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Killing Grace: A Vietnam War Mystery

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

The year is 1967 and the Vietnam War is raging. Lieutenant Ben Kinkaid of the US military police is patrolling the chaotic streets of Saigon after curfew when he crosses paths with US Army clerk Tommy Banks and his girlfriend, Grace Waverly. Grace says she’s a peace tourist, but she’s also a member of RAW—an anti-war group bent on stopping the war by any means necessary. When Grace turns up dead in the Saigon River, Ben gradually uncovers a much larger conspiracy that involves an opium-pushing arms dealer and spies of every stripe. Rich with authentic details, this gripping thriller will immerse you in the tumultuous atmosphere of the 1960s as two very different men pursue justice, love, and survival in a world torn apart by war.
Veteran journalist Prichard offers a smart, shadowy mystery that illuminates a quagmire in sharply honed prose. Killing Grace begins its story in 1967, as the Vietnam war rages on and Lieutenant Ben Kinkaid of the US military police, patrolling the chaotic streets of Saigon, comes across US Army clerk Tommy Banks and his peace-tourist girlfriend, Grace Waverly, out after curfew. Tommy and Grace are secretly members of RAW, an anti-war group bent on stopping the war by any means necessary. (“we’re soldiers too,” Grace says: “warriors for peace.”) But when Grace is found dead near the Saigon River, Ben discovers a much larger conspiracy, an act of terror, that involves an arms dealer, an alphabet soup of agencies, and spies everywhere he turns—even deep in the U.S.

While not based on any particular true incident, Prichard’s arresting thriller still explores and exposes truths, in this case complex and conflicting facts and feelings about the war, from shocking (and still too little-known) corruption, in some cases from the “thousands of mysterious American civilians working in Vietnam,” to Ben’s hard-won understanding of “the way Vietnamese mothers collapsed when their kids were slaughtered.” Full of characters with strong opinions expressed in crisp, provocative dialogue, heart-wrenching war updates with the whiff of reportage, and urgent themes of love and survival, this thriller will keep readers gripped as Prichard explores competing sides of America’s political battle, from the perspectives of both Tommy and Ben, but also through convincing everyday detail, like a comparison of newspaper headlines covering an outbreak of violence at an anti-war rally.

Prichard served in army intelligence in Vietnam, and his account blends a strong sense of in-country life with an practical understanding of the shoe-leather work it takes to expose a truth. Best of all, he knows how to make that work tense and compelling. Killing Grace will help readers better understand the era while delivering a compelling page-turner.

Takeaway: Thrilling, immersive Saigon-set mystery during the Vietnam War.

Comparable Titles: Juris Jurjevics’s Red Flags, Con Sellers’s Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A