MILITARY BOOKS

Jim R. Lane

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Jim R. Lane is a twenty-year navy veteran and a former legal officer.  He is also the author of Static, Duty and Blindside.

 

Publisher’s Weekly said of Duty, “This provocative morality play, Lane's second novel (after Static), is a scathing indictment of the military justice system and the cover-your-rear attitude of the U.S. Navy. Petty Officer Marion Lamm, a 12-year Navy veteran and respected sailor aboard the fleet tug Modoc, based in San Diego, is falsely accused of homosexuality by a druggie shipmate. The ship's captain, an irrational martinet and rabid homophobe, demands that Lamm be court-martialed, ordering the legal officer, Lt.Mark Palmer, to gather enough evidence to ensure a conviction. Palmer is a hapless but ambitious officer with 16 years in the service and, though he knows the case is a sham, he's too frightened to cross the captain.

 

The mysterious disappearance at sea of Lamm's accuser complicates the case, but the captain bullies Palmer to carry on. While Palmer investigates, he begins to have private doubts about his own sexuality, realizing how difficult it is to categorize and certify desire. Other servicemen are disgusted with the blatant injustice they observe, but conflicted Palmer persists in selling out his conscience and honor, with predictable results. Palmer's last-minute change of heart and a confrontation with his captain saves neither Lamm nor himself, and the Navy's attitude that "the appearance of justice is as important as justice itself" prevails.

 

Earnestly lacing his story with stinging critical commentary about the military's hypocrisy regarding homosexuality and sexual harassment, Lane candidly depicts rigid career officers and near-illiterate, bigoted and slovenly enlisted men, and Palmer's fainthearted complicity humanizes the book's central moral crisis. Through the character of the conflicted Palmer, Lane emphasizes both the corrupt methods and the demoralizing effects of coercive politics in military life, and his absorbing narrative is a call to action.”


Duty: A Novel
Jim R. Lane  More Info

Blindside: A Novel
Jim R. Lane  More Info
Static
Jim R. Lane  More Info

Publisher’s Weekly said of Blindside, “Any novel about a naval court-martial proceeding invites comparison with Herman Wouk's immense The Caine Mutiny; former navy man Lane (Duty) is far less ambitious in his short novel, but he does offer an insider's view. Comdr. Neal Olen, whose wife, Yvonne, had briefly left him, was inveigled into a weekend affair by Angela Vance, herself separated from her husband. Now his marriage is sound again, he's retired from the navy and working for Defense Dynamics. Unfortunately, Angela has just published a "sleazy tell-all" bestseller, Navy Wench, in which he is thinly disguised as "Allen Neil."

 

Olen is pilloried in the press and soon brought up on charges of adultery and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," each punishable by loss of retirement rights and privileges, as well as a fine and a jail sentence. Making matters worse, "Allen Neil" is portrayed as trying to impress his lover by imparting naval secrets. Olen engages Lethajoy Beltower, an experienced military lawyer and naval veteran who herself was forced into retirement because she refused to conceal her homosexuality. Olen admits to the affair, but denies revealing any secrets. A preliminary hearing finds insufficient evidence to convict, but the navy, embarrassed at the flagrant dismissal of charges after the Tailhook incident, wishes to pursue the court-martial. Flat narration and perfunctory characterization exacerbate the frustration of clumsy plot turns (Angela's husband tries twice to kill Olen), but the subject matter is tantalizing and Lane keeps the story moving at a steady pace.”

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