Finding Jack

Gareth Crocker, Author
Gareth Crocker, St. Martin's, $23.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-62172-8
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-9479-8
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-1-250-00384-3
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-312-64405-5
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This debut is undone by improbable action scenes and glaring errors of fact, resulting in a sappy and unbelievable story. In 1972, 29-year-old Fletcher Carson enlists to fight in Vietnam after his family is killed in a plane crash. With the war nearly over, Fletcher and his platoon gripe about the futility of the conflict as they embark on reconnaissance patrols and impossible secret missions. During one patrol, the men find a wounded trained scout dog that they name Jack, nurse back to health, and adopt as their mascot. Jack repays them by sniffing out mines, booby traps, and ambushes, saving many lives. When it's time for Fletcher to head home, he can't bear the thought of leaving Jack to die in Vietnam, so he deserts and attempts to walk with Jack the 350 miles to Thailand, with Jack proving his mettle yet again after they encounter trouble en route. Unfortunately, unconvincing scenarios (sending relatively inexperienced troops on a special-ops type mission) and military inaccuracies (there is no such thing as a Phantom helicopter, for instance) dilute and distract from what could be an evocative story. (Feb.)
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