Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Review of "Dale of the Mounted DEW Line Duty," by Joe Holliday

 Review of

Dale of the Mounted DEW Line Duty, by Joe Holliday

Four out of five stars

The modern Mountie battles spies

 The setting is the height of the Cold War when the United States and Canada are building the Distant Early Warning or DEW line radar system in the far north area of Canada. It was designed to give the earliest possible warning if Soviet bombers were flying to attack the United States and Canada. Dale Thompson is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Mounties) and when the book opens he is tasked with overseeing a group of refugees fleeing the communist oppression in Europe. The timeframe is immediately after the Hungarian uprising in 1956.

 The concern within the government is that certain undesirables, specifically members of the communist secret police, are among the refugees. There is in fact one such person, a man named Kovass. His mission is to infiltrate the construction sites of the DEW line and do whatever he can to sabotage the effort. Kovass will do anything necessary, including the committing of murder in order to achieve his ends.

 It is a battle of wits in the far north between Dale and his allies and Kovass and his allies, including unwitting recruits among the locals. There are several close calls, some success by Kovass, but eventually, Dale and his fellow soldiers are able to defeat the spy network and remove the danger.

 This is very much an adventure novel of the fifties, when the Red Scare was a dominant social phenomena. Some knowledge of the events in Europe in the mid-fifties is helpful in understanding the context, but it is not necessary to enjoy the adventure. Well done spy stories at the YA level are always entertaining, and this is one of them.

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