Despite the materiel smuggler missing his left ear; the locals' assumption that any American tourist is really a spy; the pier creaking under the weight of several dozen semi-snoozing Chinese ""fisherman""; the anthropologist zipped up in a body bag; the rebel insurgents; the hovering helicopters; the invited presence of the seven surviving members of a British Army unit called Easy Company; and a hotbed locale--Langkawi island, Malaysia--this first effort's war trappings merely gussie up an old-fashioned whodunit: Who killed the studious American anthropologist Sonnenberg? Who whacked away with a parang at her boatman and the pal who discovered them? Who is now being called to accounts for the massacre of a family of seven that took place 30 years before? American Charles Quint--stumbling gamely from mangrove swamp to cockfight to the lake of the Pregnant Maiden and deciphering codes on postcards--puts it all together: the identity of Ah Sook; Sir Frankie and his Gwendy's wedding cake; the belly tattoo; Craddock's real relationship with Leila; the missing guidebook; the leader of the atrocity 30 years back. The final cave scene is a bit corny, though indeed bloody, and, in effect, it becomes a rather exotic version of the routine let's-all-gather-in-the-library-for-the-denouement. Strains to be different and, sadly, the effort shows.