The Ensign Locker by John Zerr

The Ensign Locker by John Zerr, (iUniverse, 436 pp., $33.95, hardcover; $23.95, paper) is a first novel about a junior ensign, Jon Zachery, on board the destroyer USS Manfred in 1966 off the coast of Vietnam, as well as on the Saigon River.

This naval novel reminded me more than a little of the classic, The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, as the USS Manfred also has a skipper who seems dangerously paranoid and suspicious of his crew and their actions. The Ensign Locker is an engrossing, well-plotted, and well-written novel of life aboard a destroyer during the Vietnam War, and I cannot think of another that deals with this material as successfully and entertainingly.The author (above) had a thirty-six year Navy career, during which he served two tours on destroyers and flew 330 combat missions over Vietnam. The author’s blog is

—David Willson