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Marlan Warren is a free-lance publicist who promotes entertainers and book authors (Roadmap Communications and Book Publicity by Marlan, respectively). She is also a film maker (Roadmap Productions), Reiki Master/Teacher (Light Hands Reiki Studio and Institute), Screenwriter, Novelist, PhotoJournalist, Tai Chi practitioner. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW: "JITTERBUG LIFT"- Food not bombs rebuild Berlin in this taut thriller

Her whole person had a fire, a hunger.  It never crossed his mind 
that it was for anything but him.
                                                                                                                      --JITTERBUG LIFT by Oliver Flynn

Title: Jitterbug Lift
Author: Oliver Flynn
Published 2013 by CreateSpace
ISBN-13: 978-1479259137
Author's Website: Oliver Flynn Web Site
Available on Amazon: Amazon: Jitterbug Lift


Reading “Jitterbug Lift” was like watching a great movie in Smell-A-Vision on a roller coaster while trying to balance a bucket of popcorn on my knees.  It had me at page 1.  

A riveting page-turner, its themes of forgiveness and solidarity resonate in our 21st Century as ever more lines in the sand are drawn politically, globally, sexually, and racially.   These days when someone can lose their life for wearing a “hoodie” or a turban, it’s important to remember the Berlin Airlift—when the same pilots who dropped bombs over Berlin volunteered to save Berliners from starving at the hands of the occupying Soviets three years later. 

Jesus advised us to turn the other cheek.  But just how challenging is that really? The answer fuels “Jitterbug Lift.”

As a baby boomer, I knew about the Cold War, but not what started it.  Despite my Southern teachers’ insistence that Communism was a “Red Menace,” I was not sure if that was entirely true. I don’t know why I remained ignorant of the sadistic “Berlin Blockade” engineered by the Soviets to force post-war Berliners into submission through deprivation. 

Oliver Flynn (actually 3 authors) has crafted a masterpiece that boldly tackles an aspect of Western Allies’ involvement in the Cold War that goes beyond spy vs. spy.  Not only is “Jitterbug Lift” historically accurate, it offers a fun read with delicious writing.  

Some of my favorite lines include:

“Years of flying mixed with an almost spiritual understanding of what keeps planes in the air moved his hands and eyes.”

“It took an hour for the doctor with them to separate Ivanoff’s charred back from the remnants of the cockpit seat.”

As a Jewish woman who lost most of her family in the Holocaust, I was a tad wary of a story that may be “pro-German.”  I found that the story is pro-human life.  Jewish and otherwise.

And the best part?  Women save the day.  Feeble, starved, strong women.  The storyline runs on contradictions, paradoxes and ironies.  Our Kraut-hating American hero, Chance, trades bombs for food cargo as the former bomber pilot takes on missions with the Airlift to rescue his friend whose plane has gone down in enemy territory.  The Allies’ new enemy (Soviet Union) is their former friend and vice versa.  And there’s a mysterious femme fatale who will do anything for a “higher cause”—and I mean anything.  Even ordinary furniture takes on a sinister use when it’s used as a torture device.

A friend asked if “Jitterbug Lift” is a “bodice ripper.” Well, buttons do pop off from time to time, but at its core, this is a Love Story.  The love of one man for his best friend; one American for one German; citizens for their country; parents for children; the religious for their religion; prisoners for freedom; and the most moving of all: 

The love of humans for humanity.

Originally published 2013 on my Open Salon Blog: