by James Garrison
Private First Class Justin Bell is drafted into the Vietnam War while pursuing his graduate degree and is assigned to Military Police patrol where he observes a corruption far beyond the combat he was anticipating. Distraught by the crime and injustice he repeatedly witnesses, he quickly becomes disillusioned by the military and the war effort. Ill at ease in his surroundings and assignments, he doesn’t know whom to trust and begins to question everyone’s motives as any form of stability he previously sensed crumbles. He uncovers a trail of deception that links to a highly profitable black market, and crossing paths with those involved can prove deadly. As the disturbances mount, his morality can no longer allow him to remain silent. Bell struggles to find a resolution to his discontent as he evaluates his own responsibility in the occurring exploits.
The magnitude of how one choice impacts all proceeding outcomes is the essential premise of this wartime novel. Each character in the story faces a distinctive situation in which the decision-making process is amplified by the ability to survive under chaotic and life-threatening circumstances. The author depicts the Vietnam landscape and cultural environment in expert detail, creating an ominous backdrop that serves as an overture to the arduous missions of the American servicemen and personnel. QL 4, the highway that runs from Saigon into the Mekong Delta, plays an integral role in the novel, exposing a harsh imbalance between the violence and the undeveloped terrain. Readers of historical fiction, military, and crime novels will be intrigued by the author’s organized plot that continually forms heightened suspense as the characters reveal their intent, configuring an unpredictable climax and a haunting conclusion to the Vietnam experience.