Monday, May 21, 2012

William F. Brown: Amongst My Enemies

William F. Brown takes the reader back to World War II and the cold war era where the keys to a WWII mystery lay at the bottom of the ocean.

 Michael Randall is a door gunner of a B-17 bomber in WWII, that is until it was shot down over Germany, however, Mike and his friend Eddie are "lucky" as they are assigned to forced labour camps instead of a POW camp. All Mike can think of is escape and letting the world know about what he and Eddie suffered in the war. An opportunity presents itself when Mike is assigned to help load a German U-boat full of mysterious crates. Mike is able to stow away on the vessel and his presence on the U-boat sets off a chain reaction that some will loose and some will take the opportunity to exploit and it is up to Michael to make sure that everything is set right and that the world knows what really happened to U-582.

I have not ventured into too many WWII/Cold war based novels and  after reading this book I do not know why I do not read them more often. This book had me invested in the first chapter. Brown really knows how to draw the reader in with the description, that you actually feel the cold, heat and fear of the character and the surrounding scenery. Mike and Eddie's story is heartbreaking and like I said above the first chapter really drew me in and Brown was able to keep me very entertained and interested, it did not quit after a great start.

The character development was really well done, you get a sense of who Michael is and surprisingly Nazi Heinz Kruger as well. I was really happy that Brown took the time to allow the reader to get into Kruger's head, as he is a very interesting character. I actually think that it is Kruger as the villain that really makes this book for me. His cold, calculation and takes vast amount of enjoyment in killing and he is disappointed that the war is ending because it afforded him access to lots of victims and less questions about his methods. Brown does an excellent job of describing Kruger's emotions and face as he is killing shows him as a true psychopath and just makes him such an interesting character. Kruger really made this book for me. Michael was portrayed as an All-American hero who saw and did things that he would like to, but never will forget. Michael feels cursed and that all the people that died around him it was his fault. This is a big burden to carry around with him and it hinder his reintegration into a normal life. I think this is an aspect that many soldier that return from war face, as it becomes a question for them why them and not me (and Michael asks himself this many times). I appreciate that Brown has done research on both the PTSD of soldiers and sociopath/psychopath aspects

This book has everything that you would want from a book based in this era, U-boats, guns, gold, stolen treasure and of course Nazis. All of this combines to make a really good thriller novel. I do wish there were a few more twist and turns within this novel and a little more suspense, but i think all in all the novel has everything one can ask for thriller.

This was a really good thriller novels and has reopened me up to reading books from this era (which my husband with love, as it means I will get more of these types of books and they are his preference). I think if you are looking to get into the thriller genre in this era that this book would be a great place to start as it does not over whelm you with historical facts and relies on description instead. There is no doubt that I would read another book by Brown, as i really enjoyed Amongst My Enemies.


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