What do Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his new communications director have in common? A love for writing wartime fiction, for one.
Jim Boersema, 66, has written “Loveless in the Nam,” which was published just this summer. It is the first book of four that are planned around the character of Army Colonel Frank Loveless.
“I’ll probably be a bit delayed in finishing the next one because of my new job taking so much time,” he said. “I wrote it just for the pure enjoyment of doing something creative. Amazingly, too many of my friends are now confusing me with this character who is a liar, cheat, coward and womanizer — when he’s not doing something bad!”
Here’s a promo for “Loveless in the Nam” (Dorrance Publishing Co.; 216 pages):
“Throughout history, we have valued such traits as bravery, loyalty and fortitude. For the soldiers who served in the Vietnam War, as in all wars, these qualities were a must. And yet, what about luck?”
A Vietnam Veteran
Boersema writes of what he knows.
His author bio on Amazon.com says that Boersema graduated from Michigan State with a degree in journalism.
“Within weeks of graduation was drafted into the Army and soon found myself in Vietnam in the jungle as an infantryman,” the bio — autobio, actually — states. “Stayed on active duty with the Army for ten more years because I got to work in journalism.”
The Amazon bio says Boersema moved to Hawaii in 1980 to work in public relations. He remained an Army Reserve officer from 1980-2006, “making annual trips to Asia most of those years and serving again on Active Duty from 2004-2006 as part of the War on Terror.”
He retired from the Army as a full colonel.
‘Chaos, Blood, Gore’
“Loveless in the Nam,” according to the publisher, concerns the early life of Colonel Loveless, “a veteran of several wars and a highly decorated Army officer who, despite his acclaim, is revealed to be both self-centered and somewhat of a coward.”
The story covers his exploits during the Vietnam War, “wherein he was an unwilling participant in a very unpopular conflict as a young second lieutenant.”
The book’s description continues:
He was thrust overnight into a world of chaos, blood, and gore, where he and the men under his command spent their days and nights humping over hills and through jungles in search of an elusive enemy, the Vietcong, otherwise known as Charlie. Mostly through pure luck and keeping his head down, Loveless endures a number of life-endangering actions and events, not all of which involved actual combat. Through it all, his mind is focused on just one thing: going home in one piece.
This week, Amazon ranked “Loveless in the Nam” at No. 1,037,211 on its best-sellers list. It sells for $23.
A Vietnam Protester
Boersema’s new boss, the governor, is also a published author.
(He also actively protested against the Vietnam War as a graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the 1960s and 1970s.)
Abercrombie and co-author Richard Hoyt wrote “Blood of Patriots,” a 366-page novel published by Forge Books in 1997.
Here’s how Amazon.com describes “Blood of Patriots”:
A thriller that opens with terrorists crashing into the House of Representatives and killing 124 of its members with assault-weapons fire, then fleeing in helicopters that unexpectedly explode, seems likely to be a page-turner. The odds escalate when its authors are seasoned crime novelist Hoyt (Japanese Game, 1995) and Abercrombie, whose position as a congressman (D., Hawaii) allows for an insider’s take in the opening and other scenes.
It may be too early to tell how Boersema’s war novel will be received, but critics weren’t the biggest fans of Abercrombie’s literary skills.
Here’s a excerpt from the review posted on Amazon:
The prose here is flat; the dialogue, which too frequently relies on lengthy, explanatory exchanges, is stilted; and the story presentation nears parody, with the action divided into bite-size, time-headlined segments that presume that every second counts (“8:18.35 p.m.; 8:18.40 p.m.”). Despite the congressional carnage, moreover, the authors expend most of their moral outrage on issues of campaign financing. The hero, James Burlane, is too familiar as well (ex-CIA, he was sacked by the Company for “being an untrustworthy loner”)
Abercrombie was credited for giving the book “some fresh local coloring,” but the reviewer advised he shouldn’t give up his day job.
Amazon ranks “Blood of Patriots” at No. 2,942,642 on its best-sellers list.
New copies are selling on Amazon for $1.55, while used copies can be picked up for just a penny (not including $3.99 for shipping).
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