SAIGON COMMANDOS BY JONATHAN CAIN

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tarzan

Copyright 1983.

Sgt. Mark Stryker is getting burned out on being a Green Beret. When the VC chop off the arms of all the children in a village that recently received vaccinations he decides he had enough. When his enlistment is up he quits and heads back to Saigon were he once served with the Military Police. He is at heart a cop first and becomes a private investigator. There is a lot of things happening in 1967 Saigon that involve the 716 Battalion of Military Police that is responsible for Saigon.

The decoy squad an undercover unit that works the streets has its hands full. In addition to the various Cong and hooligans that prowl the streets a new threat is stalking the street. A former MP has deserted after his girlfriend is brutally raped and murdered as payback for an arrest he made. The MP hunts the group of black deserters involved with the black market and other criminal activities. Unfortunately the MP has gone completely bonkers and starts taking out any black man that he finds. Meanwhile a Saigon policeman Jon Toi is hunting a deranged hooker that is carving up her soldier clients in revenge for being raped.

Back when I was a kid before my Christmas break I stopped at the supermarket to pick up some books to read. Now at this time there were no new books from one of the many post-apocalypse series that was following. So I decided to go with some Vietnam books. I picked up two books Saigon Commandos #4 and Gunships #3.

Now Gunships was your typical action fluff. Enjoyable but nothing special stood out about it. Then there was Saigon Commandos. Now here was a surprise. I found a very fast paced and enjoyable story. You would think that being an MP is boring. You know guarding installations and directing traffic. But not in Vietnam. Cain crafts an exotic city full of beautiful women and nonstop excitement. He brings a vibrant city inhabited with colorful and dangerous characters.

Jonathan Cain is a veteran of the Military Police and served in Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. He clearly has a strong background in the subject matter and a deep love of Southeast Asia. The stories he writes are based on true stories that were discussed with his fellow MP’s at Mimi’s Bar in Saigon. Now he did jazz it up with some extra sex and violence at the editors request. This was a Zebra Men’s Adventure book so you had to satisfy the target audience. Yet if you want to find out about Saigon during this time then this book series is an excellent choice. I can see why this series has a cult following.

So I will end with the description of were the title comes from that is at the beginning of all the books in the series.

“Saigon Commandos” was a derogatory term invented by infantrymen in the field to refer to any soldier stationed in the “rear”. But some of the military policemen-fighting snipers, sappers, and other hostile hooligans across the Saigon underworld-affectionately adopted the title, proud to be lawmen battling crime in the toughest beat in the world.

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