4 out of 4 stars
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A Police Action by A. A. Freda, is listed as Historical Fiction. However, this book is additionally a romance. Set during the Vietnam War, this book follows the leading character, Specialist Fourth Class James Coppi, from a few months before being sent to Vietnam. Coppi is exactly like the other soldiers and is just trying to survive the Vietnam War. While still stateside, he is recognized as a “money lender”. He remains the guy that perpetually provides money to borrow from, but he also has high expectations of when he will get paid back. He advances money to guys and modifies the typical terms when a guy absolutely requires it for a legitimate reason, but a can’t afford the stringent terms. Coppi only has a few months before he ships out to Vietnam when he meets Sam at a bar. Sam is a sweet and, almost, naïve girl from Texas. Coppi aids her in a jam, and their relationship develops. However, Sam doesn’t know how Coppi feels for her, even as he ships off to Vietnam. The book continues with glimpses of their lives while Coppi is in Vietnam. Many letters are exchanged, and truths are suppressed from each other. The challenges and death Coppi faces will transform him forever. Will he want to be with Sam if he survives the war?
Initially, Coppi seemed unlikable and a jerk. He states what is on his mind and doesn’t seem to think all the rules apply to him. However, his arguments for why he implements or doesn’t do anything usually make sense. He’s exceptionally intelligent and seems to have a big heart. He merely doesn’t grasp what he wants out of life. He equally seems to think he has something to prove. Ultimately, he discovers what that is.
I rated this book a 4 out of 4 because it is a well-written book and seems to be professionally edited. I couldn’t find any mistakes and can forget to enjoy a book just by expecting them. The characters are thoroughly developed and there aren’t so many to keep track of that it gets confusing. There is a reasonable balance of appealing and unlikable characters and a sense they each play a significant part in Coppi’s life. The Author experienced the Vietnam War, so the writing is authentic and accurate. There are descriptions of firearms and tanks that seem accurate and engaging.
What I liked the most is the way there are bits and pieces throughout the book that help explain why the characters are the way they are. It makes them much more engaging and interesting. I found myself trying to guess the “why’s” and the bits and pieces became a sort of puzzle to figure out. I couldn’t guess the ending and that is good because I dislike predictable story lines. What I disliked the most were some of the characters that made me angry. My dislikes had nothing to do with the author or how the book was written. They had to do with my personal feelings of guys that made the events in a war much more difficult. As the daughter of a Vietnam Vet, I have strong feelings about the military and have heard so many stories of preventable altercations and deaths.
This book would be great for any reader interested in the Vietnam War era or just interested in historical fiction. It would even appeal to a person looking for a romance novel that is a little heavier reading due to the era. It is written in a way that a young adult or high school aged person could comprehend it. However, it does have sex scenes in it that are inappropriate for the school-aged population.
A Police Action
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