Gary R. Hall

The 5K Zone

First Review
   "A superbly crafted novel of complexity and richly developed character studies. "The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue" by master storyteller Gary R Hall is a memorably compelling read from beginning to end. Very highly reommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

   James A. Cox

   Editor-in-Chief

   Midwest Book Review

   278 Orchard Drive  Oregon, WI 53575

SECOND REVIEW

Reviewed By Janelle Fila for Readers’ Favorite

The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue by Gary R Hall is a historical fiction piece about the Russian occupation in Czechoslovakia. In 1945, Peter and Trudi were young and didn’t understand the politics of the life that they lived. But Peter was lucky enough to escape. In 1958, Peter returned to the Sudetenland, this time as a US Army Special Forces sergeant. As an adult, Peter’s political observations were much more acute than as a young boy living under Nazi control in the Sudetenland. His ideas about Nazism and oppressed people’s rights to land were less than conventional at that time. Remarkably, he ran into Trudi, who was in West Germany on a temporary pass. The two plotted Trudi’s family's escape from behind the deadly east-west border. Trudi has had a much harder life under Russian and Czech control. But with Peter back at her side, Trudi’s luck might just be turning for the better.

The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue is a very interesting and well-written historical novel. I was especially intrigued by this topic as my husband is from the Czech Republic. Much of what I read I related to him, and that led to many interesting historical conversations about his country’s history, Germany and Hitler, and the Russians. I loved the intrigue and danger present in this story, and also how Hall wasn’t afraid to show the dark and depressing side of this lifestyle. The 5K Zone didn’t sugar coat the truth, but that is one of the things that makes it a fascinating story.


THIRD REVIEW


Completed on:
04/09/2016
Review Rating:
5 Star Seal.

Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite

The 5K Zone by Gary R. Hall is a misleadingly arid but keenly knowledgeable and subtly gripping account of provocative, breathtaking events occurring in the Sudetenland – later known as Czechoslovakia. In 1944, Peter (11) and Trudi (12) two ethnic Germans living in the town of Tachau, described as “mature, pubescent children, full of life and ready to explore,” who experience the rare satisfaction of a perfect childhood friendship within the safe haven of a real but symbolic protective tree – the Blitzbaum - are silent witnesses to the onset of the German military defeat, the Russian occupation, and the violent atrocities committed by the Czechs and Russians who expel the local Germans, including Peter’s parents who pre-planned their son’s escape. In 1946, knowing that all the local ethnic Germans will be resettled in a Russian zone or East Berlin, Peter makes his solitary way to find the Americans or the British. He leaves behind the filmed proof of war crimes against the innocent, with a plan to eventually return. Trudi remained in Czechoslovakia with her German mother and Czech step-father.

In Gary R. Hall’s meticulously narrated and highly realistic tale, The 5K Zone, the reader feels less personally engaged than he feels himself to be a highly concerned observer, as if the outcome of Peter’s tremendous efforts to accomplish an agonizingly long term plan is completely predetermined, but inevitably unknown. And so the undeniable tension in this book is mostly beneath the surface, creating an anxiety in the reader that almost feels unconscious. One believes deeply in Peter and his determination to succeed, watching him become an educated man and then a Green Beret assigned to Germany for a covert mission. As he comes closer to attaining his final goal – recovery of those incriminating records and knowing the fate of his parents and the girl he left behind - the reader apprehensively and expectantly follows Peter one last time on his “run to the Blitzbaum.” And a most satisfying run it is.



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FOURTH REVIEW

Completed on:
04/14/2016
Review Rating:
4 stars. Reviewed By Marta Tandori for Readers’ Favorite

As the Second World War is winding down and the Russians liberate Sudetenland, the former borders are restored and an agreement is signed, which mandates the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Sudetenland, with very few being relocated to West Germany, and the vast majority to resettlement camps before being sent to East Germany where they will soon be under the control of the Russians. Being relocated to East Germany is the greatest fear Armin Ackerman has for his family and, while the agreement calls for an orderly and humane expulsion of the ethnic Germans, it turns out to be anything but that as homes are looted, women are raped, and men tortured, all of this documented in photographs by Armin. Fearing the worst, Armin and his wife decide to save their thirteen-year-old son from the horrible fate that awaits them. He slowly coaches and prepares his son, Peter, for his escape to the sector controlled by the U.S. where, hopefully, the Americans will help him reach America and a better life. A tearful Peter makes his escape, leaving behind his beloved parents and good friend, Trudi. Before leaving, Peter hides the photographs his father took, as well as some family heirlooms, jewelry, and other valuables in the forest near their home with the hope of returning one day to retrieve them and to reunite with his parents.

The 5K Zone by Gary R. Hall is an in-depth book of historical espionage that will have lovers of this genre hooked from the get-go. Entrenched in history, it provides a different perspective from the viewpoint of the ethnic Germans living in Czechoslovakia, close to the German border in an area known as Sudetenland, in the aftermath of the Second World War. It is obvious to anyone who reads the book that the author, Hall, has spent painstaking hours researching the history that is the backdrop for The 5K Zone. The attention to detail gives the story an air of authenticity that brings the characters to life and gives them substance. A reader only has to close his or her eyes and picture themselves almost as a participant living within the story rather than being merely a reader sitting on the sidelines. The character of Peter is quite compelling. There’s a single-minded determination to his character, even as a young boy making his way through the darkened forest in his escape from his homeland. He exhibits the same single-minded determination as he matures to adulthood, never losing sight of his dream, which is admirable, to say the least. Hall’s vivid descriptions make for a compelling read.
Reviewed By Marta Tandori for Readers’ Favorite

As the Second World War is winding down and the Russians liberate Sudetenland, the former borders are restored and an agreement is signed, which mandates the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Sudetenland, with very few being relocated to West Germany, and the vast majority to resettlement camps before being sent to East Germany where they will soon be under the control of the Russians. Being relocated to East Germany is the greatest fear Armin Ackerman has for his family and, while the agreement calls for an orderly and humane expulsion of the ethnic Germans, it turns out to be anything but that as homes are looted, women are raped, and men tortured, all of this documented in photographs by Armin. Fearing the worst, Armin and his wife decide to save their thirteen-year-old son from the horrible fate that awaits them. He slowly coaches and prepares his son, Peter, for his escape to the sector controlled by the U.S. where, hopefully, the Americans will help him reach America and a better life. A tearful Peter makes his escape, leaving behind his beloved parents and good friend, Trudi. Before leaving, Peter hides the photographs his father took, as well as some family heirlooms, jewelry, and other valuables in the forest near their home with the hope of returning one day to retrieve them and to reunite with his parents.

The 5K Zone by Gary R. Hall is an in-depth book of historical espionage that will have lovers of this genre hooked from the get-go. Entrenched in history, it provides a different perspective from the viewpoint of the ethnic Germans living in Czechoslovakia, close to the German border in an area known as Sudetenland, in the aftermath of the Second World War. It is obvious to anyone who reads the book that the author, Hall, has spent painstaking hours researching the history that is the backdrop for The 5K Zone. The attention to detail gives the story an air of authenticity that brings the characters to life and gives them substance. A reader only has to close his or her eyes and picture themselves almost as a participant living within the story rather than being merely a reader sitting on the sidelines. The character of Peter is quite compelling. There’s a single-minded determination to his character, even as a young boy making his way through the darkened forest in his escape from his homeland. He exhibits the same single-minded determination as he matures to adulthood, never losing sight of his dream, which is admirable, to say the least. Hall’s vivid descriptions make for a compelling read." />



CUSTOMER REVIEW       

Gary,
 
I enjoyed your book and your character development of Peter as he transitions from his post WWII occupied homeland through his return to liberate his friend. This was a nice complement to my previous read “While Still We Live” by Helen MacInnes that detailed Polish occupation and hardships at start of WWII.
 
Regards,
Larry Burge
Library Place Apt
Everett, WA

 

Sent from Windows Mail

 

                                                                                                                                             

First Review (complete notification)

Dear Mr. Hall: 

I'm very pleased to announce that the January 2016 issue of our online book review magazine "Small Press Bookwatch" features a review of "The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue". 

Here is the review: 

Small Press Bookwatch: January 2016
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575
 

The Fiction Shelf 

The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue
Gary R. Hall
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
www.outskirtspress.com
9781478763864, $23.95, PB, 364pp,
www.amazon.com 

Synopsis: Peter Ackerman and Trudi Kehle were children in 1945 when the Russians occupied the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland. Peter escaped as a boy and structured his life to enable a return to find his parents and evidence of horrific ethnic German expulsions. In 1958 Peter returned as a US Army Special Forces sergeant. When he found Trudi, quite accidentally, on her temporary pass in West Germany, they plotted her family escape from behind the east-west border. In his young life, Peter has the unique experience of life under Nazi control in the Sudetenland, the American military in West Germany, as a refugee boy on a post-war West German hops farm and as a displaced person in America. All before he returns to his homeland. His observations about rights to land, oppressed people and Nazism that he gained through that experience is enlightening. Trudi's life, under Russian and Czech control, has been depressing. When her mother's Czech husband died, they were hopelessly stranded as second-class citizens. Only Trudi's athletic ability and her administrative assistant job with a Russian Colonel made her life bearable. Finding Peter changed everything for her. Peter's entry into, and their dual escape from Czechoslovakia were both lucky and the result of their determination and ingenuity.

 

Critique: A superbly crafted novel of complexity and richly developed character studies, "The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue" by master storyteller Gary r. Hall is a memorably compelling read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The 5K Zone: Cold War Border Intrigue" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

You have complete permission to utilize the review in any manner you deem useful for marketing and promotion.  

Additionally, this review will be archived on our Midwest Book Review website for the next five years at http://www.midwestbookreview.com 

Please send an email notification to my attention at MWBOOKREVW@AOL.COM for your future titles as they are published and become available to the reading public.

This book was written by Gary R Hall from Everett, WA, in the year 2015.