My Novels: BABY LOVE, Year of the Monkey, The Courage to Kill, THE SUM OF HIS WORTH
Read chapters by clicking title under SELECTED WORKS
Acclaimed as one of the most important novels of Vietnam, Year of the Monkey is the gripping story of two American soldiers trapped in a mysterious web of corruption and murder during the shattering Tet Offensive of 1968. Journalist Russell Payne's cushy assignment abruptly ends when a wild, tormented grunt named Willingham is inexplicably reassigned to the rear after an ambush that left everyone else in his unit dead. Ordered to befriend Willingham as part of a secret CIA investigation, Payne begins an unwitting odyssey into the heart of a war-torn jungle where he helplessly watches a childhood friend die, comes to love a woman who might be the enemy and winds up being court-martialed for murder. In stunning scenes of combat and intrigue, we glean as in no other novel or movie the patch-quilt nature of the Vietnamese people and the murderous deceit of body count politics from the grunt's eye--on both sides.
REVIEWS and PRAISE:
"If you tossed Ron Argo's novel onto the accumulated pile of books about the Vietnam war, it would land on top ... and remain there. Fifty years from now this book could well serve as one of the more comprehensive testaments in American history." -- The San Diego Union
"No other Vietnam novel this reviewer has read conveys so achingly the subterfuge, duplicity, frustration and cover-ups of that war. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal
"Argo's extraordinary first novel of the brutalizing Vietnam conflict elevates him instantly to the front ranks of American war novelists--Crane, Dos Passos, Mailer, and James Jones...a compassionate novel by a fine storyteller--an artist." -- the late Harry Lawton, author of TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE
"...the FROM HERE TO ETERNITY of the Vietnam generation, a moving, human novel about Vietnamese and Americans alike whose lives were forever changed." -- Robert Houston
"A welcome departure from the norm in Vietnam war fiction... Payne gradually uncovers a trail of murder and betrayal that forces him to confront the terrible ambiguities underlying America's involvement in Vietnam. A superb novel, highly recommended." -- Steve Weingartner, Booklist
"Compelling reading that delivers an important piece of the Vietnam puzzle." -- Kirkus Review
"Argo's hook and the climactic twist delivered are both surprising and credible. Argo's Vietnam is very much the one readers and film-goers have come to know--a pestilent netherworld of inhuman living conditions and impossibly murky moral choices. This unsparing story is an effective confirmation of those portrayals." -- Publishers Weekly
"Argo has an eye for details and a good ear for the rhythms of human speech. His supporting characters are drawn with as much attention and skill as his protagonist." -- West Coast Review of Books
THE COURAGE TO KILL -- a psychological thriller as chilling and suspenseful as "SEVEN"
EXCERPT -- The Courage to Kill
“When … when I was a child, my father …” She averted her eyes. “Do you know what I’m saying? … I had gone to confront him. It was the second time and he did the same thing again— He refused to accept responsibility—”
She stopped. She knew they wouldn’t understand.
Det. Pedroza groaned, growing restless. Both men shuffled their feet.
Jay could see it coming. They were about to tell her she was under arrest. She said in a pinched, quaking voice, “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
The detectives exchanged glances.
“Your father’s body was discovered late last night,” Pedroza said. “Intended to look like suicide.... Ms Parrish, do you own a handgun?”
This edgy Southern thriller pulsates with violence, love, betrayal and humor as seen through the eyes of an adventurous white teenager during the great cultural revolution of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s.
Excerpt from THE SUM OF HIS WORTH