Moffie has written a great comedic story. He applies wit to situational tensions from the 1950 Cold War policies of Russia and America and leaves laughter. Moffie’s style seems to be to split scenes in time and space while relentlessly bringing the two plots together into a single and inevitable conclusion.
“Toughski shitski” is the coined phrase in this delightful tale of the Cold War. When Stalin dies suddenly, coitus interruptus, three men are given a mission. To kill John Wayne, the Duke, and fulfill Stalin’s final request. The American scenes focus around Dick Powell, Hollywood producer, Howard Hughes, eccentric billionaire and RKO Pictures owner, and the production of “The Conqueror.” The Russian scenes focus on conditions and problems in 1950s Russia for the citizens until the assassins are dispatched to America.
Ivan, Boris, and Alexei are the hapless assassin team sent to kill the Duke. They are tragically comic throughout the tale and seek to find their places in the life that has been dealt them. Through a series of mishaps and misadventures, ultimately, they are in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time. From that point on they travel from one near-disaster to another seeking to accomplish their mission. Although they always seem to come out alive and well, while avoiding the seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of people by the Communist leadership, a secret is discovered.
Dick Powell, Howard Hughes, and the other characters involved are portrayed well, historical to a fine degree and still very full and rich. Many “secrets” about the lives and antics of 1950s Hollywood are revealed as well as truly insightful depths into many of the myths of the same era. Through these “real life” events, Moffie’s polemic is proven about the deception of America and some of America’s biggest icons by the Cold War Warriors (CWW) in power in the 1950s.
Moffie seems to be true to the character and personality of each real life person portrayed here. Dick Powell is the friendly and creative producer of myth and legend. Howard Hughes is the eccentric but troubled billionaire duped by the American government into the premise of the tale. John Wayne is almost reverently true to legend and all the more iconic because of it. The foibles of the other players and their individual contributions to the story and to the legends dealt with are realistic and lightly presented in a sense of play and enjoyment in the midst of the hard work of movie production.
The appendix, titled “The Body Count,” is a true to life representation of the Russian and American lives affected or possibly affected by the deceptions of the CWW. They are chronicled leaving a lasting impression of the loss due to the fear of the Cold War arms race.
Well written and placed smoothly in the ambience of the era, Moffie’s book has created a comedic-tragedy that can open the eyes and the mind of the reader. His characterization talent and his research into the time and the people shows on almost every page. Even with the tragedy of the endings, there is throughout a light-heart fatalistic perspective, thus, “toughski shitski” comes into the language of people looking back through Moffie’s tale of the Cold War.
Published by CreateSpace ($12.98 USD SRP/Amazon $12.98 USD) Reviewer received book from author.