“The desires of the heart are crooked as a corkscrew…”

Robert Stone’s second novel, Dog Soldiers, won the National Book Award in 1975. Stone died in 2015. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and once for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Stone also received support and recognition including a Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Dos Passos Prize and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Stone’s other books include A Hall of Mirrors (1967), A Flag for Sunrise (1981), Children of Light (1986), Bear and His Daughter (1997), Damascus Gate (1998), Bay of Souls (2003), Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties (2007), Fun with Problems (2010) and Death of the Black-Haired Girl (2013). Stone died at the age of 77 in Miami, Florida. 

Dog Soldiers was adapted from a script co-written by Stone into a 1978 film titled Who’ll Stop The Rain that starred Nick Nolte. Dog Soldiers revolves around John Converse, a Vietnam correspondent during the war who becomes involved with a big-time drug dealer. Converse goes looking for action in Saigon during the waning days of the Vietnam War, and he certainly finds it.

Once Converse makes a hard bargain he finds himself in deep water. His courier goes missing, his wife begins cheating, a corrupt Federal agent starts to make his life difficult and he’s surrounded by professional killers. 

On page 238, a scene comes alive as the story continues racing towards darkness: “The following morning they started early and drove almost until dusk without stopping. It was a superhighway driving through the desert; Danskin and Smitty took turns behind the wheel and they became more tense as the day passed. There were dried apricots and candy to eat and more Bacardi. Converse drank the better part of the rum. They did not make him wear cuffs in the car.”

Reading Dog Soldiers raises the blood pressure. Stone leaves his characters changed forever at the end of this brutal tale. A classic…