Thursday, February 13, 2014

Len Levinson and Doom Platoon

With Doom Platoon you are in war pulp heaven. Penned by Len Levinson under the name of Richard Gallagher, the book is a nonstop tilt a whirl hurl and churl actioner. On top of that, it has a cover to die for. Usually I read these kinds of books to see if I can incorporate some of the style into my own writing. But not this one. This one is pure pleasure and I have decided that I'm going to read all of Levinson's work for enjoyment only.

The plot is a loose bucket of bolts. It is about an army platoon in WWII that is assigned by the brass to hold off a German Panzer division on the road to the town of Dillendorf Germany. It is a suicide mission and the men know it. But since they are the dogface soldiers they are, they grit their teeth and take it.  The story takes another turn after the battle and then another.

The novel is also crude and bawdy. The characters are the typical stereotypes you find in war flicks: the New Yorker, the Texan etc-- and the SS and German characters are comic book evil. But clichés aside, Levinson does an excellent job of making the American characters likeable even when they are throwing insults at each other. Len's prose style is very visual and very cinematic. You can picture yourself up there on the hill taking German mortar rounds and butt-stroking a German soldier with your rifle.

The book does have its flaws and at times it gets a little hokey-- especially the scenes with Mazursky, Dexter and the German Baronesses. But that's all part of the fun. If you are a pulp and men's adventure nerd then Doom Platoon is one you should check out, as with Levinson's other books. Like I said, I definitely will.

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