By AA Freda
Army draftee James Coppi is headed for Vietnam. Tension is high in his Colorado barracks. Coppi and his comrades are training to fight a war in the jungle, and with only ten months left of his tour he just wants to live long enough to muster out and go home to the Bronx. Coppi’s decision to go into town with the others his first Friday night becomes a major turning point in his life.
He meets Samantha (Sam), a woman that catches his eye. Disregarding all the pitfalls associated with becoming involved with Sam, Coppi jumps into a relationship with her immediately. The fact that she has a major problem that needs to be dealt with as well as his impending departure for war adds layers of complexity to their feelings about each other that may be misconstrued for love. And if it is love, will it survive until they are reunited?
Freda writes about war with the knowledge of someone who has lived those horrible minutes, days or years. He brings the intensity of war to life bringing the reader into the jungle with him. The sounds, smells, heat and fear are felt with every word. The horrors of battle are not whitewashed; Coppi’s and possibly Freda’s feelings about the war the government referred to as a Police Action are evident.
The relationship between Sam and Coppi seems superficial. Perhaps it is the characters themselves. Coppi admits he is a con man and not necessarily a good person. Yet he steps in taking care of Sam when he doesn’t even know her. He is difficult to like because he is basically a loan shark, does not pay any attention to his superiors, ignores little things like getting back to base on time and yet seems to save the day every time. Somehow I find it very unlikely that he would have gotten by virtually unscathed after being AWOL several times in the span of a month. The Lieutenants, Majors and Sergeants give him a wink every time he does something stupid just because he can’t seem to follow direct orders. That is the only part of the military segments that was unrealistic to me.
Sam alternates between an efficient woman and a whiny girl. The conversations she has do not sound like a grown woman, yet she is working, living on her own and has been on her own before she meets Coppi. The fact that she conveniently brings God into the mix at times does not ring true. She admits to partying and picks up Coppi and sleeps with him the day they meet. The character is like two different people, making the reader question who she really is. Unfortunately her shallowness became really annoying.
I recommend this book for those who are interested in reading fiction about Vietnam by an author with first-hand knowledge. If you are looking for a love story, A Police Action has all of the elements, but I am not convinced the execution is satisfying to the reader.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman