Amateur Night: A World War II Historical Adventure by C.P. McKechney
An interesting, but long, story about a Nazi attempt to knock out the Panama Canal just before the US becomes involved in WWII. The plot is foiled by a collection of ‘expendable amateurs.’ This book was interesting to me personally in several ways. First, I’m a more than average history buff, I enjoy military fiction, and most of the action occurs in the Canal Zone, where I lived for a couple of years as a kid. There are some interesting characters in the book, some of which are slightly more filled out than your typical cardboard cutout character. The action scenes are well written and are clearly carefully story boarded. There is also a very good, and shorter, book trapped inside this novel waiting to get out. I was reminded of an interview with an author who pays his mortgage with sales from e-books, in which he points out that he budgets for an editor for all of his books. Those carefully story boarded actions scenes I mentioned, you read almost all of them multiple times as the author provides multiple viewpoints for each fight. These are not blended together to provide a fast narrative that conveys the chaos of combat. You get the full action sequence played out, in full, from two or more perspectives, one right after the other. If you enjoy this type of book, and have the time to kill, give it a go. If you don’t have the patience to slog through a book that really is much too long, then don’t start this one.