Tag Archives: WWII

Review of “Too Late the Morrow”

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“Too Late the Morrow” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1984) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers published more than 60 books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in England during 1941-42. The RAF is battling the Germans. There are three primary characters: brothers James and Christopher Fenton, and cousin Roger Hallowes. All three are RAF officers. James flying Spitfires, though he has temporarily landed a desk assignment. Christopher is flying the Beaufighter to protect antisubmarine craft. Roger is flying the Halifax heavy bomber.

While the story does include several combat scenes, more of the story involves the lives of the three pilots – Interaction with their RAF fellows, romantic affairs with young women and their own deep feelings after living through more than two years of war.

I thought that this was an interesting 5.5 hour read of 180 pages. I find that the Fiction novels depicting this period written by those who lived through it are always interesting, each with their own little details. The story moves along well even though it is not always filled with action. The cover is interesting showing what looks likes a Beaufighter. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Attack at Night”

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“Attack at Night” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition published in 1988) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson published over 50 books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set mostly in 1943 occupied France during World War II. The primary character is Captain Callum Douglas of the British SAS.

He and his well trained team are landed in occupied France. Their mission is to meet with the French Resistance and plan an attack on a German air field. They rush to prevent German bombers from attacking a Allied convoy headed for Italy and a second front at Anzio. They must rush their plans when they find that the Germans plan a push to route out the French resistance.

I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 162 page World War II Thriller. I have read several of Jacksons stories and he could tell a good tale. The story is fast paced and maintains the reader’s interest. While I have no objections to the cover art, I am not sure how it is relevant to the story. It is German, but not a Dornier 217 which was being flown from the base to be attacked. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe”

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“Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe” was published in 2016 (October) and was written by Robert Matzen (https://robertmatzen.com). This is Mr. Matzen’s seventh book.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set mostly in Hollywood, CA and England. As you would expect with a biography, the primary character is the subject, in this case James “Jimmy” Stewart.

The story begins when Stewart is in High school and follows him to Princeton University, and then to New York as be tries to start an acting career. He soon finds his way to Hollywood as an actor for MGM Studios. Stewart made many significant films in the five years he was part of the movie industry before World War II.

Always interested in aviation, Stewart had his own plane and by the time that the US seemed on the brink of entering the war with Germany, he had qualified for a commercial pilot license. He was drafted before the war broke out and because of his experience, became a training officer for bomber crews.

Stewart had a heritage of military service and he felt obliged to follow those footsteps. Rather than take the easy route of being a PR face for the military, he fought hard to become a combat flyer. Eventually he was able to travel to England with the unit he had been training and began combat bombing missions over occupied Europe.

Most of the book deals with the 4 plus years Stewart served in the active Army Air Corps. He went in as a recruit, received his officer commission when he was awarded his wings, and left active service after the end of World War II as a Colonel. His story serving as an officer in the 8th Air force parallels those of many others who flew in combat against Germany – Lack of sleep, miserable winters in England, sub-freezing flying conditions, constant threat of attack by the German Luftwaffe fighters and repeatedly flying through heavy flack to reach their targets.

The 16 months he was involved in combat took a toll on Stewart. Today he would be diagnosed with PTSD. He survived and returned to Hollywood, resuming his acting career with “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the just shy of 10 hours I spent with this 400 page Biography! I thought it might be on the dry side, but the story had a good pace to it. I have seen Stewart in dozens of movies and I knew he had an Air Force commission, but I had no idea of what he had gone through. I think that this book not only gives a brief view of Hollywood in the 1930’s, but an excellent view of the air war in Europe. I think that the cover was aptly chosen, though does not really hint at the extent of Stewart’s war experiences. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Fifth Column”

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“Fifth Column” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Mike Hollow (http://www.blitzdetective.com). Mr. Hollow has published two novels, both in his “Blitz Detective” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The novel is set in 1940 London during the German Blitz.

The body of a young woman is found after an air raid. While she is at first thought to be a victim of the German attack, evidence begins to emerge that she was murdered. Detective Inspector John Jago is assigned the case and becomes the primary character in the story.

The investigation takes Jago to the engineering firm where the girl worked. He finds out that the company has been missing small items and speculates that there may be a  connection. Jago must sort through the odd collection of characters connected to the dead woman. Not all are telling the truth and they often have something to hide.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 14 hours I spent reading this 320 page Mystery. Not only did I find this to be a good Mystery, but I liked some of the little details that the author mentioned about the War period: Advice given to women in paper to ‘do their positive bit by keeping up their appearance’ and people of German and Austrian heritage being detained in camps. Little known facts I had not heard of before.

I thought it was also interesting how the local amateur radio enthusiasts (we would call them Hams today) were used to help listen for German spy radio transmissions. The chosen cover was interesting and gave a feel for the story. The story moved along quickly and maintained my interest. I give this novel a 4.7 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Storm Over Leyte”

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“Storm Over Leyte” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by John Prados (http://johnprados.com/). Mr. Prados has published more than a dozen books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This is the non-fiction account of the battle between Japan and the United States in the Leyte Gulf. This naval conflict occurred in the fall of 1944 and is considered to be one of the most significant naval battles in history.

This account is full of the details – names, dates and numbers – that you would expect in a history. It also includes many small stories relating personal events to personnel on both sides of the conflict. The use of intelligence and declassified military documents gives a greater scope in this story, providing insight to both sides in the conflict.

I enjoyed the nearly 13 hours I spent reading this 397 page book. I have read other accounts of this battle, but this is by far the most detailed. It is interesting to see how both sides had their failures and their triumphs. As often the case for a non-fiction book, this was not the most exciting read, though the description of the battle was engaging and read well. The internal politics of both militaries certainly affected the outcome of the battle, though I do think that the Japanese had more of an issue with this. While the cover is not bad, I think something more interesting could have been chosen. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Lammas Night”

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“Lammas Night” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition published in 1983) and was written by Katherin Kurtz (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Kurtz). Ms. Kurtz published nearly 40 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the early days (1940) of World War II. The British Expeditionary Force has barely escaped the continent through Dunkirk ahead of the German army. All of England fears that an invasion is soon to follow.

The primary character of this story is Colonel John “Gray” Graham of the British MI6. Not only is he working within the espionage community to defeat Germany, but he is also a practitioner of the occult arts. England is not only facing Germany’s military strength, but their occult assault as well. Graham and his close occult comrades want to organize as many of the occultists in England to rise up on Lammas Night to resist the pending invasion. But this must all be done very carefully as the hint to the public of involvement in magic would be devastating to any of the involved families.

Complicating this is a close friendship with Prince William of the British Royal family. The Prince soon convinces Graham to involve him more in the effort to organize the occult resistance to Hitler. The Prince and Graham soon realize that one of them may need to make a personal sacrifice to save England.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 448 page novel. This was not a fast paced novel, but the intriguing story kept me very interested. I have read other novels by Kurtz and I have liked them all. I am a fan of World War II stories and really enjoyed this one, even thought it was more of a fantasy than most. I guess I would classify this as an Alternate History novel as the world in which it is set parallels ours, but allows for magic. I also think that the new cover is better than the one used on the original paper publication. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Commodore”

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“The Commodore” eBook was published in 2016 (August) and was written by P. T. Deutermann (http://www.ptdeutermann.com). Mr. Deutermann has published more than a dozen novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The novel is set during the early years of World War II. In 1942 the Americans were fighting the Japanese for Guadalcanal. In the sea around the island, the US Navy was doing all that they could to stop the flow of supplies and reinforcements headed to the island.

When the story begins, one of the US destroyers in the conflict is commanded by Commander Harmon “Sluff” Wolf. Though a US Naval Academy graduate, Wolf does not fit the normal mold of a Naval Officer. As a Native American from rural Minnesota he is far outside the circles of most of the other officers.

But Wolf’s outside-the-box thinking enables him to survive encounters with the Japanese and begin to make them pay for their attack on the US. Wolf’s actions catches the eye of Admiral Halsey. Halsey puts Wolf in charge of a destroyer squadron, promoting him to Commodore.

Wolf leads his men and ships into action with the Japanese. They suffer high casualties, but continue to confront the Japanese. Wolf finds that some of his enemies are fellow naval officers and must deal with that distraction. Wolf also meets a pretty nurse when he is recuperating in the hospital for injuries suffered during action at sea.

I really enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 304 page World War II Thriller. I thought that it painted a very real picture of the surface combat going on in the Pacific. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “A Hero of France”

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“A Hero of France” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Alan Furst (http://www.alanfurst.net). Mr. Furst has published 15 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in and around Paris during World War II. The primary character is Mathieu, leader of a resistance cell that is working to get downed RAF flyers back home so that they can continue their fight against the Germans.

The story is set in 1941 when the British stood alone against the Germany. As British planes are shot down over Europe, Mathieu and other brave Frenchmen risk their lives to convey the airmen back home. At this time the efforts to catch the French was mainly left in the hands of the Vichy French police. As hostilities draw on, Germany steps up the effort to discover the clandestine French Resistance cells. This novel tells the story of Mathieu along with some of the men and women that work with him.

I enjoyed the nearly 7 hours I spent reading this 256 page World War II Spy Thriller. I had not read much about this time period of the war in France, so I did find it interesting. Furst does a good job of writing this Thriller. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Sea Strike”

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“Sea Strike” eBook was published in 2016 (July, though the paper edition was first published in 1980) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published nearly 60 books, mostly on World War II aircraft.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the early days (1940) of World War II and tells of life in the RAF.

While the primary character is Flying Officer Lawlor, many flyers are examined. Lawlor is the pilot of a Bristol Blenheim light bomber with a crew of three. The flyers fight the Germans while the British ground forces struggle to evacuate through Dunkirk. Lawlor’s ambitious commander volunteers the flyers for one mission after another, sometimes reckless with his men’s lives.

I enjoyed the 4+ hours I spent reading this 232 page World War II Thriller. It is written in a very British style. As much time is spent on the thoughts of the various flyers as it is on the war itself. I give this novel a 3,8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Dead Don’t Bleed”

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“The Dead Don’t Bleed” eBook was published in 2016 (June) and was written by David Krugler (http://www.davidkrugler.com/). Mr. Krugler has published three non-fiction books and this is his first novel.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Situations and Mature Language. This Mystery Thriller is set in 1945 Washington D.C. during the final days of World War II. The primary character is Navy Lieutenant JG Ellis Voigt.

Voigt works for Navy Intelligence. The body of a Navy officer, Lieutenant JG Logan Skerrill, is found and Voigt is assigned to the case. As he and his partner investigate they turn up evidence that Skerrill is somehow tied in with a Russian spy ring. The spies seem to be after information pertaining to a secret government operation around Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Voigt goes undercover to ferret out how Skerrill was tied to the spies. Slowly the story seems to become clear of what happened. Voigt must avoid FBI agents who are also investigating the spy ring. Voigt is confronted with dangerous situations a few times. He also finds himself involved with a young woman who is working for the company out of which the spy ring is being run. At the same time he is trying to keep up his relationship with friend-with-benefits Liv.

I found the 9 hours I spent reading this 352 page novel interesting. I was compelled enough by the plot to keep reading, but I felt there was something lacking to the story. I was unpleasantly surprised by a significant plot twist near the end. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).