Rick DeStefanis, a veteran of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, dedicates The Gomorrah Principle (CreateSpace, 432 pp., $17.95, paper; $5.99, Kindle) to all veterans, especially the paratroops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne Divisions. The book is described as a “non-stop literary thrill ride. Stand back, Bob Lee Swagger.” I’ve read all of the Swagger books, also about a legendary (fictional) Army sniper, so I was eager to find this thriller in the same league with the Swagger books.
The backwoods hero, Brady Nash, is notified that his boyhood friend, Duff Coleridge, has died in Vietnam under mysterious circumstances. Brady receives a letter that contains allegations that Duff was murdered and that a woman in South Vietnam, Lynn Dai Bouchet, knows how and why.
Nash, who is characterized as “dumb as a brick, ” “Country dumb, ” and a “stupid hillbilly” by the villain, Jack Moxon, manages to join the Army and become a Ranger. He is sent to Vietnam to serve as a sniper, which led me to think that Nash was smarter than he looked.
Nash becomes a part of a special operations study and observation group, whose purpose is to go after Viet Cong cadre. This program is also called Phung Hoang, aka the Phoenix Program. Traps are set for Nash by Moxon, who complains that Nash, that “stupid hillbilly, stumbled out of every trap set for him.”
When Nash arrives in Vietnam he gets orders for Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade. He ends up at a firebase south of Ben Het in the Central Highlands near the Cambodian border where he serves from Dec. 15, 1967, to Jan. 28, 1968. Given than time frame, I figured that the book would show us Nash’s involvement in the Tet Offensive. I was not disappointed.
Moxon tells Nash that if we don’t stop the VC in Vietnam, we’ll be fighting them in California—in Santa Monica, no doubt. I won’t give away the ending, but there is a possibility of a sequel.
This thriller is well written and well plotted. It contains no clinkers or boring spots and it moves right along from start to finish.
I recommend it to those who have not had enough of reading sniper thrillers or books dealing with the 1968 Tet Offensive.
The author’s website is http://rickdestefanis.com