Friday, October 8, 2010

Hanger Flying - Review

Books are either good reads or they’re not.  Whether a story is fiction or non-fiction, a story must be a good story well told if it is to succeed.  It’s that simple.
Hanger Flying by Alfred J. (Joe) D’Amario, Lt/Col., USAF, Ret., is a good story, and it is well told. Honestly, it was a series of stories about his flying experiences, which the author describes as “hours and hours of sheer boredom punctuated by stark moments of panic”.  “Hanger flying” is the term pilots use to describe those days on which, for whatever reason, they are unable to fly, so they ‘hanger fly’ instead.  That is, they sit around a table with coffee or a beer and tell flying stories, each in turn trying to out-story the others.  In fact, it is no stretch to say that Colonel D’Amario’s writing style  leaves you feeling like you’ve been let in on a little secret, and passed the secret handshake and password test, and get to pull up a chair to the Bard’s Table.
Joe D’Amario is as good a story teller as he was a pilot, and is careful along the way to ‘splain it to us civilians in a way clearly understood without being condescending.
Joe began flying when both flying and Joe were in their  youth.  His dream was to be a military pilot.  The author says of himself, that they could have buried him with a smile on his face the day they handed him his civilian pilot’s license – he had achieved his dream.
D’Amario goes on for about 270 pages in this fast paced, very readable missive in which he accomplishes the often difficult task of carrying the reader along for the ride. 
I had just finished an emotionally difficult read, and needed some light fare to bring me back on even keel, if you’ll pardon my mixed metaphor, and this was list the ticket.
As has been the case with many self-published book I’ve reviewed, the author did his job.  The editor let the author down.  Hanger Flying, ISBN 978-1-4343-5528-7 , ©2008 by Alfred J. D’Amario is published by Author House®, a vanity publisher which charges authors to edit, setup, print and market their work.  Whether the author ever sells a single book or not, Author House® has their money up front.  Traditional publishing houses pay the author and get their money when the book sells.  In D’Amario’s case, the publisher took his money and ran.
For example, chapter six in both the table of contents and on page 39 where the chapter begins, bear the chapter title “A STRNGE FUEL EMERGENCY”.  Understand that it is the writer’s job to turn the best manuscript possible in to the publisher, but when you purchase a publishing package that includes editing, it is the editor’s job to catch what the author missed.  Sadly for Hanger Flying, the editor appears to have not even looked at the manuscript.  There are far too many instances of missing letters, grammatically incorrect sentences, extra periods and the such to convince me that anyone at Author House® did any more than take Colonel D’Amario’s money and run with it.
And that’s sad.  I loved this book!   The author mixes humor and ‘moments of stark panic’ in a way that keeps you looking forward to the next hanger flight.  And it angers me when publishers don’t bother to give an author what he’s paying for.
Hanger Flying by Tampa writer Joe D’Amario , Lt./Col. USAF Ret. Is a good read and deserves better.  Joe D’Amario is an American hero, and he deserves better.  5 stars out of 5 for Hanger Flying. 1 out of 5 for Author House®, only because they spelled the author’s name correctly.
Hanger Flying is available from the author’s web page, and at Barnes & Noble.  True to form, doesn’t even list either the author or the book. 
You can also get a signed copy of Hanger Flying and meet Colonel D’Amario at the Holiday Writer’s Fair, Saturday , 11th December, 2010 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm in the clubhouse at Brentwood Estates, 15025 Savanah Avenue, Hudson, FL  34667.

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