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D.G. ~Shameless Reader~

Book blogger, audiobook lover and shamelessly honest reviewer. Mostly read fantasy, mystery, romance, UF and YA but all genres welcome.

More historical fiction than a mystery

Red Sky in Morning: A Novel of World War II - Patrick Culhane, Joe Barrett

 

Red Sky in Morning is really more historical fiction than a mystery. It's an excellent portrayal of a segregated ship during World War II with a mystery thrown in as the climax of the story (the murder happens in the last part of the book.) Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it tremendously. This is a book about men (there’s only one important female character), racial relations, sexual orientation and war. With that combination of themes, no wonder one of the characters called the ship the USS Powder Keg.

The author was really true to the times so there’s very foul epithets directed to both African American and gays. If you are very sensitive about those subjects, this book may not be for you. However, I think it’s impossible to accurately portray and make the reader feel the treatment that both these groups were subjected if the book was politically correct.

I really liked how the author showed a complete picture of some of the bigoted characters. I confess I liked some of those men despite their prejudice and narrow-mindedness because some of them could still be brave, witty and kind in other circumstances.

Music also was an important part of the plot and the way the author bridged the gap between the main character (a white man who had never met a black man before he had enlisted) and the black sailors. It also served to reflect the atmosphere of the time and the war.

The mystery unfurled slowly and it was handled very well. I thought I knew who was going to get whacked but when the murder happened, it really surprised me. The murderer wasn't as much of a surprise although he was just one of the suspects - it wasn't one of those where there are neon signs pointing at the murderer that everybody ignores.

Joe Barrett did an excellent job with the narration. He has a very masculine voice but he was able to manage all the different characters and and the emotions were pitch-perfect. There were even a few songs – he’s not a great singer but at least could carry a tune. :) I’ll definitely be listening more of his narrations in the future.