The publisher tells us that Chita Quest (Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, 288 pp., $14.95, paper) is a novel about “one man’s search for his POW/MIA father.” Actually, two sons have serious involvement in this search for their long-missing father. VVA member Brinn Colenda is the author of the earlier book in this series, Cochabamba Conspiracy, a thriller we reviewed here last year. If you loved that book, you will also enjoy this one. It is more of the same.
The story again involves the Callahan brothers. This time they are on a quest to find their fighter-pilot father who was shot down in Vietnam.
In the book’s Introduction, William B. Scott castigates “political elites who broke faith with those in uniform and intentionally left American POWs behind.” That is the crux of this fast-moving thriller, which is filled with enough plot twists to keep any reader tied in knots of suspense. The heroes are intrepid; the lily-livered bad guys lack any redeeming qualities.
Chita Quest will hold your attention and provide the escape you need for an afternoon—that is, if you wish to devote your time to having your paranoia stoked about patriots being stabbed in the back during the Vietnam War, about fighting a war that was being won by superior fire power and massive air power but was “lost” by self-serving political hacks and the liberal news media.
A warning to sensitive readers: This is the sort of book in which a chubby lieutenant with the common sense not to want to fly in seriously bad weather is nicknamed “Minnesota Fats” by a bullying pilot and put in jeopardy by the bad judgment of that same pilot who then has to eject when their plane is about to crash.
That scene takes place in 1972 near the border of South Vietnam and Cambodia. The mission is to locate a downed pilot. The plane crashes, and I was pleased later to meet Fats again. He and the pilot survived the ejection from the plane. When Fats is ushered in to interrogate the hubristic pilot, the chubby guy punches him in the nose. This was my favorite moment in the book.
Colenda knows what he is writing about, and writes with great authority. He is a graduate of the U. S. Air Force Academy. He served in a variety of assignments around the world, including in Southeast Asia. He had a post-graduate fellowship at the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.
The book’s Epilogue, set in a Siberian forest, seems to indicate that there will be another volume in this series, one in which our heroes rescue a very old man living alone in a one-room log cabin. He many be very old, but the man still has the moxie to recite “the American Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct” and to salute “a small, crudely made American flag.”
Readers can only hope.
The author’s website is http://brinn-colenda.com