Michael's Reviews > The Officers' Club

The Officers' Club by Ralph Peters
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's review
Feb 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery, own-it, read-in-2011, reader-s-club-review-request, reviewed

Lt. Roy Banks is questioned about the murder of Lt. Jessica Lamoureaux. He tells the investigator that he doesn't know anything about the murder. Then, the reader learns of events leading up to that moment.

Roy has been having an affair with a Captain's wife. He is part of a group of officers who like to party, called The Officers' Club.

Vietnam is over and military life is comparatively relaxed. Banks plays around with his buddy, Lt. Jeffrey Massetto.

Jessica arrives at a party with another officer. Later in the evening she approaches Roy and attempts to seduce him. Roy tells her that he's involved with someone and declines her offer. This seems to motivate Jessica to make Roy change his mind. It is as if she has an obsession with him.

Roy doesn't want anything to do with Jessica. He sees her as manipulative and calculating. She uses others for her own purposes and proceeds to sleep with most of the people in Roy's circle of friends.

One night, Roy gets a call from Jerry that Jerry is in terrible trouble in Mexico and he needs help. After Roy rescues him, Jerry discloses that Jessie set him up.

Was the novel interesting? Yes, in a dark way. It held my attention and described life in a manner similiar to James Ellroy, bleak but true to life.

The characters seem caught up in their own situations and are unable to rise above it. This reminded me of the realism movement in literature with Frank Norris and Upton Sinclair. These character's lives weren't heroic, they didn't evoke sympathy but they did depict a slice of life.

I also applaud the author for the sympathetic treatment of one character who becomes one of the early AIDS victims of the 1970s.
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