Chords of War by Christopher Meeks and Sam Gonzalez Jr.Chords of War by Christopher Meeks and Sam Gonzalez Jr.

Publisher: White Whisker Books (Sept 30, 2017)
Category: Military Fiction, Literary Fiction, Music Fiction
Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-9863265-2-3
Available in Print & ebook, 275 pages
Chords of War

The Chords of War is the tale of punk rock teenager Max Rivera from Florida, who seeks purpose as he tries to understand why his life always teeters between music and mayhem. After he’s kicked out of his band on tour, he joins the Army to change his life.

It’s after 9/11, and he finds himself under fire in Iraq, part of the surge in Baquabah. In order to deal with his teen angst and raging hormones among daily patrols, coordinated battles, and women fighting alongside him, Max creates a new band with soldiers. Will Max and his friends survive? How did he get to this point in his life?

The novel was inspired by the true-life Iraq adventures of Samuel Gonzalez, Jr. His life, and this book, reflects the story of a punk rocker who, after being kicked out of his Florida band, joins the Army and experiences the surge in Iraq in 2007.

Rutgers University professor Peter Molin, who teaches contemporary war fiction, has read an advanced copy of the novel. He writes, “The Chords of War breaks clean of Vietnam and World War II war-writing traditions by incisively portraying the war experience of millennial-era men and women agonizingly stalled between adolescence and adulthood.”

My Thoughts Chords of War by Christopher Meeks and Sam Gonzalez Jr.

Max Rivera doesn’t know what to do with his life.  He lives in Florida and was just thrown out of his punk rock band.  His parents are divorced and he doesn’t feel a part of either of their lives any more even though he is still young enough that they should be helping him more. 

Without know what direction to turn, he decides to join the army.  Perhaps he will do some growing up and figure out what he wants to do with his life once he gets discarded.  However, when he goes to the recruitment center, he finds out it is not that easy to join.  Not only does he have drugs in his system that would show up in a test, he is not in good enough physical shape to be accepted.

He finally turns to his mother who, though reluctant to see him join the military, puts him on a diet and exercise program.  After a few months he goes back to the recruitment center and is accepted. 

 In basic training he makes some really good friend and they end up being sent to Iraq together.  Through his time in service he learns some tough lessons, losses friends and girlfriends. He forms a band on base with friends and they take part in a talent show.  That leads to them playing at other bases, besides their regular duties.  Max also discovers that he wants to be a film maker and decides that he will go to college when he gets out, if he gets out alive.

Though ‘The Chords of War’ is a work of fiction, it is based on the true story of co-writer, Sam Gonzalez Jr.  He met Christopher Meeks at college when he took a writing course and Meeks was his professor.  They later became friends and Sam asked Meeks to write his story.  I think it is because of that, the book reads much like a memoir, a very entertaining and thought provoking one.

I have been a fan of Christopher Meeks for a long time and as an expert storyteller, Sam made the right choice!  The descriptions of boot camp, the base in Iraq, and the action in Iraq made me feel like I was there experiencing what Max was experiencing.  I totally got lost in the book and even forgot I was reading a book. 

The characters were expertly written as well.  ‘The Chords of War’ is not just a book, it is an experience!  Currently Sam Gonzalez Jr. is working on making his story into a miniseries.  I think it will make for an excellent miniseries and can hardly wait for it to come out!  I don’t often read military fiction, or at least modern day military fiction but this is a book I will certainly read again.  I didn’t want it to end.  I highly recommend it and would give it more than 5 stars if that were possible!


I received the ebook for my honest opinion.

About Christopher Meeks and Sam Gonzalez Jr.

Sam Gonzalez Jr.

Chris and Sam at Barnes and Noble

Award winning author, Christopher Meeks has had stories published in several literary journals, and he has two collections of stories, Months and Seasons and The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea. His novel The Brightest Moon of the Century made the list of three book critics’ Ten Best Books of 2009. His novel Love at Absolute Zero, also made three Best Books lists of 2011, as well as earning a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist award.

His two crime novels, Blood Drama and A Death in Vegas have earned much praise. He has had three full-length plays mounted, and one, Who Lives? had been nominated for five Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ top theatre prize. Mr. Meeks teaches English and fiction writing at Santa Monica College, and Children’s Literature at the Art Center College of Design. To read more of his books.

Website at:

Samuel Gonzalez Jr. is an Emmy nominated and award winning filmmaker who was born in the Bronx NY and raised in South Florida. He joined the United States Army in 2006 and was quickly deployed overseas during the height of the Iraq War as a military police officer. While there, in response to the stop-loss, he formed a punk rock band at Camp Warhorse, who then played several shows that raised morale for their fellow soldiers during the time of the surge.

In 2007, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for combat heroism. Since his return to the States, Gonzalez has received his B.F.A in Film from the prestigious Art Center College of Design and his Master’s Degree in Screenwriting from the New York Film Academy.

His feature film directorial debut Railway Spine, a coming-of-age period war and crime drama about the real psychological disease that is PTSD won the Golden Eagle Award for “Best Military Film” at the 2016 San Diego International Film Festival and several other awards including “Best Screenplay”. He lives in Los Angeles where he is currently in development on The Chords of War as an eight-part television mini-series. To see more of his work visit alezjr.

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Chords of War by Christopher Meeks and Sam Gonzalez Jr.