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Sharon E. Cathcart
on Sep. 13, 2012 :
"The Kepi" has a great premise: a Civil War buff sees a kepi with a man's name in it at the Gettysburg Museum and decides to see what he can learn about the Confederate soldier who wore it.
Unfortunately, the premise suffers somewhat in the book's execution.
The book leaps back and forth in time between present and past -- which it also does with tenses. Sometimes it's in first person and sometimes in third. I can't help wondering whether the author started it in first person present and then decided to change both POV and tense; if he missed some of the changes along the way, that would explain a lot. I initially wondered if there was supposed to be some sort of paranormal element to the tale, but that did not appear to be the case.
In any event, we see something of the life of Corporal Joe Page through the eyes of his Indian scout friends, a Quaker village and even his well-to-do surgeon cousin (whose relation to Joe is not explained until halfway through the book, despite early focus on both mens' births). There is a great deal of telling instead of showing, and sometimes the book felt pedantic.
There were some formatting problems with the ePub edition I read, which does sometimes happen. That was not nearly as disturbing as the jumps in tense for no apparent reason.
I found the ending anti-climactic and even a little annoying. Others may feel differently.
(reviewed long after purchase)