Where to begin? There were so many good things about "Southern Investigation" by Bert Carson, that naming just one, or even naming a few, feels completely inadequate. I won't be giving another synopsis here (you can read the one from Amazon below) and at this point I can’t possibly talk about the plot without giving too much away. Apologies in advance for that.
Amazon Product Description:
"Southern Investigation – Bill Simmons, David Hendricks, and Robert Hightower served almost three years together in Vietnam, leaving only when they were “wounded out.” They, along with Shirley Jacobson, a widow whose husband was killed in Vietnam, formed Southern Investigation, a commercial private investigation company. David, seriously wounded when he and Bill intervened to thwart a convenience store robbery attempt, required a helicopter evacuation. That was the beginning of Southern Investigation’s involvement in a POW rescue that involved the DEA and President Ronald Reagan. Southern Investigation is the story of Vietnam Veterans facing the effects of the war – building meaningful relationship – and experiencing advanced esoteric teachings..."
This book grabbed me by the gut, but the reason for that is as much about what it does as a piece of storytelling as it is what it does thematically. It’s as much about the characters and how I grew to care about them as it is the questions the story asks, and how much these matter to my life – to all of our lives, really. The fact that I can’t really separate my emotional and my intellectual responses to this story speaks to how excellent it is.
Obviously I know this is a book , but my emotional investment is such I just can’t quite analyze it as a piece of fiction – not just yet. Don't you love when this happens? When a story feels so real that until you finish it you walk around in a daze, worrying about the characters? The story is well crafted with all the twists, turns and clever moments of the best thrillers. It’s charged with suspense, wonderful humor...and rife with sparks of unpredictability. Best of all, the author's incredibly warm humanity and personal senses of loyalty, honor and harmony with the cosmos lend their lambent glow throughout.
The careful reader will notice how dispassionately the author describes events that happened in Vietnam, revealing a level of acceptance of things as they are, not as we wish them to be...keeping it real, so to speak. This acceptance, as we later understand in the story, underlies the reason that seemingly impossible things can happen when we release our old belief systems and hang our expectations one notch higher onto another plane entirely. It's truly heady, mind-growing stuff, and not in a pesky dogmatic sense, but in a perfectly natural, quiet, unassuming unfolding, which is key to opening the realm of possibilities.
The author basically nails everything. There is not a false note in this whole incredible book. His storytelling capabilities are finely honed and we are helplessly caught up and carried like leaves on a gurgling brook.
I strongly encourage everyone to read this book, in fact all of his books. There is so much depth to what is written here, that you will find yourself thinking about it long after you put it down. Bert Carson is obviously one of the most soulful, selfless, incredible intellects you could ever come across, and he has truly given the world a great gift with his works. See if you don't agree.
--Jo VonBargen 2012