Unintentional Deception by R. D. Rutta

R.D. Rutta is a retired mathematics instructor who lives in Wisconsin. There is no mention on the jacket of his novel, Unintentional Deception (CreateSpace, 384 pp., $14.99, paper), that he has any military experience, but the book’s Forward says he did serve in the military, which interrupted his schooling. No details are given.

The novel’s hero, Bob Rhuets, was drafted while attending college, but no reason is given why he was not deferred. He did something that many draftees of that time did: He joined the Army for an additional year so he got some choice in his schooling.

In no time at all, he is through Basic Training and advanced training, and ends up as a sergeant in a missile-launching battery in Italy. While there, he gets caught up in the black market, but is still promoted into a top-secret job with responsibility for nuclear missile launching codes.

As if Rhuets doesn’t have enough to worry about, he returns home and marries his Midwestern sweetheart, Bonnie, and she joins him in Italy. They live off base due to housing shortages, where they lack on-base security and protection. Bob Rhuets thinks he is being tailed whenever they go anywhere, and he probably is. He doesn’t know if it is the KGB, the Mafia, the Army CID, the CIA, or all of the above.

He has a complex web of escape routes mapped out that he follows when alone or with his wife. But he’s not been entirely honest with Bonnie, so she doesn’t understand Bob Rhuets’s odd behavior—why he is so furtive, suspicious, and always looking over his shoulder and switching sides of the street. She takes it personally, the way some folks do.

I won’t spoil the suspense of this novel, which I suspect is based on the author’s actual Cold War Army duty in Italy in the late 1960’s, but if you wish to read a book about what it was like to serve in the Army in Italy during the Vietnam War this is a good place to start.  The book is well-written, fairly well-edited, and proofread, and is a handsomely presented novel of intrigue. I enjoyed reading it.

—David Willson