A taut, spare, but formula-touched first novel about a preacher's boy from the Deep South whose life is irrevocably changed by his service in Vietnam. Horace ""Truck"" Hardy grows up the son of a Baptist minister in the forgotten little town of Hepzebiah. By 1970, he's a marine pilot in 'Nam, flying fighter jets over the DMZ. Diving at some guns one night, he and his best friend and wingman Pete are shot down. Pete is killed, and Truck spends a horrific hundred days working his way back through the jungle to American lines--hallucinating wildly on drugs he has stolen from the North Vietnamese he has ambushed, even raping one woman soldier he finds and then kills. Discharged, he heads back to Hepzebiah, buys a piece of land nicknamed ""The Hainted Place"" by former slaves, and marries his high-school sweetheart. But peace eludes him: by 1981, he has become a drug addict, marijuana runner, and recluse, estranged from his wife and daughter, sitting in his rundown house on The Hainted Place--haunted forever by his memories of combat. Sometimes powerful and moving, but marred by a rather self-conscious, bare-bones prose style that is extremely studied in a literary kind of way--a sort of backwoods minimalism--and by a much-too-familiar plotline.