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Echoes of Vietnam ~ Skylight Books

Friday, November 5, 7:30 pm, ~ 1818 North Vermont Ave., Los Angeles

Michael Harris and Gary Phillips will discuss their recent hard-boiled novels published by PM Press, The Chieu Hoi Saloon and The Underbelly at Skylight Books. Each book features a flawed Vietnam vet in search for answers of a psychological and external nature.

In Chieu Hoi Saloon, it’s 1992 and three people’s lives are about to collide against the flaming backdrop of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Vietnam vet Harry Hudson is a journalist fleeing his past, the war, a failed marriage, and a fear-ridden childhood. Rootless, he stutters, wrestles with depression, and is aware he's passed the point at which victim becomes victimizer. He explores the city's lowest dives, the only places where he feels at home. He meets Mama Thuy, a Vietnamese woman struggling to run a Navy bar in a tough Long Beach neighborhood, and Kelly Crenshaw, a prostitute whose husband is in prison. They give Harry insight that maybe he can do something to change his fate in a gripping story that is both a character study and thriller.

In The Underbelly, Magrady, a semi-homeless Vietnam vet adrift in modern day downtown Los Angeles, searches for a disabled friend who has gone missing from Skid Row -- and who just might be up to his wheelchair in a dangerous scheme. Eight months sober, Magrady needs this mission to keep straight and the night sweats at bay. He must deal with take-no-prisoners community organizers, an unflinching police captain from his troubled past, dime-store desperados, combat flashbacks, an elderly sexpot, gentrification, and the perils of eating chili cheese fries at midnight.

Harris and Phillips will do their thing at Skylight Books, Friday, November 5, 7:30 pm, 1818 N Vermont Ave (between Hollywood Blvd & Franklin), Los Angeles, CA 90027. (323) 660-1175 www.skylightbooks.com/.

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