Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review of Dead Men Make the Best Heroes

Any book that can deliver its first dead body within the first chapter brings on intrigue in my mind.  Dead Men Make the Best Heroes doesn’t disappoint in this regard.  I knew by the end of page two that this book was going to take me on one hell of a ride.  
By the middle of chapter three, I knew I was reading a book by an author who is a master at describing the settings of his story.  E. Van Johnson brilliantly pulls his readers into the world where the characters live.  Fortunately, it’s a talent that he carries extremely well throughout the entire book.

One of the things that I really liked about this book, and its story, was that, although most spy / war novels have you rooting for one side or the other, I really found myself sympathetic to both the Palestinians and the Israelites.  E. Van Johnson was able to convey why each side was taking the risks that they were taking and what their true intentions were.   I find it a rare thing for an author to be able to be sympathetic in these types of novels to both sides of the war and I found the manner in which the story, and the struggles, of both sides refreshing.
What troubles me about the book is that it does contain some strange paragraph formatting, but once the reader trains their eyes to ignore that and just enjoy the story this drops down to being simply mildly annoying.  The many editing errors were far more distracting, but at the same time, about half way through the book I decided that the story was well written and intriguing enough that I began forgiving these flaws as well. 
At the end of the day, I really, really wanted to give this book five stars for the story and the eloquent writing—which is something I very, very rarely ever do.  But I also know how critical readers are with regard to editing and formatting errors.  Therefore, I had to take my love of the story into consideration against the editing issues.  As a result, I give this book a strong three and ½ stars with encouragement to Mr. E. Van Johnson to keep on writing such exceptional material but to also, perhaps, take into consideration the small details that might prevent him from experiencing the success as an author that he so richly deserves.

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