This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
BOOK REVIEWS LOCAL BOOK REVIEWS


Beyond the Ocean’s View by D. Andrew McChesney


From an armchair perspective, few things are more fun than setting sail


with Commander Edward Pierce of His Britannic Majesty’s Navy. In this opening to the new Stone Island Sea series, Pierce enjoys many exciting days at sea, and is instrumental in bringing war with France to an uneasy end. When the Peace of Amiens leaves him adrift on half-pay, Pierce finds a new


adventure in the form of the mysterious Harold Smythe of the Isle of Wight. Not to mention Smythe’s beautiful (and butt-kicking) daughter Evangeline. They share with Pierce the legends of a fabled island that Britain would very much like to discover…before the French do. Pierce accepts the challenge, taking an Admiralty commission and a pro-


motion (though the thrifty government insists on keeping him at half-pay, with the rest made up by Smythe). His crew and passengers are mostly con- victs diverted from Botany Bay. Soon Pierce finds himself sailing off the edge of the known map; encountering sea where there should be land, and stars where there should be sea. Contradictions in Pierce’s character deepen his appeal as a hero; Vangie


is a strong and capable female lead, the prophetic indigenous people of the alternate world are as savvy as you would wish, and the officers of the good ship Island Expedition pleasingly less prejudiced, for the most part, than in real life. But there are plenty of juicy villains to threaten their success…from Pierce’s former superior, the embittered Lt. John Sollars, to the menacing Gallicians to the wily Monsieur Bonaparte himself. Who will prevail in the struggle for power? A cross between Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series and the


alternate histories of S.M. Stirling, with perhaps a dash of Naomi Narvik, the Stone Island Sea series is one readers will revel in. An entertaining escape from reality: A dazzling debut! Published by Outskirts Press, paperback, $19.95


D. Andrew McChesney is a former aviation electronics technician with the U.S. Navy and wrote his first short story in high school. He is the editor of Rear Engine Review, a publication of the Inland Northwest Corvair Club. McChesney lives with his family in Spokane, including a Quaker Parrot, a corn snake, and two 1960s-vintage Corvairs, all of whom have names.


174 SPOKANE CDA • September • 2012


by Holly Chase Williams


When Johnny Came Marching by John R. Downes


You could be forgiven for mistaking this book for a novel. It’s writ-


ten like one, but it’s actually the autobiography of a man who almost wasn’t. As a WWII baby, Downes’ convoy from England to America was struck by German U-boat torpedoes. Like all writers, the man could not resist asking: What if? Countless lives were lost that day… why not his? His sister? His mother? And later, what if his real father had returned after the war? How did God fit in? The events of Downes’ early years engendered an admirable


resilience in his spirit; primarily his mother’s tendency to park her offspring in orphanages while carving out her own place in the world. (For example, when he was discharged from the Navy in 1958, Downes threw away the papers that would have qualified him for VA disability benefits.) Beyond the human story that fascinates, the nuggets of local history


in this engaging read are irresistible. Like the battle waged by Downes and Spokane Park Director Bill Fearn to save the Looff Carrousel, at that time sitting in a warehouse after the closure of Natatorium Park. Or, the founding of the Gavel Club at Bobby Rhay’s Washington State Penitentiary. Earlier, Downes meets his wife at Lewis & Clark High School and marries her at the Hitching Post. Earlier still, he makes his first home in Spokane with his parents on Boone Avenue, just three blocks from Natatorium Amusement Park and Downes’ first job. Story material for novels, the autobiography says, come from


everywhere. Certainly a number can be found in the life of John Downes. For writers, students of human nature, and residents of Spo- kane! Published by AuthorHouse, , paperback, $19.95


John R. Downes is the author of A Few Deadly Friends, Orphans Song, Brother and Sister Act, and The Treasure of the Neighborhoods: Spokane Alters its Political Base, among others. He is a past winner of the Short Fiction Prize from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for a 1,000-word story which is included in this autobiography. Downes is retired and lives in Spokane.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164  |  Page 165  |  Page 166  |  Page 167  |  Page 168  |  Page 169  |  Page 170  |  Page 171  |  Page 172  |  Page 173  |  Page 174  |  Page 175  |  Page 176  |  Page 177  |  Page 178  |  Page 179  |  Page 180  |  Page 181  |  Page 182  |  Page 183  |  Page 184  |  Page 185  |  Page 186  |  Page 187  |  Page 188  |  Page 189  |  Page 190  |  Page 191  |  Page 192  |  Page 193  |  Page 194  |  Page 195  |  Page 196  |  Page 197  |  Page 198  |  Page 199  |  Page 200  |  Page 201  |  Page 202  |  Page 203  |  Page 204  |  Page 205  |  Page 206  |  Page 207  |  Page 208  |  Page 209  |  Page 210  |  Page 211  |  Page 212