The Tunnel Rats - Stephen Leather

First Chapters - Stephen Leather The Tunnel Rats
The Tunnel Rats - Stephen Leather book cover

Two murders, thousands of miles apart: one in London, one in Bangkok. The bodies brutally mutilated: an ace of spades impaled upon their chests.

In Washington, a US senator receives photographs of the corpses. And realises that his past has come back to haunt him.

Nick Wright is the detective trying to solve the mystery of the double killing. His hunt for a motive takes him to the tunnels in Vietnam, where the American tunnel rats fought the dirtiest battle of the war against the Viet Cong.

But Wright's search places him in the firing line. Because another killer is on the loose, a killer who is determined to protect the secrets of the tunnels. At whatever cost...

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I was still living in Thailand when I started this thriller, though I finished it in Dublin. It's the book that required the most research by far. I went down the tunnels of Cu Chi on several occasions and traveled across Vietnam, and was greatly helped by Alistair Cumming of the Transport Police. I had to research what it was like in the tunnel during the Vietnam War, and what it's like today, and I had to get inside the heads of Vietnam War veterans, something I hadn't done since The Vets.

I love the twist in the book, and hope that readers don't spot it too early. And I'm very attached to the main character, Nick Wright, and would like to bring him back in another book at some point.

I think it'd make a great film and I'm working on a screenplay of the book.