Up Country, by Nelson DeMille and Ken Howard (Narrator)
Although the title is a military phrase used during the Viet Nam Conflict, this is not a war story. It does tell the story of a murder involving an Army captain killing an Army lieutenant during the Tet Offensive in 1968. For some unexplained reason, the government wants a retired homicide investigator to go to Viet Nam and find the enemy soldier who witnessed the murder. Paul Brenner does not understand why the government wants to get involved 30 years later but accepts the assignment. When he arrives in Saigon, he begins a bizarre adventure with the help of a beautiful American aide who speaks Vietnamese, and he plays a cat and mouse game with a Colonel Mang of the Viet Nam security forces. He does finally realize that the captain involved is someone high in the government, and his job is to find out if the witness is still alive and can identify the captain. He also realizes that he is supposed to eliminate the witness for the good of the country if the witness can identify the captain.
This story about military and government intrigue
will hold your attention and keep you wondering about its
outcome. Nelson DeMille, in his usual manner, captures the
listener's attention and doesn't let go until the final controversial
moment. His ending will probably disappoint some listeners,
but most will find it expected, and you will find yourself
firmly on one of those sides as you finish this audio book.
The reader, Ken Howard, does a remarkable job in bringing each character to life. His voice control gives the feeling that Colonel Mang is speaking directly to each listener. He also brings the vivacious Susan Weber to life, making her authentic and believable as well as appealing.
It's easy to recommend this audio book.
DeMille, who served with the Marines during the Tet Offensive,
is able to create the sensation of making the trip through
the countryside with Paul Brenner. His knowledge makes it
easy to visualize the differences
between villages in Viet Nam and America, and he brings a new perspective to that period in our recent past.