LONG RIDE BACK by John Jacob


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An all-too-familiar story of a Vietnam vet who can't shake/1988 the war. Travis Jones did some hard time in Nam--he was a member of a special intelligence group, a kind of LURP, but even more far out than that: he sneaked deep behind enemy lines to gather information, slit throats, and see awful things happen that he will flash back to years later, back home in Chicago. Because the war just won't let him alone. He's got a good job, jogs regularly, has his knock-' em-dead-gorgeous downstairs neighbor, Kathleen, after him night and day--and yet every waking minute is filled with dread memories, lost patrol reminiscences. Who were the mysterious Frenchman and Englishmen who led them deep into North Vietnam on a mysterious mission (and whom Jones and his psycho buddy Ray Sharp murdered)? Were they just pawns in a vicious war? Of course--and therein lies the problem. Author Jacob is a Chicago poet who writes well, but whose unconvincing combat scenes provide no vicarious thrills, and whose haunted vet story has been told often in the last ten years. Lacking any real center but Jones' fevered-but-clichÉd memories, the novel simply drifts--and as Jones sinks deeper into despair and reoccurring malaria, the reader feels only a distant sympathy.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1988
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth--dist. by Consortium (213 E. 4 St., St. Paul, MN 55101)