Unlike other branches of the armed services, the Navy draws it police force from the ranks, as temporary duty called Shore Patrol. In this funny, bawdy, moving novel set during the height of the Vietnam War, two career sailors in transit in Norfolk, Virginia—Billy "Bad-Ass" Buddusky and Mule Mulhall—are assigned to escort eighteen-year-old Larry Meadows from Norfolk to the brig in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he is to serve an eight-year sentence for petty theft. It's good duty, until the two old salts realize the injustice of the sentence and are oddly affected by the naive innocence of their young prisoner.
In the five days allotted for the detail, they decide to show Meadows something of the life he doesn't yet know, to help him survive the long ordeal ahead and to purge their own shame. What follows is an unlikely road trip by bus and train up the Eastern seaboard and an indelible journey of initiation and discovery, filled with beer-soaked wisdom, big city lights, revelry, brawls, debauchery, love, and surprising moments of tenderness.
AuthorBy Darryl Ponicsán
Published5 September 2017
Dimensions5.50 x 8.25in.
About the author
Darryl Ponicsán is the author of thirteen novels and an award-winning screenwriter for both film and television. Born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, he taught high school after attending Muhlenberg College and earning an MA at Cornell University. He served in the US Navy from 1962 to 1965, then did social work in the Watts area of Los Angeles and taught high school before the success of his debut novel, The Last Detail, allowed him to become a full-time writer. His latest novel is Last Flag Flying, the sequel to the first. He resides in Palm Springs and Sonoma, California.
"Salty, bawdy, hilarious, and very touching." —Variety
"Honest, heart-wrenching . . . Keeps his serio-comic escapade snowballing until the very end." —The New York Times
"The writing is superb, the pace headlong, the irony tempered with curious gentleness." —Cosmopolitan
"A lean, funny, bitter book." —Boston Globe
"Will make servicemen say: 'sure, that's the way it is." —Newsday
"First novels tend to be flawed some place, but Darryl Ponicsan's is the exception." —Sacramento Bee
"An accomplished writer with a sure storyteller's touch." —St. Louis Post Dispatch
"[A] gem of a first novel . . . Fast-paced . . . [the] dialogue is often hilarious." —Fort Worth Star
"A well-spun yarn that runs the gamut of emotions in anything but an ordinary story." —Fresno Bee
"So deeply human that the reader is apt to believe . . . that he is actually witnessing the events." —San Raphael Independence Journal
"Ponicsan in his first appearance proves himself not only a master but a model of dialogue." —San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle
"[An] excellent first novel . . . Wonderful dialogue." —Publishers Weekly
"The characters are uneducated, tough, uncultured career sailors, but their warmth and affection come through, and readers become really involved with them—the innocent victims . . . of a heartless society. This book is sure to be a success." —Library Journal