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There Will Be Killing: A Novel of War and…

There Will Be Killing: A Novel of War and Murder

by John Hart

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The book has co-authors - John Hart and Olivia Rupprecht - and after reading it I can see the distinct parts that each brought to the table. One side of There Will Be Killing is a very dark and deadly game of cat and mouse. The other side is the relationships, specifically between some of the doctors and the nurses stationed together during the Vietnam war. At times, the two parts work well together. At others, it seems like there are two separate stories mashed together. I think that is why I struggled a bit with this one and thus can only give it just an "okay" rating. ( )
  Martin_Maenza | Apr 14, 2017 |
The horrors of Vietnam just got worse. Meet Israel (Izzy) Moskowitz, a child psychiatrist fresh out of his residency from Columbia Medical School, and his colleagues of the 99KO, the psychiatric unit of the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang, drawn unwillingly into solving a mystery – a ghost soldier is killing American soldiers. Troops are found decapitated, heads in their laps, hands dismembered.

Into this new and brutal world, Izzy is joined by Rick, the tough as nails Special Ops commando; Margie, the gorgeous and relentless head psychiatric nurse; Kate, the stunning thrill-seeker with a taste for the illicit; and Nikki, the endearing, incongruously sweet Red Cross volunteer.

And then there is J.D., a man of many secrets and many guises, charged with finding the ghost soldier. Is it one man? Or many? Are they Russian? Chinese? Or Americans gone rogue? What is their goal? Is it to demoralize troops? If so, they’re doing a very good job. Or does the ghost soldier seek something more sinister?

Izzy and Gregg, the surfer dude turned psychiatrist, become unwilling participants in J.D.’s hunt. As he is drawn into the belly of the beast called war, Izzy discovers that to get out of the hell-hole his draft board sent him to (who in their right mind would send a child psychiatrist to the middle of a war?), he must be smarter than he’d ever been in medical school.

While offering a full dose of the horror of war, the authors mix in enough of the beauty of the jungle to cause the reader to feel disoriented.

In one scene, Izzy walks up to an elephant in the jungle.

The elephant kneeled down and looked at him. Not in his experience had a creature looked at him like this, making contact like a sentient being. The elephant was measuring him up. He could feel it.

“I only know English,” he said and could have sworn the animal nodded in response. “I know you understand me. I would like to be able to ride you. May I?”

The creature reached out with its trunk. It touched his face, as gently as a mother touching a child. She scented his breath and shared her breath with him. He felt so much emotional contact and connection that he almost dropped to his knees but she caught him with her trunk and lifted him, swung him through the air and he felt as if he was flying, flying onto her back and there he was, sitting on her back and she was getting up.

Izzy looked over to see Gregg and their eyes met. And in that shared gaze they knew this experience would forever be one of those that divide your life into everything that came before and then this.

How does such beauty coexist with war? Izzy ultimately learns the lesson of war. Civilization and civility is a very lovely and precious, but very thin, veneer over a twisting, brutal savagery within us all.

Spooky. Scary. Beautifully written. There Will Be Killing draws you in and won’t let you go. Yes, it’s a story of the Vietnam War, but it’s also as much a murder mystery as you’ll find – with a psychological profile of the really scary people who walk among us every day. When will you encounter a ghost soldier in your life?

Based on a copy provided by the publisher. ( )
  WaltBristow3 | Dec 29, 2014 |
Vietnam, 1969 and the war is going full bore. An unlikelier place, Izzy a newly minted psychiatrist, never thought he would find himself. Attached to the psychiatric unit in Naha Tran, he must deal with the horrific humidity, constant insects, some very battle fatigued and sometimes violent men. All set against a backdrop of Crystal Blue Persuasion and In Da Godda Da Vida. He will soon find himself involved in something much bigger, as someone is killing soldiers in very barbaric ways, and the powers that be want to know who it is and want it stopped.

At first I had a difficult time getting into this book, so unlike Hart's other books, and I think it was my differing expectations that made this so hard. Soon though I was immersed in the story, some wonderful characters, and the constant action. Of course the fact that this man can write his way out of a paper bag had much to do with this as well. A very untypical mystery that works so well against the backdrop of this war. There are romances, Red Cross workers, nurses and the mission which tries to provide care for children with no place to go, wounded and with no family members. The jungle, the heat, and even the beauty of the scenery in this country made me become one with this story. Yes, of course there is violence, but as one character in the novel says, What better place for a psychopath to operate in than in a war? But, whom is the psychopath?

By stories end I was sorry to leave a few of my favorite characters and hope they are again used Ina future outing.

ARC from publisher and Netgalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Aug 6, 2014 |
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This wasn't supposed to be Israel Moskowitz's war. What country in its right mind would draft a child psychiatrist fresh out of his residency from Columbia University Med School and send him to Vietnam in 1969? But Izzy was here for the duration: three-sixty-four and a wake-up. A year that would change everything. Assigned to the 99KO, the psychiatric unit of the 8th Field Hospital in sultry Nha Trang, Izzy attempts to use his skills in ways he never could have imagined; not to heal, but to get boys back onto the field of battle. A circle of compatriots soon grows around him, Gregg, the surfer dude turned psychologist; Rick, the tough-as-nails Special Ops commando; J.D., a man of many guises and even more secrets; Margie, the gorgeous, relentless head psychiatric nurse; Kate, the stunning thrill-seeker with a taste for the illicit; Nikki, the endearing, incongruously sweet Red Cross dolly. As their relationships weave and intertwine, the face of Vietnam evolves for Izzy. But nothing will turn his world upside down - and redefine the nature of war to him, like the mission on which he finds himself an unwilling participant. Someone is massacring soldiers in unthinkable ways with the goal of demoralizing via terror, and Izzy needs to be part of the team tracking down the killer. Before he'd come to Vietnam, Izzy had never heard the term ghost soldier." Now one might dictate what remains of his life.… (more)

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