Viet Man

D.S. Lliteras. Square One/Rainbow Ridge (squareonepublishers.com), $16.95 ISBN 978-1-937907-32-7
This absorbing, gritty military novel is from Lliteras (In a Warrior’s Romance), who, like his protagonist Doc, served as a combat corpsman during the Vietnam War. In late 1960s Miami, 20-year-old Doc breaks up with his girlfriend when he is shipped to Vietnam as a Navy medic assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps. One grunt from the search-and-destroy patrols predicts he’ll be dead in two weeks, but Doc soon proves to be a savvy, tough, and competent soldier. He makes friends easily, including the “brilliant in the bush” radioman Casey, who takes the skeptical Doc on a humorous visit to the local brothel. Doc goes out on the bloody combat patrols, and he wins the reader’s admiration with his loyalty to and compassion for his battle-mauled patients. Seeking a break from the gory routine, Doc transfers to diving school in the Philippines, and his duties change upon returning to Vietnam. Doc spins his first-person narrative with laconic prose and acerbic wit until his tour is completed, and he returns home on the “freedom bird.” However, his homecoming is anything but a welcoming or easy one, as Lliteras concludes this accomplished novel. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/09/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
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