Another slam-bang (as always, especially bang) adventure featuring Earl Swagger, Bob Lee’s father, set after the D-Day invasion of France. The Allied advance has bogged down due to a band of German snipers terrorizing the front lines and the Americans call in Earl, a Marine master sergeant who made his bones on Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Tarawa and is now teaching young recruits to shoot at Parris Island. Promoted to major and relocated to the OSS in England, his job is to find the German snipers and stop them.
His search takes him to the front lines and all over England, featuring close encounters with Generals Bradley and Eisenhower, J.R.R. Tolkien (that was fun), a near miss with Ernest Hemingway, and, well, no, I won’t mention that person, but their appearance did make me leap for Wikipedia. Some terrific minor characters, especially the three young soldiers, and boy, Hunter has no time for the OSS. But then, no one ever did.
There are a lot of what I call body count books out there these days, but Hunter’s characters always count the cost, with no romanticizing, as in this passage when Swagger and Leets arrive in France.
On the ground they encountered few surprises. Both knew that war was squalor. Wherever it touches, it leaves mess, litter, destruction, discarded or damaged equipment, knots of listless men who seem to have nothing to do, a few earnest heroes trying to make sense of it all and keep things going, and junk everywhere, plus more junk, and then some junk.
Very enjoyable read, as always.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.