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Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

Be prepared to take a trip when reading When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss. This trip will be unlike any one you have ever taken before. That is unless you were in your 20s, living in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the East coast, more 

Book By Author:  James W Gilliam

 Action / Adventure
  978-1-60910-62, Inc.
 Surviving the mean streets of New Orleans in 1956, young Tim Kelly begins a young Indiana Jones style adventure by lying about his age to join the Coast Guard at fourteen. Almost a decade later, Kelly transfers to San Francisco where he immediately runs afoul of his new executive officer. In lieu of a court martial Kelly volunteers for combat duty in Vietnam where three of his friends are killed in a friendly fire incident. Deeply mourning the loss of his friends, he releases his rage in an Air Force officer's club and is punished with a less than honorable discharge. Back in the U. S. Kelly embarks on a new career as an undercover narcotics agent, entering the shadow world of drug and human trafficking sponsored by his old friend and mentor Rodolfo Guzman, a kingpin in the powerful Campeche drug cartel. His failure to check in with his handler alerts a team of Texas lawmen who embark on an illegal, clandestine, armed incursion into the sovereign territory of Mexico to rescue Tim, or recover his body. It is a bold and dangerous plan.
Date Reviewed:   



A fast paced novel with excellent depth of character.


Point Deception by Jim Gilliam is action packed with excellent character development throughout. The tale follows Tim Kelly, a spunky Irish kid who is befriended by some diverse characters: a pair of scrappy brothers; a drug cartel overlord; and a local deputy. Through these friends, Tim sees both sides of the law.  He is a hopeless romantic and is ready to take on the world…on his own terms. We follow Tim as he leaves home at sixteen to make it on his own. This is where the real story starts to unfold. Being sixteen, on your own during the 60s was a dangerous adventure which Tim sees first hand. Even though he is challenged through the trials and errors of youth, it is not until he experiences intense action in Vietnam on a Coast Guard patrol boat that the reader starts to see the man evolving from the boy. Tim, now years older in experience, is still battling youth and its impulsiveness. Impulsiveness that has him fall in love, be kicked out of the Coast Guard and betray a life long friend.

Point Deception is a quick read and has surprising depth of character and plot for a short novel. Gilliam's personal experiences shine through in the novel, but the writing style with extra spacing read almost like a screenplay. That being said, I read it in one sitting wanting to know what would happen next to Tim. I was a bit disappointed that it ended so quickly with no closure on his love interest.  The author is working on a sequel and left me wanting to know what will happen next in Tim's life.


Author Details

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James Gilliam Author:  James W Gilliam


Like his protagonist, Jim Gilliam ran away from home and joined the Coast Guard at 14. He has recently retired from the Navy's Military Sealift Command and is currently writing the sequel to his novel. He lives with his wife Laura in Warwick, New York.