THE BIG INCH
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII
Date of Publication: January 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 344
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Kimberly Fish’s debut novel, The Big Inch, was released in February, 2017 and it reveals the lengths to which Texas oilmen, state, and federal governments would go to get Texas crude oil to the troops fighting their first mechanized war. With Nazi threats (and a steady stream of oil tankers sunk by German submarines) speed was necessary, as was OSS intelligence. The Office of Strategic Services was often staffed with female spies and Longview’s World War II efforts were critical for success.
Lane Mercer, sent to Longview, Texas in July 1942, is part of a select group of women working undercover for the fledgling federal agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Assigned to protect the man carrying out President Roosevelt’s initiative to build the nation’s first overland pipeline to hurry East Texas crude to the troops, she discovers there’s more to Longview than the dossiers implied. There’s intrigue, mayhem, and danger. Shamed from a botched OSS mission in France, Lane struggles to fulfill her mission and keep from drowning in guilt. Getting involved in local life is out of the question. Between family, do-gooders, and Nazi threats, she’s knitted into a series of events that unravel all of her carefully constructed, plans, realizing that sometimes the life one has to save, is one’s own.
PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH
“With an eye for detail, Kimberly Fish weaves a compelling story of a war widow who finds herself in Longview, Texas in 1942. Reading Kimberly’s novel was a bit like going back to a cloak and dagger time, and I enjoyed the local references. Longview was an amazing place to be during WWII.” — Van Craddock, Longview News Journal, Columnist
“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.” — Vickie Phelps Author of Moved, Left No Address
Once I read the description of where the book was set, I knew I had to read it! I lived in Longview for a few years growing up and still have family and friends in this town. Even though this book is historical and doesn’t represent what the town looks like now, I was curious as to how much would be accurate. To my surprise, it seems like quite a bit. I really enjoyed reading the book and reading the street names that I have traveled frequently like Fredonia and Methvin. It was like taking a trip down memory lane!
This was set during the oil boom of East Texas in the 1940’s. I had heard a lot about this when we moved to East Texas and there is even a museum in Kilgore dedicated to this era. While this is a fictional book, I feel like the author did a good job researching the area and what was going on during that time.
Lane is a strong woman and during the 40’s that just wasn’t a characteristic you saw portrayed from most women mostly because of domineering men. However, Lane managed to have a successful career as an undercover agent and was sent to Longview to make sure that a pipeline (called the Big Inch) wasn’t destroyed or sabotaged. Her keen sense of observation in several situations put her in the public eye as a heroine which definitely caused a conflict with trying to remain undercover and unknown. But more than what she was in Longview to do for the government, I think she was dealing with her own demons from what happened on her last assignment in Paris and also with her family. She had her own demons to battle and come to terms with the past. I enjoyed watching Lane blossom by the end of the book and become an even stronger woman to be reckoned with.
The book is not without a love interest and Zeke fills that role. It is hard to know what side he is on as it seems like he is playing both sides against each other. But one thing for sure is his interest in Lane and trying to convince her that he was good enough for her.
There are many other intriguing characters that lend interesting twists to the story. From the Judge, so Tesco and even Theo. There is quite a twist at the end that I did not expect and who was trying to create havoc for the pipeline. I don’t think I really knew that there was a mini mystery to be solved, and it was solved with even a bit of humor and ingenuity on Lane’s part.
Overall a very enjoyable book and since it looks like this might be a series I wonder if Lane will be in future books or if there will be a new place in history to explore. We give this 4 paws up.
Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won a Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats, She lives with her family in East Texas.
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One Winner wins a signed copy of The Big Inch
One Winner who purchases the book during the tour wins a bag of Johnny Cace’s Cheese Croutons
March 8 – 22, 2017
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