In Up Country
, Nelson DeMille cannily revives the army career of Chief Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, the cynical, hardworking Criminal Investigation Division man who was forcibly retired after solving the high-profile killing in The General's Daughter
. Brenner's called back to investigate the murder of a young army lieutenant by his captain. The catch is, the crime took place during the heat of the Tet Offensive, and the only living witness was a North Vietnamese soldier who described the incident in a 30-year-old letter that has only recently come to light. Soon Brenner, a Vietnam vet, is on an ostensible nostalgia tour of his old stomping grounds. The trip immediately turns dangerous as he heads "up country" to search for the letter writer, accompanied by a gorgeous American businesswoman, who's hiding more than even the smartest CID officer could imagine.
DeMille, who saw his own tour of duty in Vietnam (and even found a letter on a dead Vietnamese soldier), intersperses historical facts and chilling political possibilities with enough local color to provide some serious flashbacks for his fellow veterans. To non-vets the book may seem very long, but the payoff at the end is worth a couple hundred extra pages. --Barrie Trinkle
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
That DeMille has written a sequel to The General's Daughter comes as no surprise; after all, that's arguably his best-known novel because of the hit film version starring John Travolta. Nor is it surprising that he's set this sequel in Vietnam; returning hero Chief Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, Ret., served two stints there during the war, and DeMille himself not only saw action in Nam but returned in 1997 for an extended visit. What is curious, and relatively unfortunate, is that the long narrative focuses so much on travelogue instead of intrigue and action; it's as if DeMille, a wickedly fine thriller writer, has been possessed by the soul of James Michener. Still, the overarching story line captivates, as Brenner agrees to return to Vietnam to track down a Vietnamese witness to a 30-year-old unprosecuted crime, in which a U.S. Army captain murdered an army lieutenant and plundered some treasure. Joined by beautiful Susan Weber, who says she's an American expat businesswoman doing a favor for the U.S. government, Brenner travels to the little village where the witness may still live; along the way, the pair flirt, sightsee, visit a nude beach, sightsee, have sex, sightsee, and talk a lot. The sightseeing carries serious emotional impact as Brenner processes his wartime past and Vietnam's present, and it carries serious risk, as Colonel Mang of the secret police tracks Brenner's and Susan's movements. There's some violence as the two Americans elude Mang and his minions, and a melodramatic finale as Brenner realizes just who the murderous captain now is, and some dramatic suspense as Brenner peels away layers of Susan's identity covers. And then there's blasted, resilient Vietnam, which DeMille captures expertly, in all its anguished pride. With a film version in development at Paramount and the Warner publicity machine working at top gear, expect this engrossing but not exceptional novel to shoot to the top. 15-city author tour.
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