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|Print List Price:||CDN$ 8.99|
|Kindle Price:||CDN$ 8.99|
Penguin Group USA
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Line of Fire (The Corps series) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The small portion of the books that is devoted to actual battles is done in such a cursory fashion that you're left with the impression that the author either finds this aspect of the Marines' mission distasteful, or doesn't understand it well enough to write about it. Mr. Griffin could have deleted about 80% of his material, and would have ended up with better books, albeit still not good ones.
If you're the sort of person who likes to watch daytime soap operas, then you may enjoy these books. If, on the other hand, you're interested in military history, the banality of these books will leave you screaming in frustration.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I know Griffin writes his military novels without much action, but he really misses an opportunity here. We get glimpses of Guadalcanal - an air battle here, a skirmish there - but Griffin leaves huge gaps in the battle’s story. There’s increased drama as a strengthened Japanese force advances on the Marine base, but little explanation of why they fail to overrun it. There’s some discussion of how Japanese honor keeps various commanders from asking each other for help, but no look at the battle itself. With these dramatic events taking place - with the beleaguered Marine aviators, outnumbered and outgunned, somehow managing to fight off Japanese air raids day after day, with heroic ground Marines battling hunger and tropical disease to hold off the enemy - the action inexplicably shifts to Washington, Florida, Pearl Harbor, Buka, Australia, every place except Guadalcanal.
Readers come to love Griffin’s leisurely style, following his characters as their military lives develop and intertwine with each other. A lot of his writing is actually drawing-room comedy, as characters come in and out, pour themselves and others a Scotch, and talk. It’s almost like Jane Austen about the Marines, with a lot of attention paid to who’s wearing what, who outranks whom, and how various characters navigate their missions, their service lives and their private ones. He’s concerned more with the machinations of leaders and spies than with actual battle.
While this story just begs to deviate from that, he fails to let it. It’s like retelling Waterloo or Gettysburg through backroom conversations between generals’ aides, cryptography sergeants, or injured lieutenants.
And he’s got characters in place to show us more of it: Pilots Charlie Galloway, Bill Dunn and Pick Pickering; Marines Jack Stecker, now commanding a battalion; and Killer McCoy’s incorrigible but heroic-in-combat brother Thomas, all at Guadalcanal. As much as we enjoy, say, Jake Dillon’s roll in the hay with actress Veronica Wood, or Flem Pickering’s collapse from malaria, or endless fine cigars and luxury hotel rooms - dude! Tell us about Guadalcanal! And not just how the mess tent is built!
Flem Pickering gets promoted from Navy captain to Marine general so that he can take over Rickabee’s secret intelligence unit, and decides to rescue two starving, diseased Marine Coastwatchers on Buka, whom he believes have been written off. A new character, George Hart, a young St Louis vice cop, becomes Pickering’s bodyguard. Both Pickering and young John Moore jeopardize their health returning to duty too soon after wounds complicated by tropical diseases. Moore heads back to Australia where he’s needed on the secret MAGIC code project.
McCoy, on the back burner for a couple of books, is diverted by Pickering to plan the Buka raid. Galloway, surviving a night floating in shark-filled ocean waters after being shot down, goes AWOL during his recovery to return to his squadron at Guadalcanal. Dick Stecker is seriously wounded in a plane crash, and it rattles his buddy, previously fearless Pick Pickering, who earlier flies under the Golden Gate Bridge on a lark. (Leading real-life Pacific ace Dick Bong actually did this.)
Various romances progress, as McCoy’s heiress girlfriend Ernestine Sage wants him to quit being so noble about his slim chances of survival, and marry her already. Hart, the vice cop, takes up, needless to say, with a hooker. Moore, ditched a couple of books ago by an older woman who returns to her husband, charms a Navy nurse sent to care for him. Pick continues to carry a torch for war widow Martha Sayre, one of the few women to ever either get under his skin or turn him down. And Steve Koffler, isolated for months on Buka, attempts to resist the advances of one of the native girls. Unbeknownst to him, an Australian girl finds out she’s carrying his child.
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