SING A SONG TO JENNY NEXT by Lawrence Gardella

SING A SONG TO JENNY NEXT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A wild-and-woolly undercover tale--spilled, we're told, at the urging of Gardella's wife and priest when he was terminally ill with leukemia (he has since died) . . . despite a sealed-lips promise to President Truman. At the outbreak of the Korean War, Gardella, then 16, doctored his birth certificate and joined the Marines. A year later, about to be discharged for having concealed his history of asthma, he was given a chance to remain in the Corps if he'd join Special Force Group One, slotted for a covert mission. All for it, Gardella soon finds himself at some nameless place with a group of misfits--throwaways, as he sees it--undergoing extremely intense training. Within weeks, the men are parachuted into Manchuria; their mission: to blow up a Communist atomic lab in a network of caves. Guided by some more-or-less Nationalist partisans, they reach the caves, blow up the lab, and kill numberless Communists: a savage brawl, involving a cache of American weapons and ammo, that will warm the hearts of readers of Soldier of Fortune magazine. Once outside, the buccaneers fall in with a new group of partisans led by a military genius whom Gardella calls the Dragon Lady. (They have a brief idyll--and he later learns that she bore him twins.) En route cross-country to Port Arthur, they join up with a band of Mongol horsemen (more bloody carnage ensues) and knock off some treacherous CIA agents. Three of the misfits decide to remain. Gardella exits via submarine--and fetches up in Bethesda Naval Hospital, where Truman comes to exact that promise. Is all of it (or any of it) true? Gardella claims that, after he submitted his manuscript for publication, he and his family were harassed--by, he supposes, the CIA. Whatever else, there's no end of lurid excitement.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1981
Publisher: Dutton