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Class Of '68
Michael Murphy
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Kevin Cooper’s high school senior year plans of sex, drugs and rock and roll are shattered by the arrival of his brother Tim’s first letter from Vietnam. In Vietnam, Tim struggles to survive and to forget his love for anti-war activist Sarah Johnson. The three people’s lives, and the lives of their families are forever changed by war, student unrest and political assassination.

The first morning in Lang Vei, Tim couldn’t shake a sensation of doom that had engulfed him since he and Jesse had arrived from Khe Sahn. He skipped breakfast and hiked the perimeter of the dog bone-shaped compound convinced the rumored Tet ceasefire would prove to be an illusion.

Tim’s boots clicked against hard cement as he climbed the hill. Instead of tents and wooden hootches like in Phu Bai, Lang Vei was a solid camp made mostly of reinforced concrete dug into a hill.

At the crest of the hill, he stood beside the observation tower above the tactical command bunker. Tim scanned the camp, quiet except for the snap of the American flag as wind swept across the crest of the camp. He tried to get a sense of where an attack might come from as he studied Highway 9, the road that led from the communists’ sanctuary in Laos to Khe Sahn. Americans were determined to hold the highway, one a dogged enemy no doubt coveted.

Tim gazed south past the motor pool to a series of concrete bunkers reinforced with sandbags. He tried to remember which one had been assigned to him and Jesse. Past the bunkers lay three layers of a barbed wire perimeter interspersed with Claymore mines and trip flares, a formidable defense.

To the west were mostly Montanyard tribesmen who hated Communists more than the South Vietnamese government did. Fierce sons of bitches, Sergeant Crowley had called them.

Jesse came from the motor pool along a row of jeeps. He held out a tin cup of steaming black coffee. "You look like a tourist.”

Tim took the coffee and managed a smile. "Some vacation.”

That evening, Tim peered out the cold cement bunker under the moonlight, hoping for one more calm night. A cigarette dangled from Jesse’s mouth as he dealt a hand of solitaire in the dim light.

The hours dragged by and Tim grew tense. Jesse swept up the cards and put them away in his back pocket. "Don’t worry. I can always feel an attack coming.”


Trip flares burst in the night sky.

Jesse and Tim hit the concrete floor as the rattle of automatic weapons shattered the stillness of the night. Explosions shook the ground and spit clouds of dirt and shrapnel in the air.

Tim coughed as dust and smoke rolled through the opening of the bunker. This is it!

Tim and Jesse fired their M-16s as the North Vietnamese charged the barbed wire perimeter. Tim slapped a fresh clip in the rifle and wiped sweat from his eyes. At least he felt more secure in the heavily reinforced bunker.

Another bunker down the hill erupted in a ball of orange flame. While Tim fired at the advancing onslaught, he caught his breath, confident in the superiority of American firepower.

Tim knew the sights and sounds of firefights, but in seconds he heard a new noise. A clanking and creaking, metal-against-metal clatter drifted from the highway. Through the smoke and dirt, Tim strained to see the source of the commotion as the sound grew louder. When flares burst, he caught glimpses of tanks reaching the outer perimeter.

Reinforcements from Khe Sahn wouldn’t come this soon, or from the south. Tim squinted through the smoke. A half dozen tanks creaked toward them.

"They’re tanks, Cooper. Goddamn NVA’s got tanks.”

"They don’t have tanks!”

"What do you call those mothers, Volkswagen Bugs?”

Plodding forward, the tanks swept the bunkers with machine gun fire and high explosive cannon rounds. Searchlights from the tanks lit the way for infantrymen creeping behind the armored protection of the hulking machines. Using automatic AK24s, the enemy soldiers directed fire on the bunkers.

Sandbags split and bullets peppered the outer walls of the bunker. Bright flashes lit up the smoke and dust casting a Halloween-like glow over the battleground. A blast behind their bunker tossed a jeep into the air. The vehicle crashed to the ground, tumbled down the hill, and came to a stop twenty feet from their bunker. An explosion to the right sent chunks of concrete boun

Cuts Like a Knife by Michael Murphy deserves its name. It lays out the raw flesh of human experience. On the surface, the novel thrills with a fast-paced murder mystery involving the fearless detective, Casey Bannister, whose dry wit and angst about women make him lovable. On a deeper level the novel explores whether we can act honorably, whether we can trust each other, or more disturbingly whether there is any good in humankind to be found. Murphy’s answers by turns comfort and haunt. Cuts Life a Knife is a fine read, one I highly recommend. -- Toby Heathcotte, Author and President, Arizona Authors Association

Buckle your seat belt and brace yourself! Michael Murphy's Ramblin' Man is one hell of a ride! Murphy is the master of character development, handing us Bart Wheeler, one tough guy with a heart of gold and enough sex appeal to singe the pages while tossing in one irresistible, spoiled, rich heiress with more than a few surprises tucked inside her little pink purse! Murphy delivers it all! Bare knuckle fight scenes, nail biting suspense, knee slapping comedy and edge of the seat romantic tension reminiscent of the longing seen only on the television series, Moonlighting. Ramblin' Man is one wide open, fun filled road trip you'll never want to end. --Alisha Paige, Canyon Wolf Bride, The Wooden Nickel

An utterly charming read! In Ramblin’ Man by talented author Michael Murphy, Bart Wheeler has met his match when he crosses paths with a sassy self-indulged runaway heiress with Yorkie-Pom in tow. But not even an irate business tycoon, the FBI, a bogus kidnapping charge or a one-sided softball game can rattle this guileless dude. Murphy gives breath to an understated hero for our time. --Jordan Dane, Award-winning Avon Author, No One Heard Her Scream, No One Left to Tell

In Michael Murphy’s new novel Ramblin’ Man, Bart Wheeler, newly unattached, is enjoying an aimless journey cross country with his window down and his radio on, dining at the local greasy spoon, when a runaway heiress sashays into his life in a cloud of expensive perfume, a posse of FBI agents and private security thugs hot on her trail. Before he can finish his fries, Bart finds himself sharing the cab of his truck with a yappy purse-sized dog named Tinker and a red-head confection in pink designer jeans who believes chipped fingernail polish qualifies as a genuine emergency. Michael Murphy makes you like ’em all--even the dog. Murphy takes us around bend after unexpected bend as Bart and Samantha take the ride of their lives--on the long, twisted road to Apple Valley. You can almost smell the cheeseburgers. --Melanie Wells, The Soul Hunter, My Soul to Keep

I’ve lived nearly all of my life in Arizona and most of that with my wife of thirty-six years. We enjoy our eight grandchildren and our menagerie of animals including my wife’s dog Tinker who appears in my new novel, Ramblin’ Man. I love reading mystery and suspense novels, and love writing them. Because I find absurdity in just about everything, humor finds it’s way into my writing along with the chills.

Fiction Books :: General Books

ISBN: 1597058955
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597058957
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 302
Paper Weight (lb): 12.6

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