Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J Gobbell
Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
Inspired by the true story of John F. Kennedy’s daring naval mission at the height of World War II, this historical thriller brings the unanswered question of the past to life with fast-paced action and vivid detail.
After surviving a near suicidal mission on Mondo Mondo Island, Lieutenant Commander Todd Ingram is sent back to the States on a thirty-day leave—but the war waits for no one, and trouble is already rippling through the Pacific Theater.
Fresh from Stateside training, Lieutenant JG John Kennedy takes command of the PT 109, a torpedo boat in desperate need of repairs, for the upcoming mission to retake the Western Solomon Islands. But the war isn’t the only thing on Kennedy’s mind: he’s torn between his family’s expectations and his forbidden love for Inga Arvad, a beautiful Danish columnist who narrowly escaped Nazi occupied Germany.
When a disastrous attempt to interrupt Japanese supply lines slices Kennedy’s PT 109 in half, Ingram and his six destroyers must pick up where Kennedy left off. Can Ingram save Kennedy and his stranded men while defeating the Japanese? Ingram is prepared to fight to the end, but victory comes at a steep price behind enemy lines…
Nineteen hundred forty-three is a major turning point in the war in the Pacific. John Gobbell writes a very interesting account of the PT boats which attacked and harassed Japanese shipping around the Solomon Islands. This narrative focuses on the cadre of officers and men who executed this part of the war. They were in wooden ships approximately 30 feet at beam and 80 feet long. With a complement of thirteen men, they had to be mostly self-sufficient.
Among these was a young Lieutenant Junior Grade named John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This account of his service cast an entirely new light on President Kennedy and his actions in the South Pacific! He was a bit of a rounder and a rascal taking care of his boat and shipmates with the actions of a scrounger.
Being assigned to the PT 109 was being assigned to a boat that was dry-docked with holes in the hull and many operational issues. Thirty-plus days were required to get her sea-worthy. Lt. J.G. Kennedy replaced the boats’ three Packard 1600 engines with those pilfered in shipping crates at the naval repair docs. Nothing seemed to be nailed down where Kennedy was concerned. He took care of his craft and crew like a jealous mother-in-law took care of her daughters.
Jack Kennedy was rather irascible in the treatment of others. He finally had his tail feathers clipped when a senior officer informed him that he was headed to the brig if any further ordinance or supplies were purloined from the supply area. By this time the PT 109 was one of the best equipped of the PT boats. This served him and his crew admirably in the months to come.
The function of the PT boats was to harass and attempt to sink Japanese shipping going through the slot in the Solomon Islands. This sea corridor was a major route for the Japanese supplying their troops in the Pacific theatre and sinking Allied Ships. Many islands in this island chain had thousands of Japanese entrenched in the hills and mountains through this passage.
The author has painted John F. Kennedy as a very likable commander and a champion for his men. He was also a very tenacious practical joker. The Japanese found him a worthy foe. The book is fun to read and shows another side of our very famous 35th president. I could not put it down. 5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Genre: Sea Adventures Fiction, Historical Thrillers, War Fiction
Publisher: Severn River Publishing
Print Length: 404 pages
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Somewhere in the South Pacific [Amazon]
The Author: JOHN J. GOBBELL is a former Navy Lieutenant who saw duty as a destroyer weapons officer. His ship served in the South China Sea, granting him membership in the exclusive ATonkin Gulf Yacht Club.@ As an executive recruiter, his clients include military/commercial aerospace companies giving him insight into character development under a historical thriller format. A Code For Tomorrow is the second of four stand-alone novels in the Todd Ingram series. Altogether, he has written six novels involving U.S. Navy action and is currently at work on his seventh. He and his wife Janine live in Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams