Doug Houser completed Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in 1966, and landed in the Vietnam War in January 1967. He served a thirteen-month tour of duty along the DMZ in—among other places—the Rock Pile, Khe Sanh, the Hai Lang Forrest, and the Artillery Plateau.
The protagonist of his novel, Jungle Warriors, Crime Fighters (BookBaby, 308 pp., $18.99, paper; $5.99, Kindle) KC Huntington, runs a post-war security company made up of other former Marines. It’s a success and he has a comfortable life, but KC needs more. So he decides to form a secret Special Operations division of his company. The special ops guys then go after criminals who have slipped through the hands of the law.
Using lessons he learned during stealthy maneuvers in the dark in Vietnam, KC and his crew get involved in more and more dangerous situations. KC hires a woman to train his men in sophisticated martial arts. She trains the crew and they kick a lot of butt.
The primary revelation for me in this novel came about a third of the way through. “One of the things most Americans don’t know is that Vietnamese couldn’t see very well in the dark,” Houser writes. “The notion that they had superior night-vision was a misconception that was reinforced by the fact that the North Vietnamese Army almost always maneuvered under the cover of darkness, thus the saying, ‘They control the night.’”
Why couldn’t the enemy see well after dark? Houser tells us that it had to do with diet. The Vietnamese ate mostly rice with some fish and therefore lacked the nutrients required to produce the chemicals for a human to develop good night vision, he says.
Which leaves an unanswered question: Given the fact that the enemy “couldn’t see very well in the dark,” how could we lose such an unequal war?
If you are desperate to read a thriller that builds on skills learned in the Vietnam War, Jungle Warriors Crime Fighters might be just the ticket.
On the other hand, if you like reading novels that are reality based, this is probably not the book for you.
The book’s website is junglewarriorscrimefighters.com