Yesterday I wrote about neat use of period speech in Rag and Bone, James R. Benn's fifth novel about Boston cop-turned-army-investigator Billy Boyle.
Today I reproduce two passages from the first book in the series, Billy Boyle. The selections are a touching portrayal of war's sobering effect on a brash young American when he sees it up close for the first time.
"We had been briefed in OCS on language differences and how to make nice with the Brits. Don't flash your money around, GIs are paid more than British officers, stuff like that. Me, I couldn't have cared less. The English had had their time in the sun when they conquered Ireland and ran it like their private preserve, killing and starving out my ancestors. If I hurt a few feelings waving around a sawbuck or two, big deal."But then:
"People parted and formed a narrow corridor as three stretchers were carried out of the destroyed building. Two held blanketed, inert forms. The third carried a person covered in soot highlighted by rust-colored dried blood along a leg and a hasty bandage wrapping a head. A thin female arm rose from the stretcher with two fingers raised in the V-for-victory sign as she was gingerly carried into the ambulance. There were murmurs of appreciation from the crowd, and then they drifted back into the morning routine. Another day at the war. The other two stretchers were left on the sidewalk for a journey to a different destination.© Peter Rozovsky 2010
"`Welcome to London,' Harding said as the traffic moved forward.
"`Yes, sir.' Maybe I wouldn't wave those sawbucks around for a while."