Official Review: A Police Action by A. A. Freda

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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stacie k
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Official Review: A Police Action by A. A. Freda

Post by stacie k » 28 Jun 2018, 19:37

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Police Action" by A. A. Freda.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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A Police Action is a historical fiction novel written by AA Freda. Because Freda served in the Vietnam War, he draws on his personal experiences to write with authority and authenticity. James Coppi, the main character, jumps into a relationship with teenager Samantha Powers just before deploying to Vietnam. After meeting at a country bar and dance hall, the two spend a night together. Sam unexpectedly reveals her deepest secret to James. How will he respond to the knowledge that she is carrying another man’s baby? Will their initial attraction be strong enough to sustain a relationship through the hardships presented by war? The tale is told by alternating between Sam’s and James’ experiences throughout the story. In addition to love and war, the themes of relationships and commitment are also explored.

A strong feature of this novel is the development of its characters. Commonly referred to as a coming-of-age story, it narrates the growth of James from an irresponsible rule-breaker to a man changed by his wartime experiences. Sam, too, starts out as a teenager in rebellion against her preacher father’s rules and develops to be an independent and capable woman. I must admit that I did not like James’ character through much of the narrative. He was a hustler who made his living from other people’s misfortunes, had no qualms about lying when it served his purpose, and somehow never received the consequences he was due.

In addition to the two main characters, Freda introduces the reader to supporting characters such as Sam’s friend (Kathy), the landlady, James’ fellow soldiers, and military personnel. The dialogue was believable and entertaining, particularly among the soldiers. There’s never a dull moment with James Coppi, which leads to a surprising amount of humor in a book of this nature. I found the Coke Conspiracy to be particularly amusing.

What I liked most about this book was the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Vietnam War. From cover to conclusion, it was packed with realistic accounts of the war, yet without gory battle scenes. Even the title was revealing of the conflicting attitudes America faced. The government refused to acknowledge the war, preferring to refer to it as a “police action.” Freda took care to describe even the smallest details, such as the proper procedure for removing a round from a mortar; descriptions of the environment of the battle field (sights, sounds, and even emotions); and the daily challenges of cleanliness, sickness, and sleep during wartime. I found it interesting that he observed that the women in Vietnam did the physical labor while the men supervised. The attention to detail was enlightening and not overwhelming or overdone in any way.

What I liked least about this book was the inclusion of explicit sex scenes. The story could have been just as strong without these scenes. Therefore, I would not recommend this book for younger audiences. I would also caution readers who are sensitive to the issue of abortion to steer clear. But for mature readers who enjoy stories of love and war, I recommend this book. There were a handful of minor editing errors such as missing spaces or commas, but they did not disrupt the flow of reading at all. Because of the author’s authentic presentation of history interwoven with well-drawn characters, I award A Police Action 4 out of 4 stars.

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A Police Action
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Post by Bianka Walter » 29 Jun 2018, 06:04

This looks like a really well thought out book. I love it when the author takes the time to make the information relevant and correct. It makes reading it that much more enjoyable :)
Thanks so much for the awesome review!
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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Jun 2018, 07:03

This sounds like a plot I could really get into--except for the explicit sex scenes. Thanks for the heads up. I enjoyed your review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 29 Jun 2018, 08:19

The Vietnam War is something that I think more books should be written about. This one sounds like it has some action, but it's definitely character-driven as well which I love. However, the explicit sex scenes are definitely a turn off for me. :( Thanks for the information, though.
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Post by gen_g » 29 Jun 2018, 09:43

This seems like a page-turner - it's great that the author took the time to develop the plot and to make sure that the characters are well-rounded. Thank you for the great review!

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Post by kdstrack » 29 Jun 2018, 20:32

I really enjoyed your review. Your explanation about the title was enlightening. The historical sections about the war also sound intriguing. Great review. Thanks!

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Post by Boky » 30 Jun 2018, 00:10

I really enjoy reading this book. It helped me a lot doing my simmer reading project and I recommend those who like this type of genre

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Post by Espie » 30 Jun 2018, 03:29

Nearly half way through your review, I was yet to understand what the author's rationale for the title had been. I was pleased to finally find out why later. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and well-considered insights. Though some of the themes aren't what I'd prefer, you made the book seem interesting enough.
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Post by Helen_Combe » 30 Jun 2018, 11:16

Great review. It amazes me how there are many, many countries where the women AND children do the work while the men do the important stuff like talking politics and drinking beer. It’s a pity about the explicit sex, I always find that rather off-putting.
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Post by Amy+++ » 30 Jun 2018, 17:55

Great review. I have read a historical fiction novel before and it was well reserched to have the characters stories go with it. This sounds like it was reserched very well also.

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Post by julessawyer » 01 Jul 2018, 02:14

I would love to read a book about Vietnam war however I'm reluctant if this was another propaganda to glorify America as well as the correctness of this war. i love your review! :)

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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 01 Jul 2018, 04:48

It's amazing how the aftermath of war can be a life changing experience to a person. I would like to read more of this story. Great review!
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Post by JR Mercier » 02 Jul 2018, 01:41

I have so many books about the Vietnam War I want to read and this one also sounds so great. And I love a well-researched book. Thank you for the thorough review!
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Post by Miriam Molina » 02 Jul 2018, 19:58

One of my earlier reviews was for an autobiography of a US Navy pilot who participated in the Vietnam war. He surrendered his golden wings in disgust over what he felt was a useless and needlessly protracted war. I believe any and all wars are useless. (Maybe that's why I will never be a politician.)

This is another Vietnam war story from a different perspective. I would want to meet James, the hustler, and Sam, the rebel, and find out how the war impacted their lives.

Thanks for your insightful review, Stacie K.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 03 Jul 2018, 11:55

I never knew that the Vietnam war was referred to as a police action rather than a war. Euphemisms about war are not so new, it seems. This book obviously provides details about the unpleasant realities like cleanliness and sleep during war. Thanks for the informative review.

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