To Parts Unknown by John Anthony Miller

To Parts Unknown by John Anthony Miller
Publisher: Taylor & Seal
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (378 pgs)
Rated: Best Book
Review by Snapdragon

London, January 1942. London Times war correspondent, George Adams, is a tortured soul, devastated by his wife’s death and rejected by all branches of the military. Destroyed by events he couldn’t control, he can’t face the future and won’t forget the past. His editor sends him to Singapore, a city threatened by the Japanese, hoping the exotic location and impending crisis will erase his haunting memories. Within minutes of his arrival, George is caught in a near-fatal air raid that triggers a chain of conflict and catastrophes. Injured and sheltered underground, he meets Thomas Montclair, a crafty French spy, and Lady Jane Carrington Smythe, an English aristocrat, who are destined to share his adventures. When a Japanese general is murdered, Lady Jane becomes the prime suspect. The trio flees the enemy and their own troubled pasts, confronting personal demons as well as the Japanese. They chase their dreams and elude their nightmares, evading a manhunt that spans the islands of the southwest Pacific, their lives wrapped in a swirling kaleidoscope of death, doubt, and desire.

Miller’s new To Parts Unknown thrusts us directly into the action of World War II, in, of all places, Singapore. London Journalist George Adams hasn’t yet got his bearings, when the bombing begins…not all that much different from what he experienced at home, actually. This time, he has no time, no idea where to go, but a guardian angel in the shape of a smart, quick to react, and kind lady.

The speedy, unpredictable action of the start continues throughout this wonderful novel. George, we gradually discover, is an incredibly admirable man… and the dear lady he comes to admire so quickly, is so very attached to someone else. Though there seems nothing can be done about that, he steps up to help her without a second thought.

The local conditions are appalling–the sounds and smells and destruction of bombing raids, the fear and the anxiety of what might be coming next is incredibly real and believable. Miller’s distinctive, no nonsense, straight-forward style is …well, it is very like the voice we’d expect from his lead character: Honest, descriptive, true.

Characters, from the hastily-made friends to the people on the street, and the interactions with those but briefly met in trying circumstances, all are wonderfully believable. We follow George from Singapore toward the hope of safety, via cart, boat and even plane; and every moment, we hope Lady Jane might notice his heroic actions through his efforts to save others.

Sloppy layout left the text with some odd spacing issues, and while not terribly distracting, this work deserves better. This is a gripping, believable, alarming yet heartwarming read. This is the best story I have read in a very long time.

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