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Amongst My Enemies Reviewed By Gordon Osmond of Bookpleasures.com
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Gordon Osmond

Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.

He has reviewed books and stageplays for http://CurtainUp.com and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE

Gordon can also be heard on the Electic Authors Showcase.







 
By Gordon Osmond
Published on January 2, 2012
 

Author:William F. Brown

Publisher:Amazon Digital Services
ASIN:B006LAOIWY


Follow Here To Purchase Amongst My Enemies

Author:William F. Brown

Publisher:Amazon Digital Services
ASIN:B006LAOIWY

Despite its first-person title, Amongst My Enemies is a third-person account of the war and post-war tribulations of American Michael Randall, from his bailing out of his doomed bomber over Berlin in 1945 to his assassination of a major Nazi leader in equally faraway Bolivia in 1952. Except for relatively short episodes of repose and recovery in Sweden and South Carolina, the account of this eventful period of Mike's life follows the familiar pattern of the action-packed, corpse-filled, espionage thriller, which takes him far, wide, and fast.

Mike is driven into danger by obligations he admirably believes he owes to an unlikely pair. In the book's early pages, Mike does a Kevorkian (hard to make an adjective out of a surname that already ends in "ian") on his fellow American prisoner, Eddie. Brown does a good job in giving the Mike/Eddie relationship the same texture and pathos that inspired the World War I classic song, My Buddy. Later, Mike receives an unexpected act of kindness, indeed salvation, from a conflicted German submarine captain, which actually is the prime mover in morphing a quiet World War II veteran into a male virago of vengeance against international forces of evil, be they German or Russian. At times, Mike approaches comic strip hero status as savior of the world.

Brown's writing is admirable, exhibiting prodigious descriptive capacity. His similes are plentiful and imaginative. He artfully balances narrative and dialogue thus avoiding the impression that one is reading either a play or a story without people. Above all, Brown's characters are clearly and intensely drawn, leaving no doubt about who the good and the bad guys are.

Atop the list of good guys is a gal, Eddie's sister, Leslie, with whom hero Mike is instantly besotted. Brown is at his best when he describes the sensual tension between the two which, in portraying restraint, is much sexier than any description of its release could be. After a while, however, Mike's proceeding on the apparent assumption that his love of his best buddy's sister is somehow incestuous—a stretch of the concept even in rural South Carolina—becomes a tad tedious. And Mike's failure to include in his final mission not so impossible the woman that has not only saved his life underwater but also killed his would-be assassin topside is an insult to women everywhere.

The length of the novel is a bit of a Catch-22. For one reading the long novel in numerous bite-size chunks, repetition of names and events is no doubt helpful, less so for the reader who has the time to take it all in in a relatively short time span. So the length suggests repetition, which, in turn, adds to the length. In any case the paraphrase of an admirable simile three pages after its initial appearance is not the author at his best.

The editing of the book leaves much to be desired. In addition to the lie/lay, further/farther, lose/loose, affect/effect, plural/possessive errors, the text has missing or extraneous words, including in one instance the not insignificant "not." There is also confusion about whether Mike's ultimate military transport is a B-17 or a B-24. Finally, in the next pass through, the editor's supply of semicolons should be severely rationed.

The action scenes in this book, so vividly presented, evoke many memories of action films. This story could well join the genre, and in that case, who cares about the punctuation of the script?


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