Review of Death in Panama

Death in PanamaDeath in Panama by William Venema
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brings back not-fond memories of the military. Since the author based the story on his own experiences as a JAG lawyer in Panama, it rings true. I’ve never been to Panama before or after my Vietnam era service (including Vietnam) and I was enlisted not an officer. Still, enough there to identify with–lots of drinking, whoring, misogyny, racism and condescension toward the locals. Yes, lots like Viet Nam.

On the legal side, as a guy with a JD, I know the lingo and the judicial process that the author puts forth–except that proceedings in Courts Martial are more than a little different than civilian criminal courts. The author does a good job of distinguishing and explaining those differences along the way so no one will miss the issues that unfold.

Military or not–evidence is what it is. Inhumanity and adultery are what they are. Crime is what it is. So if legal drama, conflicted and flawed characters are in your reading repertoire, you will find this satisfying.

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