From Publishers Weekly
The fourth novel from the writer of historical military thrillers (The Last Lieutenant, A Code for Tomorrow) combines two actual events from 1943 the killing of Isoroku Yamamoto and the introduction of proximity fuses into antiaircraft artillery shells which the author (himself a veteran naval officer) highlights as watershed moments in the Pacific theater of WWII. Opening in the wake of the Japanese withdrawal from Guadalcanal and the attendant brutal naval battles, the novel follows the story of Comdr. Jerry Landa and Lt. Todd Ingram, the skipper and executive officer, respectively, of the U.S.S. Howell, a destroyer on patrol in the notorious "Slot" of New Georgia Sound. Landa's brother, Josh, working on top-secret proximity fuses for American antiaircraft shells, is killed during a research accident. When ammunition with the new fuses turns up at the Howell, the grieving Landa prohibits their use in his ship's guns. Predictably, the Howell is crippled in a Japanese air attack and forced to beach on an island. A subsequent battle with Japanese Marines and a dramatic evacuation by PT boat leads to a race between navies to get to the store of the new ordnance in the Howell's hulk. Extensive subplots featuring the cast's many principals (Landa's romance with the widow of one of his KIA friends and Ingram's stalking by a U.S. government assassin over a security breach) round out the action, but it is the convincing historical detail from the grim Guadalcanal mortality chart to the "monster" battleship Musashi and the famous victory missive"Pop Goes the Weasel" that really distinguishes this book from the competition.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The sequel to A Code for Tomorrow, this is Gobbell's third book featuring Lt. Commander Todd Ingram and his exploits during World War II. It begins with Ingram as the executive officer of the USS Howell, a destroyer in the South Pacific. As the war takes its toll of men and ships, he must make some important decisions: will he take command of his own destroyer or accept a post at home to be near his wife? Ingram must also resolve whom to trust his old friend and commanding officer, Jerry Landa, or the navy's rising star, Captain Ashton. The battle scenes are frequent (there is a war on, after all), straightforward, and realistic. Gobbell knows how to keep the story moving without overdoing the mayhem. In fact, things frequently get muddled when the action breaks and characters are left to interact with one another; they repeat themselves and quarrel for no good reason. While this may be true-to-life behavior, it's a drag on the narrative. Thankfully, the battles soon resume, and the book regains its edge. Fans of World War II fiction and David Poyer's novels will enjoy this latest entry. Recommended for all public libraries. Patrick J. Wall, University City P.L., MO
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.