posted on June 25, 2024 by Mike Krentz


POINTS OF ATTACK, the third novel in the Mahoney & Squire Military Women’s Fiction series, launches on June 25. It follows the personal and professional crises that face US Navy Captain Kate “Scarlett” Mahoney and Lieutenant Commander Jessica “Cricket” Squire.

Chapter One finds Kate re-qualifying in the F/A-18 Hornet, a powerful carrier-based fighter attack jet, eager to resume her life’s passion as a “Top Gun” Navy tactical jet pilot.

Here’s an excerpt:

Navy Captain Kate Mahoney, call-sign “Scarlett,” maneuvered the F/A-18 Superhornet into the initial approach for landing. She leveled the wings to line up the nose precisely on the midline of Runway 07. A quick glance out the cockpit to her one o’clock position took in the peaceful greenery over Mount Suribachi, the scene of a pivotal Pacific battle in World War II—when this island was called Iwo Jima. Kate squinted to glimpse the US flag flying at the spot of the iconic flag-raising photograph taken on February 23, 1945.

Show time, Scarlett.

Kate tightened her torso harness and latched the oxygen mask over her nose and mouth.

Seconds later, her young “nugget” wingman lined up his Hornet alongside hers at a proper interval. The two jets descended as one, then screamed over the runway at 500 mph. When she reached the opposite end, Kate gave her wingman the standard “kiss-off” gesture to indicate her solo turn into the traffic pattern. She recited aloud the mantra she’d learned years ago in flight school.


Kate jammed the stick hard to her left, rolling the aircraft into a ninety-degree banked level turn 500 feet over the terrain. The immediate 9-G force from the high-speed maneuver pressed her body into the ejection seat, and her vision tunneled from the abrupt reduction of blood flow. The anti-G trousers compressed her legs to push blood to her head. She growled the word “hook” and strained against the darkness on the edge of her vision.


Her left hand pulled the throttle back to reduce airspeed as her right hand eased the control stick to the right. The jet rolled out of its turn exactly 180 degrees to her original heading of 070. Kate popped out the speed brakes, eased further back on the throttle, and raised the aircraft’s nose to maintain level flight parallel to the runway.


Kate monitored her airspeed as it continued to bleed off to the proper landing envelope.


When the airspeed indicator showed the right number for safe gear deployment, she cycled the handles to drop the landing gear and tail hook into landing positions.

Abeam her expected touchdown point, she nudged the throttle back and began a slow left turning descent. Kate rolled the jet out of its turn to align the nose on the touchdown point, spotted the Fresnel lens “meatball” alongside the runway, noted her remaining fuel, and keyed her microphone to identify herself and report the jet’s fuel state.

“Hornet two one five, six point eight.”

The landing signal officer’s voice answered over the radio. “Hornet two one five, roger. Call the ball.”

“Roger ball.”

Kate relished the familiar feel on the controls as she worked throttle and pitch to keep the meatball centered between the reference lines. The ball dropped a bit when the jet crossed the runway’s edge. Kate eased the throttle forward just before the landing signal officer’s verbal advice on the radio.

“Little power.”

In seconds, the ball rose. Kate touched the throttle to lose just enough airspeed to keep the ball centered. She let the Hornet float the last few feet into the arresting wires. As soon as she felt the wheels touch asphalt, she jammed the throttle forward to full military power for an immediate takeoff if the tail hook failed to grab a wire.

The jet lurched to a sudden stop as the arresting gear yanked it back. Kate reduced the power to idle. When signaled clear of the wire, she raised the hook and expedited her taxi off the runway, just in time for her wingman to make his arrested landing behind her.

As she taxied her jet to the ramp, Kate allowed herself a fist pump. 


Early in her aviation career, “Scarlett” Mahoney often boasted she loved flying more than sex. Now in her early forties, she’d gone so long without either that she couldn’t vouch. She preferred actual control of an aircraft over flying a desk, no matter how important or career-enhancing the job. As for sex, Preston Davis remained eager to sponsor her re-entry. She’d not found the right occasion, or mood, in the two months since he’d surprised her by showing up on the pier from the US with her teenager son when USS Shenandoah returned to Yokosuka, Japan after a four-month deployment.

Kate had found flying easier, safer, and less daunting to resume.

In POINTS OF ATTACK, both Kate and Cricket face the most daunting challenges in their professional and personal lives.

Find out more on my website:


Mike Krentz

Mike Krentz

Mike Krentz writes medical suspense, psychological thrillers, and military fiction featuring complex characters and relationships.

Born and raised in Arizona, Mike earned a classical degree in English from the University of San Francisco, a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a Master of Public Health Degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Following a civilian career as an emergency physician, Mike rededicated his professional life to serve America's Navy and Marine Corps heroes and their families, and to honor their sacrifices in defending our freedom and way of life. His last active duty assignment was as 7th Fleet Surgeon on board the flagship, USS BLUE RIDGE.

After retiring from the US Navy, Dr. Krentz continued his service as a consultant supporting the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. Upon completion of that mission, he returned to his earliest life passion as a full-time writer.

Dr. Krentz sits on the Board of Directors of The Muse Writers Center, where he teaches fiction writing and leads an advanced fiction studio.

Mike's fiction works include the DR. ZACK WINSTON SERIES of medical conspiracy thrillers, the MAHONEY & SQUIRE SERIES of military women's adventure fiction, and a standalone psychological thriller, ANGELS FALLING.

You can find Mike online at:, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

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