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Publisher's Summary

Lane Mercer, sent to Longview, Texas, in July, 1942, is part of a select group of women working undercover for a fledgling federal agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Assigned to protect the man carrying out President Roosevelt's initiative to build the nation's first overland pipeline to hurry East Texas crude to the troops, she discovers there is more to Longview than the dossiers implied. There is intrigue, mayhem, and danger. 

Shamed from a botched OSS mission in France, Lane struggles to fulfill her commitment in Longview and keep from drowning in guilt. Getting involved in local life is out of the question. Between family, do-gooders, and Nazi threats, she becomes knitted into a series of events that unravel all of her carefully constructed plans, revealing that sometimes the life one has to save is one's own.

©2016 Kimberly Fish (P)2018 Kimberly Fish

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Southern Charm

I do enjoy a well-researched book and as much as I love following a strong female lead, it was great seeing the reality of the era. The main protagonist, Lane seemed to persevere past the stigmas of being deferred to domestic work. That assumption actually complemented her undercover work quite well.

The story was filled with open possibilities so it was nice to not know exactly what was going to happen and the romance was adorably sweet. There was a great build and connection to the characters throughout which can be attributed both to the narrator of this audiobook and the story.

The narrator on this was a blast. She was a bit high pitched, but her accents were excellent. The pitch had me having to turn the volume up a little more than normal because it came off a little soft, but the numerous characters she brought to life compensated ten folds. She would talk through a single breathe at exciting scenes and her voice would rise and speed up and it made you stop what you were doing and get caught on that same single breathe in anticipation. Great southern charm!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Texas charm all around!

The Big Inch was my first experience using Audible. I normally go “old school” and listen to books on CD on my daily commute, but it’s getting harder to find what I want that way. Audible has a huge selection, and I'm glad I had an opportunity to experience a new format for the audio book tour for this historical fiction novel written by Kimberly Fish and narrated by Sydney Young.

One of the things I learned right away is that the speed of the narration can be adjusted with Audible, and that went a long way toward improving the listening experience. My ears and my brain seem to feel the need for the speed! Once that was adjusted, I settled in and truly enjoyed listening to The Big Inch.

This is Ms.Young’s first time to narrate an audio book, and I would have never guessed that based on the range of voices she uses to distinguish among the characters. The book is set in Longview, Texas during WWII, and the narrator’s southern accent really works in this case. I’ve listened to other non-southern narrators try to imitate our speech in the South with usually comical, if not irritating, results.

This story is about the completion of an oil pipeline, the titular ”Big Inch,” which would have been beneficial to the Allies during the war. Lane Mercer is an intelligence agent who had a traumatic experience working with the resistance in France and has been sent to Longview to act as a secretary to a military officer who is coordinating the completion of the pipeline. Her role is more than administrative, however, and she uses her keen observation skills and intelligence to keep things moving on the pipeline construction and the officer safe. Lane has family in Longview, and we gradually learn more about her upbringing and past through the course of the novel. There is a little mystery, and a little romance, but mostly The Big Inch is about all the characters who inhabit this small Texas town. The author has done a tremendous job of writing so many different distinct and well-developed characters, and Sydney Young’s narration truly shines in giving voice to them all.

My only criticism of the narration is that at times the narrator’s voice would elevate at the end of a sentence and make it difficult to follow that a new sentence had been started. And sometimes the pauses between words made it seem as though a sentence had ended. But I think that overall this was a well-narrated book, especially for a first time narrator.

As for the story itself, there were a few anachronisms that caught my ear. I’m not sure “climbing the corporate ladder” was a phrase used yet in the 1940s, and was the term sausage biscuits part of the vernacular yet? Not sure! At times, the pacing of the story was rather slow, with a lot more dialogue than action occurring. I remember it took a really long time (listening-wise) for the main character to “faint” after a shooting occurred in which she bravely saved the life of a stranger. Other than that, I truly enjoyed this historical fiction novel, primarily because I’m a native Texan, and I’m sorry to say it never occurred to me to think about what was going on in my home state during World War II! I became engaged enough in the setting and the characters to want to read the next book in the Misfits and Millionaires series, Harmon General.

I appreciated the opportunity to spend a number of enjoyable hours on my daily commute getting to know the great characters from the mind of Kimberly Fish and Sydney Young’s mellifluous narration. I would read another book by this author and listen to another audio book by this narrator, which is my high praise indeed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Historical Fiction- Texas Style!

The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish is a 2017 publication.

Fascinating world war two intrigue- Texas style!

Lane Mercer’s new assignment sends her to Longview, Texas. Her mission is the keep an eye on the man in charge of the crucial pipeline that will send fuel to the troops, a necessity due to the probable German interception.

As Lane arrives in Texas, she is a still a bit rattled by the failure of her previous mission and is suffering from what we would now recognize as PTSD. As Lane settles into the East Texas community, she finds herself involved in all manner of small -town dramas, while standing up and speaking out against racism, and even lands herself in the middle of a love triangle. She also finds her current assignment to be more of a challenge than she expected.

Although, Lane may have been feeling tender and fragile when we first meet her, she’s pretty quick on her feet, and has an uncanny power of observation. As the story progresses, she rises to the occasion, shows her true mettle, and is one of the most determined women you will ever meet!

I loved this story! I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and while I do try very hard to support Texas authors and love books set in Texas, I haven’t stumbled across any quite like this one. For those who are unaware, the pipeline the book is named after was finally given the green light after the United States entered the second world war. It was crucial because without it the Germans could intercept our oil shipments which the troops needed to do their jobs. So, Lane’s job was to see that the pipeline was not sabotaged. Her target, however, proves difficult to keep in her sights, and it turns out there is a great deal of intrigue going on in Longview, Texas, which was humorous as it was suspenseful, at times.

One minor complaint is the pacing with is just a little slow in some places, but the story is quite absorbing despite a few ebbs and flows.

Of course, for me, the big old softie, with a penchant for love stories, I was thrilled by the romantic elements in the story. Lane is a very sought- after young lady, but she’s also very independent and her career is her number one priority. While one may secretly root for one or more of Lane’s romantic prospects, I was very pleased with her choice.

Since I am reviewing the audio version of the book, I should mention the narration and the quality of the audio.

If you get the chance to add the audio, I do highly recommend it. The narrator has a very pleasing voice, and her southern inflections were nicely done. I felt as though I got a clearer picture of Lane in my mind with the audio version and could truly envision her character in the many unique scenarios in which she found herself in.

The story held my attention, which is something I occasionally struggle with while listening to an audiobook, as my mind does occasionally wander. However, I found myself listening to this one, very intently, although it seemed like it took me a while to finish it. Still, I looked forward to my daily sessions with Lane and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next in the story.

Overall, this is a terrific story centered around real events, and as a Texas resident, I enjoyed the setting and learned a bit more about Texas history, which is always fun. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I highly recommend this one! It has a bit of something for everyone, and Lane is a terrific character that will stay with you long after you finish the book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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date-specific scenes weaved together into an overa

The Big Inch is a dive into Texas Oil history during World War II. The main character is an under-cover former spy, pretending to be a secretary. Lane is a great character, who, along with a bevy of other stand-out characters, make for a compelling novel.

Let's start at the end for my review. I loved the end of The Big Inch! I'll admit that the beginning of the novel was a bit slow for me. But once the action picks up, I really began to enjoy it. The last couple of hours really caught my attention. My favorite scene in the whole book is that of Lane tossing and turning, restlessly running over her day while not sleeping. That's pretty much me on a daily basis. As the pipe line is completed, and the mysteries in the books are wrapped up, I was quite satisfied with the end of the Lane's story. There is also a great setup for the next book . No cliff-hangers here, thankfully.

The Big Inch is written in date-specific scenes weaved together into an overall story. This journal style works for the novel. We get the highlights of what is happening in Lane's life, without the day-to-day tedium. The focus of the story is that of Lane’s life while she’s working and trying to live her life.

The characters are well-rounded individuals, especially Lane. We learn the history of why she’s been positioned to help with the pipeline building. I really enjoyed the scenes with Lane and her aunt Edith. We can really see the struggle that civilians endured on the home front during World War II. Or what Edith sees as a struggle. 😉

I don't normally read other reviews for books I'm reviewing, as they tend to influence me a bit too much. But when The Big Inch originally toured with Lone Star Book Blog Tours, I read Kristine Hall's great review. What stood out to me most in the review is her comment on the love square’ in the novel. That square analogy is so true! Through most of the book, I was wondering which male character Lane would truly fall for. As a war widow, Lane is a bit gun-shy on dating anyone. The three potential suitors have their own strengths and flaws. Like Lane, I can see the appeal in each one. Mostly though, I enjoyed the witty banter between Lane and her beaus, especially Zeke. Ms. Fish does a fantastic job with the dialog between the characters. The downside of audio books is listening makes it difficult to find great quotes. Luckily, I have also the e-book to share a quote with you!

If you fall in, she called out, I'm leaving you there to rot.
If I fall in, I've got bigger problems than a bad back, so shoot me and put me out of my misery.
(Lane to Zeke, while helping him to the outhouse)


The audio narration was a hit and a miss for me. l appreciate how well Ms. Young portrayed the different characters, each with her or his own distinct voice. This is a great strength in a narrator that I can appreciate as an avid listener of audio books. It's always more enjoyable for me if I can pick out different characters from the narration. I struggled, however, with the breathy pauses and the accents. For Lane's voice, Ms. Young uses breathy pauses to express frustration and indignation. The technique works and feels conversational. But also frustrates me. I don't think I'd be able to have a conversation with a person who uses that many breathy pauses without wanting to walk away before the end of the chat. The problem with the accents is my own, not the narration. There is something about southern accents that grates on my nerves. (Yes, even though I live in Texas.) Ms. Young voices the different accents well, but my mid=western raised ears find the southern drawl displeasing. I'm always wondering if it's sincere, or over-done sarcasm.

Overall, the narration works for the novel, but I do wonder if I would remember more of the beginning of the novel if I had read it, instead of listened. I pick audio books because I can listen while doing menial tasks. While listening to the novel, I found myself loosing focus on a number of occasions. paying more attention to the other tasks at hand, instead of the novel. For me, I think the vignette style of this book would have been better read. I would have been better able to capture the essence of the story.

Either reading or listening, I'd recommend The Big Inch to fans of Texas History and/or strong female characters, with some romance and witty banter on the side.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Narrator makes book exciting

Excellent loud and clear voice and the perfect amount of emotion; easy on the ears.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Big Inch Review

The story line of this book started out promising. And, the ending was a surprise. But, the lack of intrigue and suspense in the middle was disappointing. I enjoyed the narrator's ability to bring the characters to life with the many different voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful