Summary and book reviews of Up Country by Nelson DeMille

Up Country

by Nelson DeMille

Up Country
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2002, 720 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2003, 720 pages

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Book Summary

Thirty years later, an American army lieutenant's death in Vietnam is still shrouded in mystery; the only evidence is a recently discovered letter written by an enemy soldier describing an act of shocking violence. Brenner's assignment: return to Vietnam and find the witness....

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille brings back Paul Brenner, the army investigator from The General's Daughter, in a sensational and poignant new novel of suspense...

Up Country

There is a name carved into the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., of an American army lieutenant whose death is shrouded in mystery. The authorities have reason to believe that he was not killed by the enemy, or by friendly fire; they suspect he was murdered.

At first, Paul Brenner, himself a Vietnam vet, isn't interested in investigating the case. After his forced retirement from the army's Criminal Investigation Division, he has adapted to the life of a civilian with a comfortable pension. Then his old boss, Karl Hellmann, summons him to the Vietnam Memorial to call in a career's worth of favors. Hellmann tells Brenner of the circumstances surrounding the officer's death, and gives him this much to go on: The incident happened over three decades ago in Vietnam; the only evidence is a recently discovered letter written by an enemy soldier describing an act of shocking violence. The name of the North Vietnamese soldier is known, but not his present whereabouts, or even if he is alive or dead.

Brenner's assignment: Return to Vietnam and find the witness. The addendum: The mission is very important to the U.S. Army. Brenner's the ideal man for the job. And it's in his best interest that he doesn't know what this case is really about.

Reluctantly, Brenner begins a strange journey that unearths his own painful memories of Vietnam and leads him down a trail as dangerous as the ones he walked a lifetime ago as a young infantryman. From sultry, sinful Saigon, where he meets beautiful American expatriate Susan Weber, to the remote, forbidding wilderness of up-country Vietnam, he will follow a trail of lies, betrayal, and murder—and uncover an explosive, long-buried secret.

Filled with intrigue and espionage, romance and seduction, action and adventure—as well as the author's patented, subversive wit—Up Country is, above all, about what happens when men fight in wars and how it changes them forever.

BOOK 1
Washington, D.C

CHAPTER ONE

Bad things come in threes The first bad thing was a voice mail from Cynthia Sunhill, my former partner in the army's Criminal Investigation Division. Cynthia is still with the CID, and she is also my significant other, though we were having some difficulties with that job description.

The message said, "Paul, I need to talk to you. Call me tonight, no matter how late. I just got called on a case, and I have to leave tomorrow morning. We need to talk."

"Okay." I looked at the mantel clock in my small den. It was just 10 P.M., or twenty-two hundred hours, as I used to say when I was in the army not so long ago.

I live in a stone farmhouse outside Falls Church, Virginia, less than a half-hour drive to CID Headquarters. The commute time is actually irrelevant because I don't work for the CID any longer. In fact, I don't work for anyone. I'm retired, or maybe fired.

In any case, it had been about six months since my separation from ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Nelson DeMille brings back Paul Brenner (first seen in The General's Daughter) in a story set in the fertile literary soil of Vietnam. Brenner, a Vietnam vet, is sent to modern day Vietnam to explore an unexplained mystery left from the Vietnam war.  

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly

The case turns out to be a humdinger...offers illuminating commentary on how the country has changed...

People

Catch this one on the page before it hits the screens. The movies will be hard pressed to do justice...

Publishers Weekly

What is curious, and relatively unfortunate, is that the long narrative focuses so much on travelogue instead of intrigue and action; it's as if DeMille, a wickedly fine thriller writer, has been possessed by the soul of James Michener. Still, the overarching story line captivates....

Booklist - Mary Frances Wilkens

DeMille's portrayal of the cocky soldier returning to enemy soil is moving and realistic, peppered with Paul's recollections of the war and the people who must live with its legacy every day. Neither pro- nor anti-war, this poignant story from the wildly popular DeMille is particularly timely in light of today's international situation.

Author Blurb Lisa Scottoline
...an absorbing investigation of a...murder...a profound exploration of...war, justice, and...the human heart.

Author Blurb Linda Fairstein
Finely drawn characters, wickedly crisp dialogue, and brilliant twists ...Nelson DeMille [is] the master storyteller of our times.

Reader Reviews

JIM KELLEY

UP COUNTRY
Excellent book, great story. Would have been an good movie with John Travolta playing Paul Brenner. Read the book and listened to the CD.

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