In this second volume of his series on World War II (The Right Fight, 2014), Lynch turns his raw-boned storytelling talents to the Pacific theater.
On board the aircraft carrier Yorktown, Hank assists pilots flying their Dauntless, Devastator and Wildcat aircraft to get off the deck without taking an unwanted swim. There is a modicum of action (like getting hit by a torpedo), there are burials at sea, a smattering of place names that ought to fire some probing of atlases: the Coral Sea, the Marshall Islands. But Lynch has other fish to fry. One is the racism encountered by Hank’s friend Bradford, both on the top deck of the carrier and when they have a shore leave. Hank is a bit of a naif, and it appalls him when Bradford is barred from the beach at Waikiki or when the officers order him off the flight deck. But both author and Bradford keep their cools, though the latter does speak his mind to a policeman on Waikiki: “I decided if any American ever wanted to put me off someplace where I have earned my place as much as any man alive, he was gonna have to work a lot harder to do it than last time.”
Satisfied readers will look forward to the next volume in this worthy, low-key but piquant series. (Historical fiction. 10-14)