Happy Valley novelist R. Cyril West takes on POW/MIA truth
For some, it's not conspiracy theory, not paranoid myth, not Rambo fantasy. For some, like Happy Valley author R. Cyril West, it's the truth: U.S. military personnel were left behind in Vietnam. This is the topic of the second novel in his POW/MIA Truth series, "Some Never Forget" (Molon Labe Books, 2017).
The story focuses on Walter Greene, a paranoid, right-wing father of a Vietnam soldier who went missing in 1971.
"Like many family members who are missing a loved one from the Vietnam War, the protagonist in 'Some Never Forget' feels like he hasn't been told the complete and honest truth about what happened to his son," West said. "Because the U.S. government has been vague about the facts surrounding his boy's disappearance, and mysteriously changed his status from missing to killed in action without supporting evidence, the father feels like he must search for answers himself."
Former representative (R-New Hampshire, 1985-90) and U.S. Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire, 1990-2003) wrote the foreword to "Some Never Forget." Smith, who grew up without knowing how his father died during World War II, co-chaired the U.S. Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs from 1991-93. In 2003, Smith founded the American Patriot Foundation to support families of soldiers lost in war.
"Men were abandoned," Smith said, "and it is chilling to think that our own government would send our men into harm's way, and then when they were lost, ignore the desperate pleas of their loved ones, who only wanted to know the truth."
In the novel, the protagonist Walter Greene comes across secret information that indicates his son, Pfc. Thomas Greene, might have been abandoned after the war. When he is confronted by a hostile government operative who warns against digging into his son's disappearance, the story enters into a deadly game of cat and mouse. Will Greene get his hands on classified documents that prove his son was abandoned," and might still be alive in Vietnam," before the operative silences him?
"In reality, people like me who believe POWs were left behind in Vietnam are labeled by professional debunkers as conspiracy kooks," West said. "In this novel, I wanted to create a character that fell into this disparaging stereotype, except with a juicy twist."
"Some Never Forget" takes a turn down the "things are not what they seem" road when it is revealed that the father suffers from mental illness and might be talking to imaginary people, including the very informants who are providing secrets about his son. But is he schizophrenic?
Native American mysticism, a bank robbery, and a love interest of the missing son provide "Some Never Forget" with an intriguing subplot. Its creepy ending begging for a sequel is reminiscent of a Hitchcock film.
Smith added, "It is my profound hope after reading 'Some Never Forget' that the reader will conclude that none should ever forget."
"Some Never Forget" is available at Amazon and other bookstores. Learn more at the author's website, powmiatruth.com, or by watching a video about the book at youtube.com/watch?v=qv_87LJ24A8.