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Down In The Valley: An Arch Patton Adventure (Arch Patton Adventures Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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But the real need here is for the buyer, and that need is simple: beware.
Editing? Here are two consecutive lines about 15 percent into its mercifully short length. "Torture, physical torture, always worked Arch knew from his long experience. At some point of applying terrible the subject always came to decision point."
Bad punctuation, limited vocabulary and apparently missing words were among the reasons I found sentiments about torture easy to agree with by then. This was the point in the book at which the application of terrible became enough. I was already thoroughly appalled by the author's use of apostrophes in pluralizing "haole" ("the Haole's who swim there") and predilection for incorrectly capitalizing words and phrases like "federal" and "traumatic brain injury."
It's not just stylistic basics the book lacks. There are also plot weaknesses (supervising intelligence operative makes no attempt to hide her affair, even in official settings, with the protagonist, a retired operative being used to infiltrate a secessionist group), inattention to simple details (a stream goes from knee deep to six inches deep in the space of a few yards; the protagonist "calls it a night" alone in his hotel room just minutes before heading over to close the bar) and a complete lack of character development or consistency (a major target goes from speaking pidgin to saying things like "They haven't a clue" when he clearly is being established as little more than a local rube). These make the book a nearly unbearable ... terrible.
But there's more. This book came to my attention because I read a forum post about how wonderful the author's current serialization about Vietnam was. Less than an hour later, the same poster wrote, "Just found out this is not a true story."
Anyone considering paying for Down in the Valley -- and probably any other book by this author -- should first google the phrase "lee goldberg james strauss." As a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, I had the luxury of being able to simply download the book without further expense.
Goldberg, whose own credentials are easily confirmed, has investigated Strauss and makes a compelling case that Strauss is simply a fake. Strauss is described this way on jamesstrauss.com: "He’s held a variety of positions in many careers, from being a Marine Corps Officer wounded in Vietnam, life insurance agent, timeshare salesman, physician’s assistant, and a college professor in anthropology. As a CIA team leader in the field he traveled to 122 countries, where he remains welcome in most of them to this day."
Ah, yes. Another former spook; no wonder his history seems to have been scrubbed from the internet. Others may find a search for the truth about Strauss' background to be more compelling entertainment than Down in the Valley. Personally, I think a guy brilliant enough to be a CIA team leader, physician's assistant and anthropology professor in a single lifetime ought to be able to master basic punctuation.
But I do believe the timeshare salesman part.
Haunted by his past as a CIA field agent, Patton is still reeling from the break-up with the love of his life when she mysteriously resurfaces, asking him to help her with a 'final' mission -- the outcome of which could decide the future of native Hawaiians. Having been raised on the islands, it’s a cause close to Patton’s heart, but his instincts warn him that she's hiding some crucial piece of information -- that trusting her under these circumstances could be a dangerous mistake. Still, he knows if he ever hopes to win her back he can’t say no. Patton’s vulnerability is almost tangible. What’s really at stake here? Will he be betrayed by the woman he once loved -- still loves?
On Arch Patten's journey to uncover what the military is really doing, and what his old love is hiding, he takes the reader on a fabulous 'guided tour' of Hawaii that reminded me of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown". Through Patton we experience neat little food joints known for their specialties, drink at island bars only the locals frequent. We lose ourselves in the lush tropical landscape with its enchanting flora and fauna, explore the ever-changing volcanic terrain that rises up from to-die-for beaches. Having been to Hawaii close to 20 times myself, I recognize and appreciate the authenticity of the descriptions, and the generosity of the author in sharing these rich details that add so much to this already fascinating thriller/mystery/adventure/love story. Needless to say, I highly recommend reading DOWN IN THE VALLEY.
Down In The Valley: An Arch Patton Adventure (Arch Patton Adventures Book 1)