Running with the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse

I recently finished reading my second book by Lloyd Lofthouse entitled Running with the Enemy. Tomorrow, I will be posting an interview with Mr. Lofthouse that I know you will enjoy and find interesting. The first book I reviewed of Mr. Lofthouse was The Concubine Sagaand can be found by clicking HERE.

–another beautiful cover for author Lloyd Lofthouse’s book
Running with the Enemy is the story of a Vietnam War Marine who is unjustly framed by a rogue CIA agent to cover up the agent’s misdeeds. The Marine, Ethan Card, has also fallen in love with a half-French, half-Vietnamese Viet Cong operative named Tuyen. Together, they try to evade the evil agent Ortega and clear Ethan’s good name. From the beginning, the reader can tell this is going to be no easy task. Other characters involved in the drama are Tuyen’s adopted father, Luu, her dastardly half-brother, Giap, a pathetic, not-so-bright Marine also on the run, and Colonel Price, the standup commander of Ethan’s unit that never loses faith in Ethan and aids him as best as he can.
I found Running with the Enemyintriguing with the nonstop flight of Ethan and Tuyen over several countries in Southeast Asia. They traveled in areas of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. I really wanted to know if they would make it out alive or if one of them would perish amidst all of the danger, fighting, and suffering that both of them experience. I was fascinated with the fact that these types of situations where not only do our fighting men have to worry about the enemy, but I am sure many of them have and had to worry about their enemies on their own side and even in their own units. Have read little on the Vietnam War, I really was taken in by fighting in such a foreign land with a mostly jungle setting. I am sure fighting in such a vastly different climate and topography was one of the reasons for our no-win situation from the beginning of that horrible war that took more than 58,000 American lives.
It would be naïve of anyone to think that all agents in service to our covert agencies are all respectable and loyal to the cause. As with any group of people, some have their own agendas and are ruled by greed and power. Ortega was one such heinous officer and person of power. His character was truly evil personified. Dealing with the enemy and framing your own innocent citizens is horrifying enough, but then being downright sadistic on top of that is extremely disturbing. I don’t doubt such characters existed in Vietnam, as I am sure they still do now in places such as Afghanistan. Besides just trying to stay alive, it is sad that many soldiers have to watch their backs from their own associates. Really, anyone can be framed for anything, whether at war or not.
Luu was a loyal friend of Tuyen’s French father who at one time had owned a rubber plantation in Vietnam. He was the wise old man who provided calmness and serenity in the face of chaos. Even though he dreamed of being a monk and living out his days in serenity and contemplation, he stuck to his promise of trying to take care of Tuyen and reunite her with her mother in Thailand.
The most enjoyable and important character was, of course, Ethan Card. I thought Mr. Lofthouse brought forth an admirable, yet by no means perfect, character. Ethan was decisive and brave, even though at times he could have made better decisions. He was just what you would expect a special ops soldier to be. I enjoyed the narration best from Ethan’s point of view. He was just a young man from Chicago who previously ran with some street gangs having his own family issues who decided his life would be improved by joining the Marines. He never made excuses for his circumstances, but just tried to moved forward and clear his name. I liked Mr. Lofthouse’s depiction of this imperfect protagonist.
–author Lloyd Lofthouse
What did I think could have been different in the book? I think the readers would have been better served by including some simple maps. Any time I read about an aspect of history with many changes in locales, I think a map or two aids in the understanding of the story. Also, there is one word that I noticed throughout the book that was vastly overused: clusterfuck. I love the word, personally, but being used too much in Running with the Enemy, the word lost its power. Some things are best described as a clusterfuck, but used too much becomes its own clusterfuck. Going back and tracking the number, clusterfuck was only used 8 times, but it seemed like many more. If colorful language and sex scenes are not something you want to read, just be aware that this book has some such descriptions and scenes. I think they reflect the reality of soldiers needing diversion and release from the horrors they witness and are required to administer.
I found Running with the Enemy captivating and well worth reading and enjoyed such a different type of historical novel from Mr. Lofthouse than his previous. Since Mr. Lofthouse is a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, I am sure he drew from some of his personal experiences and I shudder to think of some of these experiences. This was a good novel for me to read and write about during the Memorial Day weekend to reflect on what some soldiers have to experience in and out of combat in foreign settings.

Read Running with the Enemyto see if Ethan and Tuyen prevail in their quest to evade evil and secure a life together.
Please return tomorrow for an interview with Lloyd Lofthouse about his life and writing.
Following are all the tour stops for Running with the Enemy:
So Many Precious Books May 30 Review & Giveaway
Book Dilettante May 31 Review
M. Denise C. June 4 Review
M. Denise C. June 5 Interview
JoyStory June 6 Review
Sweeps4Bloggers June 10 Review & Giveaway
Dab of Darkness June 11 Review
Romance & Inspiration June 12 Review
Candle Beam Books June 13 Review
Candle Beam Books June 14 Interview & Giveaway
A Booklover’s LibraryJune 18 Guest Post
DWED Blog June 20 Review
DWED Blog June 21 Interview
Reviewing Novels on Line June 25 Interview
My Devotional Thoughts June 25 Review
My Devotional Thoughts June 7 Interview
Tabula Rasa June 26 Review
A Book & a Latte June 27 Review
A Book & a Latte June 28 Interview

  6 comments for “Running with the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse

  1. June 4, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Thank you for reading my novel and the great review. And I love your suggestion regarding the map. I wish I had thought of that before.

    I wonder if I can go back and add the map and then upload the updated version—at least for the e-book. And maybe the map could show the route they took and mark the locations where major scenes take place.

    I’ll see if I can do that. Great idea. Thanks.

    • June 4, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      You’re welcome! I know nothing about publishing ebooks, but I would not think that would be difficult. I really enjoyed this book. Maybe you could write about what happens to Ethan later in his life? Cheers, Denise

  2. June 5, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book so much! I loved it, myself. I love the map idea. I also would love a sequel with Ethan later in his life!

    • June 5, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Thank you, Teddy. Thanks for another great book blog tour!

  3. June 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    A sequel. I never thought of that idea. And it takes me so long to write, edit and revise one book-length manuscript—usually years. Maybe I could write a short story????

    • June 5, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      Yes. A short story would be great, too!

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