A terrifying debut novel set during the Vietnam War.Australian Lance Corporal Terence ‘Pinny’ Pinfold and his squad find themselves in the midst of the living hell of the Vietnam War.Known as Reapers, their job is to go in after the firefights, collect dog tags and any evidence of war crimes.As each soldier tries to make some sense out of a senseless war, there are more questions than answers as mutilated, butchered bodies are discovered the further to the North they venture.Pinny soon finds himself at the very core of the real war – in a secret underground facility amongst hybrid creatures which belong only in the very worse nightmares.With Pinny’s aboriginal bloodline, the enigmatic Doctor Jacinta Harding believes she has found the perfect specimen…Pinny might survive the war, but he might not save himself.
This is not the first thing I’ve read by Lee Franklin. I discovered her via the horrifying Nang Tani, which I would heartily recommend. This is a different beast, as we follow a troop of Aussie soldiers in Vietnam. Franklin’s voice is effective and authentic during these opening sections (she is ex-military herself) and I loved the Predator-esque build up. Things soon take an abrupt 180 and the plot swerves into more fanciful territory with lashings of body horror, gore and a touch of science fiction.
I definitely preferred the first half of the book. The mystery of just what the troop have stumbled upon is great, but some motivations become confusing towards the end. The ending is left for a sequel, which I gather is coming next year. The open ending might annoy some, but I’m already looking forward to seeing where Franklin takes this story next.
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