An Air Force captain investigates the mid-war murder of a much-disliked colonel in Pleiku, Vietnam. The sense of time and place are dead-on in this first novel about a few bad apples on a Vietnamese air base in l968. Since he's new to the scene and unconnected to any of the principals, Captain Gary Veliotis gets stuck with the temporary assignment of investigating the death by shooting of Colonel Len Bernie. Many people disliked the thoroughly unpleasant colonel, but there are no obvious culprits, and it looks as though the initial conclusion- -that Bernie was hit by an infiltrated guerrilla during an artillery barrage--will be allowed to stand. Meanwhile, Veliotis's investigation is complicated by the concurrent and parallel work of a Mr. Doty from the Office of Special Investigations. Doty seems too eager to slam the door on anything but the initial conclusion. Veliotis, backed by Colonel Rice, a straight-arrow commander, persists and uncovers a number of disturbing clues. Then Rice is relieved; an idiotic new man takes his place; and Veliotis is told to quit looking--which he does. But he doesn't stop thinking. It's evident that Bernie's death was just one symptom of disease at the installation; there are also hints of drug dealing and sex scandal. The investigation reopens when a plane full of fliers as nasty as Bernie blows up on the runway. Intriguing, small-scale wartime thriller.