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The Return: A Novel of Vietnam [Kindle Edition]

Charles W. Sasser
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

When LCDR Pete Brauer, former U.S. Navy SEAL (retired), dies in Florida, he dies clutching in his hands the portrait of a beautiful French-Vietnamese girl that has hung on his wall for more than twenty years.

“I will never forgive myself, Pollack,” Brauer told his neighbor and friend, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jack Kazmarek (retired). “I don’t think God will either.”

“We’ve all done things,” Kazmarek replied. “Especially in Vietnam.”

“We haven’t all done what I done.”

After Pete’s death, Kazmarek sets out on a quest to discover the relationship between Pete and the Eurasian girl in the photograph, Mhai, and to lay to rest the demons which haunted his friend throughout his life. The quest leads him back to Vietnam, a return that many combat veterans of Vietnam are making to old battlefields and old memories.

In the process of uncovering details of the romance between a Navy SEAL fighting in the Mekong Delta and the beautiful enemy he wounds and captures, Kazmarek must confront personal demons that he has also attempted to suppress since TET 1968 and the fighting that erupted around the VC village of Vain Tho. Although their paths had not crossed in Vietnam, the Navy SEAL Brauer and the army infantry platoon leader Kazmarek had fought in the same area of operations, against the same warlord of the Delta, the mysterious Commander Minh.

Kazmarek finds himself re-living old nightmares of the horrors of war in Vietnam. Drawn inexorably back to Vain Tho and to what occurred there over three decades previously, he finds that his path and Pete’s must have crossed after all--in Vain Tho during a battle in which both men had “done things.” He finds himself not only confronting the past, but also reenacting it when Commander Minh, now also an old man, emerges to even the score.

Product Details

  • File Size: 870 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Deadly Niche Press (February 28, 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PJ7BVY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,074 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sasser's Best That I Know Of November 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read a couple of Sasser's autobiographical works, as well as 100th Kill--his other Vietnam novel. While I appreciate his perspective (he's a vet of the Special Forces Reserves, an author and a rancher, among other things), I've always found his writing to be competent, but not stellar. By his own admission he is not the most talented writer...but he is hard-working at his craft (if any of you remember the paramilitary magazines of the '80s competing with Soldier Of Fortune, he wrote many articles for them). So I wasn't quite prepared for the caliber of this novel.

The Return is one fine work of fiction--probably Sasser's best, though I haven't read all his books to state that emperically.

The narrator is Jack Kazmarek, a widower with miriad health problems on top of his PTSD. For many years he has been neighbors with another Vietnam vet, Pete Brauer. Both of them were mustang officers--having taken their lumps as enlisted men prior to being commissioned. Kazmarek was a platoon leader in the 9th Infantry, while Brauer had been a Navy SEAL. Although both of them spent a tour in the same AO during the same time, they never met until retiring in the same Florida trailer park decades later.

The story opens on the loss of Kazmarek's closest friend. Pete dies alone in his trailer, clutching a photo of a beautiful French-Vietnamese woman. Jack has noticed the portrait in his friend's house over the years (even finding her face familiar), but Pete rarely talked about it. His only mention of the woman in the image was cryptic: "May God forgive me."

Jack is almost as intrigued as I was. Eventually he begins investigating, to find out who the woman was and where she might be now.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling April 3, 2012
By L. Capo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I finished reading "The Return: A Novel of Vietnam" several days ago and in the interim have finished two other shorter books but the characters and the story of this one stay in my mind.

I had no problem getting into the narrative within the first couple chapters but then it bogged down for me in the military details of the past -- my problem, not the author's. That only lasted for a few chapters in which I skimmed through parts that I couldn't or didn't care to understand. After those parts I couldn't put the book down and resisted the urge to click to the last chapter to see the ending. I stayed up reading far into the night then most of the next morning to finish the story.

The character development and the location descriptions put me right there as the author alternated between the past and the present with the story being told in flashbacks. At several points I felt myself tearing up over the death of one of the characters that I felt I had come to know. I was very happy to see some of the characters from the past making it to the present and helping to bring the story to conclusion. Although this is a work of fiction, the names of places and battles are real and will be familiar to anyone who has lived through the Vietnam era.

I haven't read any of this author's other books but will definitely look for them. Aside from some editing problems mentioned by other readers which were not terribly distracting for me, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a hard-to-put down story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vietnam War Novel Par Excellence September 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Compelling, brutal, poignant, redemptive, combative, excruciating, embracing are some of the adjectives that come to mind after reading The Return, a novel dealing with one man's trip back to Vietnam to face the horrors of his past, taking with him not only his own ghosts of war, but finding those of his enemies as well. I've read a lot of Charles W. Sasser's work, fiction and non, but this is one of his best. All old vets, especially those from the Vietnam Era, will experience a riveting connection with this historical novel. As always, Sasser's writing is superlative. I highly recommend this book.

Phil Truman, author of LEGENDS OF TSALAGEE and GAME.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel of Vietnam. Solid 4 stars! July 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first novel I have read by this author and I must say that were it not for some inexcusable proofing and editing errors, throughout, it would clearly be a 5 star read.

With its believable and well fleshed-out characters, realistic writing style and plausible, well thought-out storyline, it is a winner from the first page. The author puts you right into the story and keeps you there, through thick and thin, making for a remarkable, emotional and heartfelt read.

I really enjoyed this offering and look forward to reading more of this author's works in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even with the flaws, highly recommended March 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book needs a good editor to go through it, and the author should do some re-formatting. Typos and missed tenses, plus some completely indented paragraphs detract from the story.

That said, The Return is well written, with a storyline that carries the reader ever forward. Soldiers, SEALs, their enemies and friends, are people you care about. Sasser is a very good writer with this, his latest book. I have read well over a hundred books on the Vietnam War, both fiction and non-fiction, and to my view, The Return ranks among the top ten. Maybe the top five. I was surprised just how good the book is.

I recommend it highly. Even more if the author does some editing and gives us a second edition. Even with the flaws, I feel it deserves five stars. It's that good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
.Good read
Published 2 months ago by russvmo3
5.0 out of 5 stars Viet Nam Novel
Best Viet Nam novel written in a long time!
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. Jane L. Swift-senor
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 7 months ago by Lesley Joubert
4.0 out of 5 stars emotional
A vet myself, in my 60's wondering and hoping if and when we can forgive ourselves and others. If not now...when?
Published 8 months ago by HIChuck
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting as writer had to have served as small things that you wouldn't know unless you were there. Good story with some surprises
Published 11 months ago by Maureen Johan
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling!
I loved this book for the story line. It was great to have all of the stories intertwined, but I did get confused at times keeping the characters straight between the stories. Read more
Published 12 months ago by MBarg28
5.0 out of 5 stars War at the gut level
First Vietnam war story I have ever read that provided insight into the really personal feelings of those involved. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Chilebean
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return: A Novel of Vietnam
An amazing story on the horrors that were Vietnam. While I grew up at the end of the war we never really studied it in school. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kathy K
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing story
I couldn't put this book down. It drew me in so quickly, I had to find out what happened.....What a horrible war. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Norma
4.0 out of 5 stars Another in-depth view of Vietnam.
Although the author states the book is fiction, it encompasses much of his experiences in country thereby making it a very enjoyable reading book. Read more
Published 13 months ago by evzone75
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More About the Author

I am a fulltime freelance writer/journalist/photographer with over 50 books published in many genres, including historical, military, Science fiction, thriller novels, even a romance. I consider myself an adventure writer. I have traveled the world having adventures--such as dogsledding in the Arctic; solo kayaking the Inside Passage; solo-canoeing the Yukon; solo-sailing the Caribbean; diving for pirate treasure. . . I've been a combat correspondent, professional rodeo clown and bronc rider, pro kickboxer, archaeologist, college instructor. . . I was a police homicide detective and am a veteran of U.S. Army Special Forces (the Green Berets).

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