VIVIENNE by Richard Hoyt

VIVIENNE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A newspaperman forges a dangerous relationship with a diabolical Army Intelligence officer and his sexy, hapless but far from helpless Vietnamese wife.

It’s 1968, and Jim Quint, a former Army draftee from Montana, is a crackerjack newshound in Hawaii temporarily assigned to the military beat. Sporting hippie hair and a loud aloha shirt at one of General Westmoreland’s press conferences, Quint finds himself paired off with grizzled Colonel Del Lambert, not only Westmoreland’s intelligence aide but also a member of one of Hawaii’s wealthiest families. After grumbling about an unidentified security leak that’s giving secret military information to the Viet Cong, Lambert, first, blasts Quint’s evenhanded coverage of antiwar protestors and, then, second, gets chummy. At a cozy dinner at Lambert’s mountain estate, the colonel not only acknowledges the reporter’s attraction to Vivienne, his gorgeous Vietnamese wife, but also crudely forces Vivienne to strip before, then embrace and kiss, Quint. Later, while Quint tries to lose himself in the busy tedium of his paper’s newsroom, Lambert (who, Quint learns, has been pressuring the paper to have him fired) offers Quint his wife’s sexual favors—provided Quint will use his journalistic connections to locate some missing newsreel film of Viet Cong atrocities that, if made public, would encourage a greater American military commitment in Viet Nam. Before Quint can say no, he and Vivienne have delicious sex in a car parked in a downtown Honolulu lot—this after Vivienne begs Quint to help her thwart the US censors by sending her mail to Viet Nam under his name. Already in too deep for his, or anyone’s, good, Quint agrees. In the meantime, things in Viet Nam, and with Vivienne and Lambert, seem to spin wildly out of control.

Another oddball tale from Hoyt (Tyger! Tyger!, 1996, etc.) that reads like a newsroom copyboy’s daydream, with blind-siding plot twists tottering on the edge of improbability, then the whole redeemed by a skewed vision of innocence gone horribly wrong.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-87661-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2000




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