THE GHOSTS OF SAIGON by John Maddox  Roberts

THE GHOSTS OF SAIGON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Private eye Gabe Treloar's second caper is even more complicated and dangerous than his first (A Typical American Town, 1994). Talk about ghosts: He's off booze, his wife Rose is dead (he met and married the young Vietnamese woman during his tour of duty), and he's an ex-LAPD cop with no desire to return to Los Angeles. But Vietnam buddy Mitch Queen invites him to a vet reunion, then hires him to find out why Martin Starr is threatening to kill anyone who stars in Queen's new movies, to be made on location in Saigon. Back in that city in 1968, Gabe and Mitch were escorting Martin Starr, one of the so-called ``ghosts'' of the criminal underworld, off to prison. Starr, however, escaped during the Tet Offensive. The assignment now inevitably takes Gabe back to L.A., where he meets the film's star, Selene Gibson (think Ava Gardner), and p.i. Connie Armijo, who's been hired to protect Selene. When one of Gabe's Vietnamese relatives is murdered, he and Connie investigate a possible L.A. connection. But Gabe--and the reader--knows it all goes back to Saigon and those ghosts that won't die. He and Connie return there, only to discover that they both have their own Vietnam ghosts. The Saigon sequences, both past and the present, are the most effective here, mainly because Roberts emphasizes character over plot. That's also why the obligatory romance works so well. An offbeat, haunting tale with some thrilling movie-like action.

Pub Date: July 8th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14345-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1996




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