I've spent most of the past two days sitting in front of the computer working on the current book, and I'm hoping that I'll finish it this weekend. But I've also managed to read ATTACK!, one of only three novels that I know of by Leland Jamieson. I read a bunch of Jamieson's pulp stories a while back and enjoyed all of them. He specialized in stories about aviation and was published often in BLUE BOOK, one of the classiest of the pulp magazines. It's possible that ATTACK! was originally published in BLUE BOOK. I know it had hardcover editions from two different publishers, Morrow and Grosset & Dunlap. I read the G&D, which was probably the "cheap" reprint edition.
Read now 64 years after it was published in 1940, this would have to be considered an alternate history novel. It centers around a U.S. aircraft carrier in the South Atlantic when war breaks out between the United States and Germany over Germany's attempt to invade and take over Brasil so that the Nazis can use it as a base for an invasion of North America. The pilots on the American carrier Scarab have to stop the German invasion fleet almost singlehandedly.
There's not much characterization other than the one pilot who functions as the book's protagonist, but Jamieson writes very well about air and naval combat. The battle scenes are extremely well-done, and his portrayal of life aboard an aircraft carrier is vivid and convincing. I'm no expert on such things, but I did quite a bit of research on the subject while I was writing my World War II series and have also visited the U.S.S. Lexington several times where it's now docked in Corpus Christi, Texas, and everything about ATTACK! rings true to me. Personally, I would have liked a little more detail about the planes -- were those dive bombers Dauntlesses, and were those fighters Avengers? -- but that's pretty minor. Jamieson probably kept things deliberately generic and vague because he was writing about something that, from his perspective, hadn't happened yet. That's very different from writing historical fiction.
Anyway, next up is THE CONFESSION by Domenic Stansberry, one of the new Hardcase Crime line of paperbacks. Anybody who hasn't seen these books needs to visit their website immediately.
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