An outstanding and honorable military story!
R. Grey Hoover took on a bold challenge when he sat down to write Kicker. Anytime an author undertakes a piece of almost forgotten history, with the mission in mind to recapture fast-fading events, and turn it into a heart-rending novel is brave.
But that’s what Hoover did, and did it well.The CBI (China-Burma-India) Theater of World War II, although the largest in battle-zone area, did not command the spotlight of history as some other aspects of WW II. With Hoover’s in depth research, he pulls together the essential ingredients, and builds a fine piece of military historical fiction for the reader.
But Hoover takes his work a major step further; he links the misery of the CBI experiences of soldiers with the anxiety and anguish of citizens back home waiting day by day for their loved ones to return home. Some did, but many didn’t. It was the era of a Gold Star banner hanging in the windows of the families that had lost loved ones to the war.
Hoover takes the reader deep into the war zone and lets you feel up close the beast of war. He takes you deep in the jungles where you’ll meet more wildlife than you’ll find in any man-made zoo. And you’ll pay any price for a ticket out. But there’s a different kind of scalper to deal with. And they ain’t “scalping” tickets to a rock concert.
Kicker is not a hyped version of military fiction bloated and dependent upon the coarse, salty language of soldiers under war-time stress. For me that was a unique feature that I greatly appreciated, and makes Kicker G-rated and suitable family reading. Hoover demonstrates that an authentic story can be told with civil language.
As I read Kicker, I could feel the tearing and shredding of emotions between loved ones in the CBI war zone and the families back home. While bullets and bombs delivered the war, the author lets the raw human emotions of his full-sized characters carry his story all the way to the end.
Hoover leaves nothing out. He shows the sacrifices made on the battle front, as well as sacrifices made on the home front. He introduces the reader to shortages of raw goods, foods, and materials experienced by American citizens. Ration stamps were more important during WW II than any trendy gadget. Jobs became war-oriented; citizens’ thoughts searched for meaning in a world aflame.
When you read Kicker, you’ll discover just how significant the word “kicker” was in the war effort. You’ll come to realize that any job, task, AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code), or MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) is of equal importance. Remove one, and the mission is threatened.
For most individuals war is remote, but Hoover fulfills his mission admirably. He brings the reader a spell-binding and enlightening story that should long be remembered, and he does it with the fire-power of good writing style, “top-notch brass” pacing, and with full-colors flying. And he does it with sterling word-choice, one page at a time.
I commend Hoover for delivering his story with a perfect “kick.” I gladly award Five-Stars, brightly polished gold stars, for recapturing an important time in the human experience. Kicker has a permanent place on my reading shelf.
“Front and center, Mr. Hoover. Honorable work! Five-Stars and more for your contribution to the writing world, and your service to your country!”