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by Nelson Demille

Warner Books, 2002, 706 pages, $26.95 (hardback).
ISBN: 0446516570

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

Nelson Demille's latest release, UP COUNTRY brings the long-awaited return of Paul Brenner, the hero from THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER. Brenner is recently retired from Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and he's slowly adapting to life as a civilian. Then Brenner's old boss summons him for a meeting at the Vietnam War Memorial. At this meeting, Brenner is told of a letter found in a vet's trunk of war memories. The letter is a war trophy taken from a dead Viet Cong. However, the letter tells of the cold blooded murder of one American soldier by another. Brenner is asked to return to Vietnam and pose as a tourist and track down a witness to the murder. However, Brenner realizes there is more to this trek than a thirty-year-old murder. Along with the physical journey to a unified Vietnam where Communism reigns but the people practice black market capitalism to survive, the story is about Brenner's revisiting the ghosts of his youth that are on the rice paddies and jungles where he once fought.

UP COUNTRY brings back a welcomed character of Nelson Demille, but just as happened when he took John Cory (of PLUM ISLAND fame) out on a second run (THE LION'S GAME), Brenner's second run falls short of the twists and turns in the plot we saw in THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER. However, Demille's latest book is a very enjoyable read.

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