Book Review: The Occupation of Joe

Book review alert (insert alarm noise and picture a siren flashing)! This one was called The Occupation of Joe by Bill Baynes. It was a short book at only around 115 pages. and I flew through it (read it in one day :)).

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Synopsis: Tokyo, 1945. A Japanese boy too old for his years, a survivor of the American firebombing, dares to cross the wasteland where he saw thousands burn to death, and approach the occupying forces to get food for his family. A young Navy lieutenant, proud of the Allied victory but appalled by the devastation he sees across the city, cares enough to help. As post-war pressures mount between the two cultures, he becomes entangled in the lives of the boy, his infant sister, and his beautiful mother.

I actually read this book in one sitting. The story was very fluent and would switch between the two main characters, Joe and Isamu.

Isamu is a young boy of 12 and he is trying to help his family survive after the Americans firebombed his village by foraging for food and materials to trade. He uses his skills as an actor to fool Joe into giving him some money in exchange for his expertise with the locals in the area.

Joe is the Communication Officer on his ship and his job is to decode messages in Morse code. He takes a liking to the boy and brings him sandwiches to eat each day when he visits inland.

The characters are well rounded and the author makes it very easy to understand the language barrier between the Joe and the boy. They use a lot of hand signals and motions to try and make sense of each other and the author gives a detailed description of what the hand motions are. This really helps the reader picture how they surpass their differences to work together.

It was easy to read and the author kept me entertained enough to finish it on the same day I started it.

SPOILER (Skip this part if you intend to read it)

I can’t believe he just dies in the end. He tries to protect the boy by roughing up the gang that bullied him and gets stabbed so much that he doesn’t even make it back to the ship and ends up dying in the snow. The people even start ransacking his body before he is even dead. And then it is just over. The ending really took me by surprise.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Wars or historical fiction. The author definitely did their research on the subject before writing a story about it.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads! Or if you want to talk to the author, check out his website!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: Constable Outreach 35

Book reviews galore! I have been flying through books lately whether it be paperback, hardcover, or kindle; they are all being read :). This one is called Constable Outreach 35 by Jay Cadmus. You might remember Jay from an Author Interview I did with him a while back. Well here is the review of his book that I promised.

Constable Outreach 35 book by Jay Cadmus lying on a coffee table

Synopsis: Insurgency forces build against the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua. The story opens in Tegucigalpa during Contra War in 1985. A covert airdrop malfunction leaves C-123 Loadmaster in Sandinista territory. Troop supply by air delivery the next phase in this operation. Agency Operations Manager uses all available resources in locating…setting scenes of interaction between unlikely partners. Opposition forces appear as foreign ideologues and members within the U. S. Administration they serve. A little-used document is constructed to reset international and regional diplomacy. The downed American flyer – and other human assets – become pawns in a war of ideology. Some characters find themselves imprisoned within the ideology they serve. Personalities fall and rise. Knights surface in seeking to serve the White House. Others fall as a normal course by their purging. Quote: “In honor or disgrace, the death of my adversary is with me forever.”

Calling all history buffs and army veterans. This book is right up your alley. It isn’t typically the type of book I enjoy but I made my way through it and liked how it turned out. There was a lot of technical army terminology that I didn’t understand at times but I bet an army vet/history buff that enjoys planes would love to read this.

There are multiple characters that develop as the story unfolds. I’m not sure who the main character was because it keeps switching scenes between Lester Russell and Tom McKay (so I guess these two are the main characters).

The one critique I have is that the author tends to write in fragmented sentences. For example, “The plane was ready for take-off. Standard issue bolt wings. Landing strip ready for take-off” (this is just an example that I made up). I feel like some of these sentences could have been put together to form one descriptive sentence but that is just my personal opinion on the matter. I guess it is better than run on sentences :P. Also, there were quite a few spelling mistakes that bugged my inner grammar nazi and I had to move past it.

The book was mainly set in Nicaragua which was so cool because I have been to Nicaragua on a missions trip and it helped me picture the scenes in my head as if I was there. Managua is the capital of Nicaragua and there are multiple scenes in Managua. When I was in Managua, our bus driver ran through all the traffic lights because they said that if they stopped, we would be robbed. Nicaragua was a very hot place with really beautiful landscapes. It is rare that a book is set here so this was definitely a plus for me.

If you get a chance, reach out to the author! He is a very nice welcoming person and I’m sure you would have a great conversation with him.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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