I've been a little lax on writing book reviews lately, so I thought I'd get a few short reviews out the door today.
First up, I just finished Rick Atkinson's The Guns at Last Light, the third and final installment of his Liberation trilogy, chronicling the growth and maturation of the US armed forces fighting in the European theater of World War Two. This is a great series, starting with An Army at Dawn, which covers the North Africa campaign, followed by The Day of Battle, focusing on the campaigns to take Sicily and Italy. If you've an interest in World War Two, especially how the American army went from what was essentially a territorial peacekeeping force to a globe-spanning juggernaut, this is the series for you.
Next, I was happy to beta-read the "heavy metal horror" novella Mudslingers co-authored by Mark Allen, a writer who has visited and commented here many times in the past. Mudslingers is, as best as I can describe it, a written version of those great and gory Tales From the Crypt episodes from the 80's, or a grindhouse-y B-grade horror movie. Sex, Drugs, Rock n' Roll, and a lot of gratuitous violence. If you dig raunchy horror with a strong dose of dark comedy, give it a shot.
Speaking of beta reading, my friend Justin Aucoin has been working on several swashbuckling pirate adventure shorts. While none are on sale just yet, you should check out Justin's writing blog, and get a sneak peek at the awesome cover for his first short, "A Pirate's Honor".
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge and read another of Leo Kessler's Assault Battalion Wotan novels, Forced March. While it still had some of the distasteful elements found in the first book (after all, the main characters are all SS...), this book was a much better read. It focused on the failed raid on Dieppe by the British and Canadian (and token American Ranger) forces, and a number of chapters are written from the British point of view. I thought this helped balance out the book a lot more, giving us someone to cheer for, even if we knew from the outset their mission was doomed to failure. Kessler (real name Charles Whiting) makes an interesting argument; that Churchill intended the Dieppe raid to fail, indeed wanted it to fail, to prove to the Soviets that the Western Allies weren't prepared to invade the European mainland yet.
That's it for now! I'm going on vacation for two weeks at the end of this week, so hopefully there will be some more reviews when I wrap that up. I hope to have a couple more posts here during that time period as well.