I suppose this is an appropriate date–Pearl Harbor Day–to tell you about a novel, Pacific Glory, I read recently that really struck a chord with me.
Typically, I’m a thriller-mystery-suspense kind of guy, but I guess I was ready for a change of pace. So I picked up a book that promoted itself as “a thrilling, multi-layered World War II adventure following two men and an unforgettable woman, from Pearl Harbor through the most dramatic air and sea battles of the war [in the Pacific].”
It was authored by a retired naval officer, P. T. “Pete” Deutermann, I met several years ago at a Southeastern Writers Association workshop. I recall that Pete, who’s written a number of thrillers, described himself at the time as a “mid-list” author. He may have been shortchanging himself, but if he ever was truly a mid-lister, after Pacific Glory, he is no more. He’s much better than that. Pacific Glory is a terrific book.
I dropped Pete an email after I read the novel, and he mentioned to me that he’d had to convince his publisher to allow him to “depart the genre” (thrillers) to let him write the book, one he’s wanted to do for a long time. Believe me, it was worth the wait.
Here’s the five-star review of the novel I posted on Amazon:
Pacific Glory is one of those (few) books I didn’t want to end. It’s an outstanding achievement, and I don’t throw that phrase around lightly.
I read primarily thrillers, including some of Mr. Deutermann’s previous books. But I was ready for a change of genre, and Pacific Glory caught my eye.
Novels often don’t live up to their hype, but I hoped this one would at least be “good.” It was much better than that. It was one of those rare works that kept me turning pages in bed at night long after I should have turned out the light and drifted off into happy dreamland.
Pacific Glory is a sweeping saga set against the great Pacific sea battles of World War II, culminating in what perhaps was the last great naval action in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
The battle scenes are as authentic as any I’ve ever read. You experience not only the awful ”glory” of war, but its confusion, fury and horror, as well. The horror is palpable; some of the scenes are difficult to read precisely because they are so realistic.
What drives any good book, however, are its characters, and I became fully invested in the protagonists of Pacific Glory: a surface ship officer who has doubts about his own courage and ability to command; a naval aviator who can’t stay out of trouble with his superiors or women; and a navy nurse who struggles to get over the loss of her husband on the battleship Arizona, sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The characters, the action and the settings all combine to make Pacific Glory an exceptional read.
-December 7, 2011-