My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As part of the Honor Guard, Michael Dibiaso, a Vietnam vet, acts as a pallbearer for vets killed during the war. This experience, along with his time in Vietnam takes its toll on Michael in Pallbearers and Gamblers: A Novel by Michael John Cruit. The years is 1971, the war is in full swing, and with few supporters, vets are largely not welcomed when they return home. Michael is called home to attend to his mother who is dying of cancer. This combined with his father's involvement with Al Capone, his father acting as Capone's financial advisor, makes for an interesting and complicated homecoming for Michael. Before he knows it, he becomes embroiled in a money making scheme that could make him millions. Fraught with emotion and struggle, this novel examines the deep implications and consequences that war has not only on veterans themselves, but the community as a whole. Drug use is part of the reality that grips many veterans in an effort to escape their tortuous lives; Cruit adding this aspect to Michael's character to more completely define him. Fully engaging, with an accurate portrayal of the price of war on families, this is a highly recommended book.
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