cover image The Quick and the Dead

The Quick and the Dead

Randy Lee Eickhoff. Forge, $24.95 (303pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0776-7

A decorated Vietnam veteran, professor of ancient Greek and of Gaelic, and author of 15 novels, Eickhoff returns with an affecting, sometimes brutally graphic Vietnam thriller. Benjamin ""Wingo"" Wingfoot leads an experimental special operations team deep into the upcountry to raid Vietcong attempting to move arms through the mountains into Laos. Summoned to CIA headquarters in Saigon, Wingo is ordered to assassinate a young Vietnamese prostitute suspected of spying for the North. Although he is hardened to killing, the spuriousness of the assignment troubles him, and he eventually decides to refuse the order. But before Wingo can report his decision, the woman is found horribly mutilated; despite his denials, the CIA abandons him to Vietnamese authorities. Convicted and sent to infamous Poulo Condore Island (the Nam equivalent of Devil's Island), Wingo escapes and returns to Saigon determined to find and kill the party responsible for framing him. The trail eventually leads to political ambition and treachery at the highest levels. Eickhoff delivers the requisite exotic underworld and taut tough-guyness with an authentic sense of detail, alienation and danger.