Tag Archives: Vietnam War

Lucky Ride by Terry Tierney

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A man looking for a fresh start after his wife’s affair finds himself on a wild ride of discovery across America during the Vietnam War era in author Terry Tierney’s “Lucky Ride”.

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The Synopsis

Set in the Vietnam era, Lucky Ride tells the story of a recent veteran, an unraveling marriage, and a hitchhiking trip steeped in hippie optimism, post-war skepticism, and drug-induced fantasy 

When his friend Rick shows up in Binghamton, New York, with an interstate weed delivery, Flash jumps at the chance to escape his wife Ronnie’s affair with her middle-aged boss. Joining Rick on a speed-fueled drive to Fort Worth, Flash dodges a highway stalker and recalls his military service on Adak, a desolate cold war outpost where Seabees bravely defended their country with marijuana and LSD. Hitchhiking west from Fort Worth, Flash confronts Texas Rangers, amorous witches, armed felons, and good Samaritans, all offering advice and misdirection. But his dreams of starting fresh in California recede like a spent wave, his money gone and no chance of a job. Ronnie offers reconciliation and Flash must decide how much he still trusts the seductive pull of the irresistible campus radical he married before the draft descended on their lives.

The Review

The author did a truly wonderful job of capturing the uncertainty and chaos of the Vietnam War era in the United States of America. The drug culture and the impact the war had on veterans, in particular, were looked at extensively, and the very natural pacing of the novel’s events was perfectly timed, not feeling too rushed or overextended in its delivery. 

The novel itself was definitely very character-driven. The protagonist in particular represented the confusion and soul-searching that so many people undertook in that era. The age of hitchhiking and travel along America’s highways showed both the main character’s experiences and emotional development throughout the narrative but highlighted how the highways themselves almost became characters in the story, the settings so vital and so detailed that readers could almost feel the atmosphere the author was developing throughout the narrative.

The Verdict

Personal, heartfelt, and entertaining, author Terry Tierney’s “Lucky Ride” is a brilliant and captivating read. The exploration of self-discovery, relationships, and the impact of war on those vets and their loved ones in the wake of the Vietnam War was an inspired road to explore in this novel and gave readers a protagonist and narrative to really sink their teeth into and feel compelled forward into the author’s world he developed. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Terry was born in South Dakota and raised in Minneapolis and Cleveland. After serving in the Seabees, he received a BA and MA in English from Binghamton University and a PhD in Victorian Literature from Emory University. He taught college composition and creative writing, and he later survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineering manager. His stories and poems have appeared in over forty literary magazines, and his novel Lucky Ride, an irreverent Vietnam era road novel, will be published by Unsolicited Press in 2022. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, a Librarian from the University of California, their son, and their goofy Golden Retriever. Terry’s website is http://terrytierney.com.

Purchase Links

https://www.unsolicitedpress.com/store/p285/luckyride.html

https://bookshop.org/books/lucky-ride-9781950730933

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lucky-ride-terry-tierney/1139820900

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1122846

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/poetsgarage/

The Plain of Jars by Nick Lombardi Jr. Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A grieving mother who lost her son to the Vietnam War learns years later that the ashes given to her by the military may not belong to her son after all, leading her to a journey of discovery that will leave her and readers shocked in author Nick Lombardi Jr.’s novel “The Plain of Jars”. 

The Synopsis

2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize entry!

What would you do if you found that the bones and ashes you were given by the Air Force were not the remains of your loved one? Dorothy Kozeny, a 64-year-old widow from a small town in Ohio, after getting no answers from the relevant authorities, decides the only thing to do is to go to Laos herself to search for the truth concerning her son’s fate. In 1990, accompanied by a trusted Laotian called Kampeng, Dorothy travels deep into the mountains of rural Laos, attempting to trace her son’s path through inhospitable terrain, an unforgettable trek that provides her with a rewarding, often humorous, and at times frustrating, cross-cultural experience. All clues lead her to a mysterious figure, an alleged CIA operative left over from the war, living in a remote and hostile area deep in the jungle. The second part of the book traces the life of this enigmatic character hiding in Laos, the two main characters linked through Dorothy’s son.

The Review

This was a powerful and emotional story that focused on the pain and loss families feel for loved ones lost to war, the horrors many soldiers witness and are forced to become a part of during war, the injustices committed during the Vietnam War, and the struggle to let go of violence and hatred to lead a more peaceful and happy life. 

While the story did a great job of showcasing both the more modern day struggle of a mother looking for her long thought dead son and the past of the son’s journey through a hellish war, his attempt to escape it, and those who ruthlessly fought to stop him, the true heart of this novel was the backdrop of Laos and the Plain of Jars themselves. 

Those unfamiliar with the history of this area and site should know that during the Vietnam war, more bombs were dropped by the U.S. Military on the Plain of Jars in Laos than in the entirety of WWII, and over 80 million of these bombs remain a constant danger to the people there as they failed to detonate at the time and remain hidden in the area. This story highlighted the struggle of the people of Laos and the horrors they and the soldiers in the country bore witness to during this war. The savagery in which soldiers and operatives were trained to become monsters, and the struggle to use peace and non-violence to combat that savagery, took a major portion of this book and readers will instantly connect with the characters as a result of this particular piece of the story.

The Verdict

This was a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, impactful and engaging read that fans will not want to miss. Author Nick Lombardi Jr. does it again with this memorable story that captures the era and history of this devastating war, and brings to life the unpleasant truths of the loss and pain it caused on both sides. In the end however, what truly stood out amongst all of this horror and heartbreak was the love and passion for which a mother fought to either find her son or at least get the truth of his passing out for the world to see. A mother’s love can be felt in every chapter of Dorothy’s tale, and makes her son Andrew’s backstory all the more powerful. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of Nick Lombardi Jr.’s novel “The Plain of Jars” today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author Nick Lombardi Jr. has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and he speaks five languages. An event in California in 2011 in which a homeless man was beaten to death lead Nick to write his newest novel, Justice Gone. Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Online: FacebookAuthor Website