The Road to Grafenwöhr - Edward C. Patterson

I am constantly impressed by Edward C. Patterson's novels, and The Road to Grafenwöhr is no exception. It's the story of PFC Quincy Summerson, a Vietnam era draftee, who is sent to the kaserne at Grafenwohr as a radioman but is taken into the headquarters as a clerk instead.

There, he not only makes new friends, such as his bunkmates Striker, Ratzenberger, Pedillo and Mathias, but also some enemies: two motor-pool baddies named Verdigris and Stabbler. Summerson endures the usual round of hazing for being a smart guy with a gift for languages ... and his odd birthmark.

In fact, the locals seem to remark on it a lot ... and some of them are scared of it. The three knitting ladies, and their companion Luddy, whom he meets on the train into Grafenwohr are only the first.

And then, Summerson starts seeing ghosts.

This novel is a clever mixture of historical fiction, based on some of Patterson's experiences in the military, and paranormal. The characters are well-drawn, multi-dimensional people, not just cardboard caricatures. The situations, even the ones with paranormal overtones, are interesting. Patterson's prose invokes some vivid imagery, particularly when he talks about Summerson's visit to the grounds of a former concentration camp. I actually had goosebumps.

Unfortunately, the book was removed from Smashwords. I always like to review a book where I purchase it, but it was not possible this time. Highly recommended.