Writing is most effective when the author knows his subject intimately. Comprehensive research is vital when undertaking a subject from the past. Having lived the experience described in a book is paramount preparation for putting compelling words on paper.
Hank Manley has authored three nonfiction books, ten action adventures, and two historical novels. He and his wife Gretchen have fished for marlin and sailfish around the globe. Together they were the first couple to catch more than 1,000 billfish in a single year including a black marlin that weighed over 1,000 pounds.Hank was the first angler in the history of the world to catch all five species of billfish in one day. These rich adventures led to the books A Grand Quest and Beyond the Green Water. Returning from the Bahamas aboard their boat Escapade in the 1980s during the height of the drug smuggling days, Hank and Gretchen were assaulted by weapon-brandishing Drug Enforcement Administration officers in high-speed craft. Fortunately, Hank was not required to unleash his shouldered Uzi before the frightening crisis was resolved. Afterward, he was offered a position as an undercover agent for the DEA.
This intense encounter resulted in the riveting trilogy Bahama Snow, Bahama Payback and Bahama Reckoning. Protagonists Morgan and Rhonda Early first battle corrupt DEA agents while taking down a cocaine smuggling operation in the Bahamas. Next the intrepid couple struggle against crooked Bahama Defense Force members seeking to reestablish their drug empire. In the final book, the two heroes encounter the methodically evil Victor Torres in his Colombian mountain retreat. The three books paint an accurate picture of the tumultuous and treacherous days of drug smuggling in the Bahamas in the 1980s. Readers will enjoy Morgan’s cleverness, Rhonda’s beauty and resourcefulness and the evilness of the bad guys as they vie for supremacy in these, rollicking, page-turning tomes.
Hank’s experience as a United States Marine Platoon Leader Candidate in Quantico, Virginia lends authenticity to his compelling historical novel A Legacy of Honor. The grandfather of the Morgan Early in the Bahama trilogy is born in 1900 in Arizona. The orphan lad becomes a man in the harsh mountains of Colorado working on a ranch. He battles a mountain lion, a grizzly bear and the mysterious behavior of the rancher’s daughter before leaving to join Pancho Villa’s Mexican army. When America enters World War I, Morgan enlists in the Marine Corps and fights heroically at Belleau Woods where the action is vividly and accurately described. He journeys to the Bahamas and engages successfully in the rum-running trade during the American failed experiment with Prohibition. The process and details of the enterprise are painstakingly researched to deliver the reader an accurate and fascinating picture of the many ways liquor was smuggled into the United States.
Morgan is recalled into the Marines at the outset of WW II and is involved in the invasion of Tarawa. Hank’s careful research into the first Marine landing against a hostile beachhead will awe the reader with its authenticity and detail. Wounded, Morgan returns home to his family in the Bahamas and is forced to deal with the painful legacy his life of honor bequeaths to his two sons. The conclusion to this can’t-put-down novel is both heart wrenching and ultimately uplifting.An extended visit to Ireland provided the opportunity for first-hand research into the little understood Irish potato famine which is the opening setting for Hank Manley’s second historical novel No Famine of Spirit. Young Daniel McCarty must find a way to survive the crushing famine where Ireland’s population shrank from eight million to four million beleaguered inhabitants.
The boy survives the long, hazardous journey to New York where his mother is killed by one of the prolific street gangs. The process of the brutal migration is accurately depicted for the reader’s edification. He then flees the city and sails to Richmond, Virginia where he falls in love with Hallie, the daughter of a plantation owner. The proprietor inveigles Daniel’s enlistment into the Confederate Army to keep the itinerant lad from seeing his daughter. Daniel fights at Gettysburg where the pitiless battle is described in detail including the multitude of munitions employed and their devastating effect on the flesh of the combatants. Following the fall of Richmond, Daniel returns to learn his beloved Hallie and their son have both died in a fire. Heart-broken, he wanders west to assemble a cattle herd and drive the steers to Abilene, Kansas. On the dusty streets of the nascent town, in the midst of a gunfight, Daniel learns the truth about his family. Readers will revel in the exciting conclusion to this tense, well written story.
A new character is introduced in The Gringa. Jane Hall is unemployed and overqualified for most jobs. She is introduced to the world of cocaine and decides to become the dominant distributor in South Florida. She invents the Dominatrix character called simply “the Gringa” to strike fear into her adversaries’ hearts. The story faithfully describes the cocaine manufacturing process and the distribution networks as the protagonist works her way up the hierarchy from street peddler to a local supplier to ultimately the Colombian source. Along the way Jane is assaulted, humiliated and deceived, but she learns to summon her intelligence and resolve to defeat her enemies. An eclectic series of topics allow author Hank Manley to bring Morgan and Rhonda Early back for the readers’ further enjoyment in four additional novels. Adoption is common in the United States, except the most sought-after child, a blonde, blue-eyed boy is extremely rare. Not, however, on the Bahama island of Spanish Wells where the descendants of the Eleuthera Adventurers live in near isolation today.
Visiting Spanish Wells with blonde, blue-eyed Warren, the Early’s discover to their horror that their son is missing. Later the police report the boy drowned, and his body is available in a sealed casket for a return to the United States. In Coral Cemetery, Morgan and Rhonda must uncover the ring of child thieves stealing boys in the Bahamas and transporting them to Florida for sale to desperate families seeking children. Terrorism is the theme of Fundamental Behavior. Morgan and Rhonda must unravel the nefarious designs of a group seeking to inflict horrendous damage to South Florida on a scale that will dwarf the 9/11 attacks. Rhonda and Morgan are called to the Bahamas by their friend Daisy Bain. Male guests are found dead in their beds at the Bimini Bay Resort. Bewildering evidence is found on the victims’ bodies. Different beautiful women are observed with the men on the casino videotapes, but there is no evidence the women were in the rooms. In Vengeance, Morgan and Rhonda struggle to learn the identity of the killer or killers.
A single item of physical evidence is available for analysis. Is this enough to prevent additional killings? The massive influx of drugs across the Rio Grand into the United States, including the corresponding flood of weapons into Mexico to arm the traffickers, is the subject of The Iron River novel. Hank’s extensive research into the flow of cocaine for automatic rifles brings the reader intimate and accurate knowledge of the simpatico relationship between the drug dealers and the arms suppliers. Morgan and Rhonda must infiltrate the murderous Mexican gang which culminates in a dramatic firefight at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. Readers desirous of well-written, authentic, action-filled stories will enjoy the novels of author Hank Manley. His research and personal experiences ensure dramatic and believable presentations of the settings and the characters. You will love to love the good guys and love to hate the bad guys. If you care to take the time to leave a review, the author will be very appreciative.