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Please enjoy the Author Bio, Reviews, and an excerpt of Chapter One.  And I hope you will take a moment to sign the guestbook.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site!


My name is Walter "Jud" Ihlefield.  I am a Certified Advanced Open Water SCUBA diver and have a second Dan Certificate in Tae Kwon Do. I am not a former Navy SEAL, although I had my chance to become one of the Elite.  (I am proud to interject here, that I served the Navy during the 'Nam Conflict' and was Honorably Discharged and 'Highly Recommended for reenlistment.') Suffice it to say, when I describe a fight scene or take you under water with the Banshee, I have been there, and I have done that.

I am also a part of a group of people who search out those Spirits who, for numerous reasons, are trapped in this dimension.  We assist them in finding the Light and help them reach the next life.   So when I speak of the Spirit World in the pages of 'Banshee Rising,' I do have a certain knowledge of that realm.

As for the Studebaker.  I have been a member of the Studebaker Driver's Club since 1992 and am currently restoring a 1961 Studebaker Hawk.  I have a ton of reference material in this area, so you won't have to stop in mid-sentence to wonder about a statement made about that once glorious automobile manufacturer.

McCafferty Studebaker.

I wrote 'Banshee Rising' to tell a story.  A story I hope you will find interesting and exciting.  One that I hope will be hard for you to put down until it is finished.  But the main reason I want you to read it, is to give my characters and their small town 'life.'  I feel it would be a letdown to them if their existence was to stay only in my mind.  They need to grow.  They need to be shared by others who will see them and their surroundings and welcome them into their hearts.

I also realized that to write intelligently, one must read.  I made a demand on myself that if I put something on paper for you to read it had to be legitimate.   Therefore,  when I say the Studebaker-Packard Corporation closed its doors in March of 1966, you can accept that without having to consult the World Book Encyclopedia.  (Understand that there are certain aspects of SEAL activity that are forever forbidden to the general public, and therefore some speculation is allowed in that area.)

Inside the covers of 'Banshee Rising' there are a few things you will find a a few things you will not.  You will find people with flaws, people who honestly care for one another, and the fury of a former Navy SEAL when he gets pushed too far.  You will find language that is offensive to some, although I have kept it to a minimum,  (after all, we are reading about two former SEALs.)  You will find a Studebaker dealership that was converted to a restaurant, (And find out why everyone who eats there orders 'Whatever's in the pot.')   You will find love shared by Mitchell Parks (Banshee) and Dana Warren.

What you will not find is gratuitous sex.  There are subtle hints and suggestions of the love shared by Mitch and Dana, but I don't feel it is necessary to include sex scenes to sell books.

To sum it up; if I put it on paper, its the truth as well as I can tell it.  As my daddy used to say,  'If it's a lie, somebody else told it to me.'  The only exception to this 'rule' is the town of Bridgeway and its inhabitants.    They are fiction and have no reference in the 'real world.'

If you have any questions or comments, please  contact me at:

      By the way, there is another Banshee novel in the works.  Watch for it later this year.  And, all modesty aside, I've been told that 'Controlled Conclusion' is better than 'Banshee Rising.'

Thanks again,

And May God Bless



Reviews from across the country    

The following reviews are from people who have welcomed Banshee Rising into their home or office and allowed us the honor of quoting their thoughts.

Many thanks to each of you!

Reviewed by: Ardath Mayhar, Member SFWA, Texas

"I read it with excitement.  Your people ring true, the plot is tense and gripping, the writing is smooth, tense and very clean.  I will recommend this to others."

{Banshee Rising has been suggested for the Nebula Award}

Sincere thanks to you Ardath!

Reviewed by:  Suzanne Coleburn
The Belles and Beaus of Romance

BANSHEE RISING is a book you will devour in one sitting since once reading the first page you are hooked on Mitchell Parks' fascinating story as a former Navy SEAL, Codename: Banshee, and now local police officer in the small town of Bridgeway, Virginia.  From the minute Mitch discovers a young girl named Sara in his attic and resigns himself to find out who murdered her and her family it is an edge of your seat read.

Mitch's lady love, Detective Dana Warren, can't believe her eyes when she visits Mitch and sees Sara herself as Sara points them to a box in the attic that houses her diary and pictures. Before they know it they are embroiled in something bigger than they thought as they are attacked by men out to kill them when they are visiting another town's nightclub one evening.  At this time Dana gets a firsthand look at another side of Mitch as Banshee takes over and it scares the living daylights out of her.  Banshee is a part of Mitch and she has to make a decision if she can accept this or not or walk away.

Things start unraveling fast as Mitch and Dana lay some traps of their own in the town trying to get at the bottom of what happened to Sara and her family 30 years ago.  A former buddy in the SEALs, Owen, "Hawk" Taggert, helps Mitch and Dana fight a defense for their lives as a small town comes unglued at the seams when they start sticking their noses into what really happened to Sara's family.  It is shocking! The ending will knock your socks off!

As the story unfolds you are treated to some of Mitch's Native American heritage and the ways his grandfather Billy Parks taught him how to find the warrior inside which plays an important part of his being a Navy SEAL and his everyday life as a police officer.  It is all simply fascinating, and brings home to me how lucky we Americans are that we have such wonderful and dedicated men in the special forces as the SEALs to protect us and our country so well.

You also get a look at small town life and how everyone knows everyone's business and secrets, plus there is a marvelous look at the old Studebaker Hawk and other classic cars that I know will appeal to a lot of men.  A certain Yorky named Fetch adds a lot to the story too.

"Walter Ihlefield writes a knock out of a thriller that is fast paced; the action non-stop, a fascinating mystery involving spirits from the past, and the characters are in-depth and finely drawn to make BANSHEE RISING a MUST READ!  Mr. Ihlefield makes you feel like you are a part of the story as your race pell mell into danger with Mitch, Dana and Hawk.  Whew, I'm still shaking!"

Suzanne Coleburn, The Belles and Beaux of Romance

Reviewed by Denise M. Clark  (Author and book reviewer)

See additional reviews by Denise at:

*An excerpt*

   “Banshee Rising” is one of those books you start to read that dangles the bait, waits for you to bite, then reels you in. Despite the fact I had more pressing things to do besides read, I gallantly ignored them and finished this book in one sitting.  

    Mitchell Parks is a police officer in a small Virginia town. As a part Native American and former Navy SEAL who served in Viet Nam, Parks is already a formidable man. But wait until you meet his ‘other half’, Banshee – his code name while he was a SEAL.

    After discovering a ghost in his attic, Mitch and his partner/lover Detective Dana Warren begin looking into a 30-year-old mystery of a family's disappearance. Joining the hunt for the truth is Mitch’s former Navy SEAL buddy ‘Hawk’ Taggert. The trio discovers more than they bargained for as they uncover a trail of lies, drugs and murder that threatens not only to tear the small town apart, but one that leaves bodies and attempted murders in its wake.

    This exciting, page-turning book has everything going for it – mystery, action, romance, even a bit of the paranormal. A strong plot line and likable, if sometimes fearful characters, draws the reader into a world of revenge, regret and a single-minded pursuit for justice. Mr. Ihlefield has created not only compelling action, but characters struggling with a myriad of emotions, offering us a brief glimpse into the mindset of not only a fictional patriot, but one with the heart of a warrior and the honor and loyalty that defines today's veterans. My only complaint about this book? It ended.  

 Reviewed by Denise M. Clark - February 2002
Many thanks to you Denise, you have a wonderful site!

Reviewed by Linda Lange, an Ohio reader

*an excerpt*

It was easy to read.  The story plot flowed nicely.  Once I started reading, I didn't want to put it down.  I wanted to see what happened next and if my inclination of events to unfold were correct.  I must admit my instincts changed several times during the reading as the story plot takes several interesting turns.

Reviewed by: Lisa, managing editor of the book review cafe.

See an interview with the author at:

Rating:  5 cups of  Java

*an excerpt*

This book really fascinated me because of the name, 'Banshee Rising.'  I wondered what it could be about.  It turned out to be a really well written, well thought out story.  I hope the author continues with much success in his writing career.

Banshee is Navy SEAL, Mitchell Parks.  Next door neighbor, Edna, sees a young girl standing in Mitch's attic window. Edna knows it was Sara, a girl who dated her son when they were young.  The girl has been dead for over 30 years.  Mitch decides to see what she was doing there.  When Mitch was little, his grandfather taught him about The Spirit World, so he has no qualms about meeting her.

Sara made herself appear in Mitch's house because she knew he could help her.  She has a secret about her and her family.  Part of the secret is in her diary that has been hidden somewhere in the attic.

Mitch has the help of his friend Dana, and his old Navy buddy, Owen, aka The Hawk.  Mitch is going to investigate, and with the help of Sara guiding him in the right direction and his grandfather for Spirit guidance, hopefully they can keep him alive long enough to reveal all the secrets and crimes committed!

(Paul Lappen of Dead Trees Review)

"Mitchell Parks is a police officer in present-day small town Virginia.  He is also a former Navy SEAL, Codename Banshee.  He learned the ways of the warrior from his grandfather, a Lakota warrior, who raised him.  He is also troubled by bad dreams of a SEAl mission in Vietnam that went very wrong.

One day, Mitchell finds the ghost of a teenage girl in his attic.  Sara McaCafferty lived in town thirty years ago, until her father, Ian McCafferty, abruptly packed up the family and left town, never to be heard from again.  Ian was a very jealous sort who seemed to spend much of his time being a mean drunk.  Mitchell resolves to find her killer.

As Mitchell, Dana, his lover and fellow cop, and Owen Taggart, former SEAL dive buddy, begin to ask around town about the McCaffertys and start rattling cages, someone or something pushes back, hard, almost killing Mitch twice.  Some in town are not happy about old town happenings being resurrected.  The town is in something of a spiritual time warp, seemingly stuck in the 1960's; the preferred mode of transportation around town is the Studebaker.  The finger of suspicion point toward Clyde Meller, the police chief, and a drug deal thirty years ago that went bad.

This one is surprisingly good.  The author gives the feeling of (for want of a better term) knowing his way around; not just mystery writing, but also familiarity with police procedures, and what it's like to be a Navy SEAL.  The story is interesting, plausible and well done from start to finish.  I hope this is not the last of Mitchell Parks."

Reviewed by: Barbara Buhrer, MyShelf.Com

Edna Johnson reveals to Mitchell Parks that she "sees" Sara McCafferty in his attic window.  The McCafferty family had left Bridgeway suddenly 20 years ago and were never heard from again. Sara was engaged to Johnson's son, who was killed in Vietnam.  Edna asks Mitchell to "meet" Sara and find out what happened to the family and why she can't rest.

Mitchell is a police officer who was a Navy Seal with the code-name "Banshee". As a child he was trained by his grandfather, a Lakota warrior, in the ways of the Spirit World.  He has the ability to become invisible and his spirit--as Banshee--can become deadly.

With the assistance of Detective Dana Warren and his friend, Owen "Hawk" Taggert, also a former Seal, Mitchell probes into the past of the town to learn the truth of the disappearance of the McCafferty family.  Their search places them in peril.

This is a well-plotted story with enough details given so the reader can picture the town and its people.  You can experience the events as they happen. The characters are diverse and real.  This is a quick read with
the interest maintained throughout.

Excerpt  of Chapter One:

Banshee Rising
(copyright 2001)

by Walter (Jud) Ihlefield

   THE SALT WATER stung my eyes as the rubber raft headed for shore at full throttle in the dark. Our weapons were at the ready, our orders were clear; neutralize the enemy before he could escape. The raft hit the beach hard, throwing us forward onto the hard packed sand. My Motorola was away from my ear for a few seconds. I found the earpiece and inserted it. "Everyone okay?" I heard seven clicks through my earpiece. I keyed the mike again. "Spread and down. We wait for anyone who may have heard us come in."

   "What the hell kind of landing was that, L-T? I think a SEAL should drive from now on."

   The boat was backing away to wait for our return. The driver keyed the mike, "Sorry about that."

  "UDT drivers are the best in the business," I said.

   Hawk keyed the mike. "Bullshit."
  "I said I was sorry," came a voice, half apologetic, half angry.

  "Quiet," I demanded. "Driver, wait for us fifty out. When you get the word, come running. Hawk, stay here with Doc, Sugar Bear and Trumpet. The rest of you ladies, follow my lead."

   Hawk keyed the mike. "Roger, Banshee. Happy hunting."

   The knock on my front door brought my Yorky out of a sound sleep, waking me with his sharp, squealing bark. He brought me back to reality, back from Vietnam's Rung Sat Region of nearly thirty years ago. I was sweating. Always after the dream, I would wonder if I could have done something different that night. Something that would have saved the lives of three good SEALs.

   I put my robe over my naked body and went downstairs. Dana was standing on the porch looking through the oval window of the door. Since the window was sixty-eight inches from the floor of the porch, she had to stand on tiptoes to see into the house.

  Transferring from Richmond, Detective Dana Warren had joined our police department eight months ago. I didn't think we needed a detective in our small town, but as time passes, I find her expertise a real time saver.

   Shortly after she came to Bridgeway, we became involved in a relationship considered not strictly professional. In fact, we have spent a lot of time together, exploring each others dreams, beliefs and fantasies. It seemed natural for both of us. I'm forty-eight, she's forty-five. I've been on my own, more or less, since leaving the Navy and she has been alone since her husband died, twelve years ago.
    I opened the door, letting her and the warmth of the May morning into my house. She was dressed in jeans and an old, worn men's dress shirt, accenting her short, dark hair. Her piercing blue eyes were full of mischief this morning and I wondered what she was up to. She smiled, bringing the dimples in her cheeks to crisp pinpoints, and at the same time, bringing my blood close to the boiling point. It was, after all, early morning. I could be easily tempted.

    She bent forward with both hands on her knees and said in a voice she had picked for my Yorky, "Good morning, Fetch. How's the little one this morning?"
    Fetch swirled, jumped and squealed his greeting to her.

    She straighten and faced me, still using that voice. "Good morning, Mitch. Did I wake you up?"
    "Sort of." I yawned. "Why are you here so early? We don't have duty today."

    Ignoring my question, she asked, "How would you like a cup of tea?" She flipped a tea bag out of her shirt pocket. "Earl Grey."

    "Sounds good. I'll go brush my teeth and get dressed."

    She put her hand on my chest and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. "Brushing your teeth is a good idea, but don't get dressed on my account."   There was that smile again. This time tainted with just a hint of seduction.

    "I'll be down in a minute." I turned toward the stairs.

    "I'll have the tea ready for you." She turned toward the kitchen.
    When I entered the kitchen, more awake and fresh-mouthed, she handed me the tea and asked, "What's on for today?"

   "You're obviously here for a reason. What's on your mind?"

   "Why don't we work on your new house. What do you call it? A "Sherman" house?"
    I swallowed a mouthful of hot tea, bringing tears to my eyes. "Thurman," I corrected. "Thurman Bridges built eight houses from the same blueprints when he started Bridgeway. This is the only one that doesn't have the extended basement."

   "Maybe it does. Let's go have a look." She walked quickly to the basement door. "Maybe it's been walled up for some reason."

    We went down to the basement with her leading the way. "Why such an interest in my basement?"

   "I have a theory. If you take down the paneling, I'll bet you find it."
    Find What?"

    She grinned as if she had solved the mystery of the century.  Mark Dooleys Studebaker.


    "Mark's '63 Super Hawk."

    "You're insane" I said, shaking my head.     

     She put her hands on her hips, "I am not!"     
    "What makes you think his car is down here?"

    "Look at the facts." She counted off points on her fingers. "The Super Hawk sat in the showroom at Dooley's Studebaker until March of 1966, then it disappeared. Mark owned this house at that time. This is a "Thurman" house, yet there is a wall where the extended part of the basement is supposed to be. I bet if you take down that wall you will find his car."

    "Item one," I said. "Mark would not have sold this house if his Hawk was here."

     She shook her head. "You're a cop. Who better to sell it to?"

     "Item two; How would he get it down here?"

     She shrugged her shoulders and sneered.  "Take a left in the kitchen?"

     I took a sip of tea, this time letting the flavor of the bergamot fill my senses.

     "I have some bad news for you. Mark didn't own this house in '66. It belonged to a man named Ian McCafferty."

     She stepped back. "What?"

     "It's in the paperwork. The title search indicates that Mark bought it from the town. It sat vacant for five years, so in accordance with Bridgeway Town Articles, ownership reverted to the town in 1971. Mark bought it in 1972."


     "Watch your language. There's a small dog in the room."

     Fetch's ears perked up as we heard a noise upstairs. He squeal-barked as he bounced up the stairs. When Dana and I got the hallway, we saw Mrs. Johnson standing beside the hall tree. Fetch, at a mere seven inches tall, had Edna cornered.

She was a small woman in her sixties, barely five feet tall. Her hair was always perfectly kept in a small bun and you never saw her in any condition except what she called "publicly acceptable." She lived directly across the street in a large three story Victorian style home built in the late forties.

     "Good morning, Mrs. Johnson," I said as I picked up Fetch. "Have you met Detective Warren?"
     She didn't acknowledge either of us and seemed to be talking to herself. "I've seen her, you know."
     "You've seen who?"
     "Sara. Almost once a week she comes back."
     "Who is Sara?" I asked.
     She looked at me. "Sara McCafferty. The girl. The rest of them are gone, but she comes back. She and my young Henry were to be married. They had talked about it." Her face changed to one of sadness. "Henry died in Vietnam. Thursday, December 22, 1966."

     Dana gently put her hand on Edna's shoulder. "Where do you see Sara?"

     "In the attic." She pointed up. "Right up there in the front window."

     Mr. Johnson was coming up the walk. I wanted to ask more questions before he got to the door. "When was the last time you saw her?"

     "Last night. She was looking for my young Henry, I'm sure. Would you look at my attic window some nights and tell me if you see my son?"
     "How old is Sara?" Dana asked.

     "Sixteen. Just like when they left town."

     Mr. Johnson was at the door. "Edna? Are you bothering these people?"

     Edna looked at me wide-eyed and shook her head. "Don't say anything."

     I opened the screen door and extended my hand. "Good morning, Henry. Your wife was just telling me how nice a set of shears would look in my front windows." I winked at Edna.

     He put his arm around his wife's shoulder. "Come along, Dear. Let these young folks have their morning." He ushered her through the front door. "You go on back to the house. I'll be along."

     He watched her cross the street, then turned to face me. "Nice try, Mitchell." He hesitated, biting his lower lip. "She has it in her head that there is a ghost in your attic. Since Henry, Jr. died, she's been distant at times. Don't think too harshly of her, please. She's really as sharp as a tack. She just seems to obsess on the McCaffertys sometimes."

     "No harm done. I take it you haven't seen any ghosts?"

     He shook his head. "Not that I would believe it even if I did see one." He turned and followed Edna back to his house.

     I looked at Dana and pointed up. "Attic?"

     "You couldn't keep me down here now."

     She turned and went to the attic stairs. I wondered what she would do if the ghost of Sara appeared in front of us. For that matter, I wondered what I would do.

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