Brian
Format: Kindle Edition
It Is always hard to write a sequel as good as the first and a prequel is even harder, but DeStefanis delivers a great read. Even though he had to write within the time constraints of The Gomorrah Principle, he delivers a great back story to Duff, one of the original characters and does so with believability and that is something I pick apart in most thrillers. If it is not believable then I lose interest, but this book really details the early days with multiple story lines and most of all, we find out just how Duff finds his way, for better or worse. His vivid descriptions make it easy for the reader to imagine the surroundings as if you are there and you can really connect with the characters. Even though this series is listed as military thrillers, the story is about more. It’s about life, morals, devotion and love. You won’t regret this book. I actually read it twice. Job well done.

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Light to Moderate Tornadoes with Scattered Cats

Light to Moderate Tornadoes

January 11, 2020

Sometime Around 5:00 a.m. Saturday Morning

The Cedar View Community, DeSoto County, Mississippi

My yellow male labrador retreiver busted out of his laundry room digs Saturday morning and ran back to our bedroom where he jumped on the bed and began licking my face and whining. Do you know what it’s like to be awakened from a deep sleep with a big mutt licking your face? I cussed him, but my wife Janet said she thought she heard distant thunder. Blondie (yes, my dog is named after a big Swede paratrooper army buddy who had that name) has experienced many thunder storms without acting like a wussy, so I got up, stumbled into the family room and turned on the TV.

And of course, while I’m trying to punch up the TV channel, my cotton pickin’ cell phone starts some kind of screaming claxon warning. Technology! Damned it, Jones. Gimme a break. Anyway, sure enough, there it was, a tornado warning with a big red cone coming our way—Hernando, Lewisburg, Cedar View and Olive Branch. I went to the back door, opened it and got stampeded by a heard of cats running between my legs. All this before my first cup of coffee…D#~!!! What can I say? I am NOT a %&$ morning person…at least not before a half-pot of coffee.

So anyway, shortly thereafter the TV and the power went blip and we were suddenly and irrovocably left in the inky black predawn darkness. I told my wife to get into the interior hallway and close all the doors.  I went to the front door and walked out on the porch (It’s something us rednecks do when we ain’t sayin’ “Here, hold my beer.”). Yeah, there was a little lightning, but it seemed quiet…..at first.

Only then did the tornado sirens begin wailing. We hear them test once a week, every week, but there’s no comparison when you know it’s the real thing. Kinda makes the hair crawl on your neck. The practice sirens remind me of sniper school back at Fort Bragg–no comparison to the real thing. Back in my railroading days, I once had to jump from a speeding locomotive when its brakes failed. Never since has there been a roller coaster or carinval ride that can increase my heart rate.

So, I’m on the porch, and a warm and somewhat pleasant wind is blowing in my face and I’m thinking WTF? This is pretty nice for January. The wind chimes are tinkling gently…but then from the somewhere down to the southwest I hear it. At first, it was distant. It was an ominous thundering roar, and it sounded like an F-4 Phantom fighter jet on continuous afterburner. It was a long way off, but enough to convince me standing on the front porch might not be the brightest thing I ever did. So, I joined Janet in the hallway. With pillows over our heads, we waited and she began talking, but I told her to wait! I thought I could hear it. Yes, even though we were now in the interior hallway, I could hear it. It was getting closer.

Within a minute the roaring thunder was upon us, that fast, the house literally quaked, our ears popped and loud thumps began coming from debris hitting the outside walls and roof. I was pretty certain we were about to view the night sky minus our roof. And that was when my dear wife said it. Yes, she really did.

“It sounds like a freight train,” she said.

I looked out from beneath my pillow at her.

“I can’t believe you really said that.”

“Well, it does,” she said.

I stood and tossed my pillow at her.

“Where are you going? You can’t go out there!”

“Listen,” I said.

The only remaining sound was the now fading roar of the tornado as it moved away to the northeast.

“It’s over.”

And it was…that fast.

I switched on my flashlight and went to take a look. As I went to the front door, I noticed one of the cats huddled on a dining room chair. She looked like she had been plugged into a wall socket.

“Buttercup?” I said.

She let out a long and pained, “MEEEOOOOOWWW.”

I opened the front door, but that was a ‘no-go.’ The topmost limbs of an oak tree, that only moments before had been sixty or seventy feet off the ground, were now blocking the door and porch, along with a pile of rocking chairs and such. The root-ball of the same tree had also torn a gaping hole in the driveway when it fell. A four by twelve foot section of asphault was gone.

Nothing but a mess.

After a few minutes checking things with the flashlight, I realized we had barely escaped a major disaster. The roof remained largely intact, although it appeared to have been ‘sand-blasted.’ We were unhurt and the critters, although somewhat frazzled, were all accounted for.

I checked on several neighbors and everyone was okay. In our front and back yards, at least four huge oaks, three of them at least four-feet in diameter, were down, along with a big elm and several mature cedars. The fences were gone. The ceiling fan on the back deck was stripped and what trees that were left were decorated for tornado season with strips of pink home insulation. Even my Jimmy Buffet, “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere” sign was shattered.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere…..

There’s a three-foot diameter oak tree about sixty-feet behind the house. Its trunk is twisted like a giant cork-screw. There is another that is at least four-feet in diameter that is snapped off thirty feet above the ground. I’ll be chain-sawing when the cows come in, but I absolutely refuse to whine. NO! No way. We’ve got neighbors in the area whose homes are flat as flitters.

Pink Insulation…the decoration for Tornado Season

I had two life-long friends, Ted Spence and Mike Thron, drive down from Memphis and after a day’s work clearing debris and puttin up temporatry fences, we didn’t put a dent in the damage, but we celeberated with a bottle of Evan Williams single barrel bourbon. I’m gonna buy a couple more chains for the saw and celebrate more in the coming weeks. There’s nothing like the adrenaline high of dodging a bullet.

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