Lost Armies

Wayne Karlin, Author Henry Holt & Company $0 (150p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0715-2
The ""lost army'' of this haunting novel's title is an apparently apocryphal group of American and South Vietnamese soldiers turned renegade in the Burma-Laos-Thailand Triangle, because they have become disillusioned or are afraid to go home to a country now strange to them. The book's real lost army is a group of returned U.S. servicemen and Vietnamese refugees whose experiences in that wretched war tragically prevent them from fitting into life here. Vietnam vet and ex-reporter Emmett Wheeler had sought a way to close the door on his bitter time in Indochina, but the past catches up with him. A series of animal killings near a trailer park where Vietnamese refugees live suggests that a former Marine buddy has gone on a combat fatigue-induced rampage. Recognizing the pattern of mutilations as characteristic of his boyhood friend Dennis Slagel, a decorated hero who disappeared into a desolate swamp in southern Maryland, Wheeler begins a search. His guess leads him into a murder mystery and a desperate scramble to survive a cat-and-mouse game with the killer. Karlin's (Crossover) prose is sometimes overwrought, but it has real vigor, and he knows how to write gritty, authentic dialogue and how to generate and sustain tension. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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