Valley of the Purple Hearts is Out!

Valley of the Purple Hearts

Book #4 in the Vietnam War series, is now available in both print and Kindle e-reader formats on at Classified as historical military fiction, Valley of the Purple Hearts is a story about a squad of paratroopers with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam in the months following the 1968 Tet Offensive. Buck Marino, a naive boy fresh off the farm, quickly finds his yearning for adventure becomes a struggle for survival as he faces the horrific realities of war.

Valley of the Purple Hearts, The 101st Airborne in Vietnam

The story of an infantry squad in Vietnam.

I have addressed the inevitable cliches of such a story through the deeper development of the characters, their psyches, and relationships. And, as with Book #3 in the series, Raeford’s MVP, Valley of the Purple Hearts explores the aftermath of war and its effects on the individual combat veteran. Be sure to read the review comments by Army Brigadier General (retired) Robert Enzenauer, a paratrooper surgeon who served two tours in Afghanistan with the 19th Special Forces Group. Not even officially recognized by the military until 1981, “Post Traumatic Stress is,” as Doctor Enzenauer explained, “not a disorder, but a very normal human reaction.” Great effort was taken to embed this reality within the story.

There is also included in the story a strong underpinning of the “Vietnam experience” depicted through both allegorical and direct reference to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, primarily as seen through the eyes of squad leader Sergeant Rolley Zwyrkowski. I feel this helps a reader better understand the bizarre nature of what was the Vietnam War, its lack of coherent strategy and the actions of the military leaders during that time. It also adds a certain much needed comic relief to the story.

Because of its current relevance, Valley of the Purple Hearts is not a light read, but I have taken care to make it a rewarding one. As with my other novels, Valley of the Purple Hearts has a strong female secondary protagonist represented by Army nurse Janie Jorgensen. And, as it seems to be my unavoidable nature, I have written a romantic thread into the story. After all, where would any veteran be without the strong support of a mate?

For those of you who have read this far into this blog post, I am also making a special offer effective through Saturday, August 5th, 2017. Anyone who will commit to writing and posting an honest review of Valley of the Purple Hearts on Amazon and can receive a free copy of the Kindle e-reader edition of the book. Simply send me your email address via the “contact” screen on the website. I will purchase a copy (not even I get them for free) and have it emailed from Amazon to you or your Kindle device. Amazon also offers free downloadable e-reader apps for other devices, including cell phones, thus enabling Kindle books to be read in virtually any format.

 Valley of the Purple Hearts

Best Wishes,

Rick DeStefanis

You may also enjoy: Melody Hill and Rawlins: No Longer Young

Coming Soon: Valley of The Purple Hearts

Valley of The Purple Hearts

Below is the cover for, Valley of The Purple Hearts, the next novel in my “Vietnam War Series,” along with a very brief story summary. The cover is designed by Todd Hebertson at You will notice this one will be a departure from the first three books in the series in as much as it is a more “conventional” story about one young soldier’s experience, without the intrigue of espionage. It does, however, have that inevitable love story—something I somehow seem unable to avoid having for all my protagonists. Think of it as a Vietnam War version of Farewell to Arms and Alice in Wonderland all rolled into one—no disrespect intended for Hemingway or Lewis Carroll. I think they will forgive me. I just hope my readers can.

So here is the story summary:

When eighteen-year-old Buck Marino first meets Rolley Zwyrkowski, he little realizes the young sergeant and their next year together in Vietnam will change his life forever. The months following the 1968 Tet Offensive and the battles of the 101st Airborne between Hue and Phu Bai, and westward into the A Shau Valley, provide the backdrop for a story about boys becoming men in a paradoxical war. And when he meets Army nurse Janie Jorgensen, Buck believes he has found the love of his life only to crash into the reality that the war has left his heart and soul lost in a futureless void.

Historical military fiction, Valley of The Purple Hearts follows the men of Second Squad through the shadowy jungles and mountains of I-Corps as they fight main force Viet Cong and NVA regulars. With constant enemy contact, booby-traps, sniper fire and all-out firefights, Buck and his buddies follow their squad leader, Rolley, who puts the lives of his men first. As Rolley faces the young and inept Lieutenant Mallon, Buck realizes his squad leader is becoming jaded and has lost his sense of humor. When the young sergeant sacrifices his safety for that of his men, Buck must step up to face Mallon in the heat of battle, and try to save his friend.


With a little luck, I hope to have it out by late summer. Meanwhile, if you have read any of my other books, liked it, and not left a written review on Amazon, please do. Reviews are an immediate measure of a book’s worthiness that readers depend on. Fewer reviews often equate to fewer readers taking a chance on a book. Therefore your help will be very much appreciated.


You may also enjoy: Rawlings: No Longer Young and Raeford’s MVP

David Watson on The Gomorrah Principle

Blogger David Watson writes about The Gomorrah Principle

David Watson wrote a piece about The Gomorrah Principle, and I must say it made me feel pretty good about my efforts as a writer and an author, especially coming from someone who writes with Watson’s authority. His comments are below:

The late 1960s was a tumultuous time in American history. The Vietnam war was in full swing and several young men went off to war and didn’t return. One of those men was Duff Cowan who left behind evidence suggesting that he was part of a secret operation and his death may have been a homicide. Two of the people affected by his death were his sister Lacey and his best friend Brady Nash. Despite Lacey’s protests, Brady enlists in the army and heads to Vietnam to find the men responsible for Duff’s death.

Brady becomes one of the best snipers in the Vietnam  and works his way into the secret organization that cost Duff his life. Little by little Brady discovers that not everything is as it seems and it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Brady finds himself involved in a world of spies, double agents and he sees that the lines between good and evil are blurred.

The Gomorrah Principle by Rick DeStefanis is more than a war-time thriller. This is also a story about love, friendship, loyalty and morality. I’ll admit right away that I’m not a big reader of war stories but Rick DeStefanis had me hooked from the start. The beginning of the story focuses on Brady and you get to learn about his feelings towards Duff and Lacey. Then we find out about what happened to one of the people who went away to war and came back. At this point you feel like you know Brady personally and you’re concerned for him as he goes on a journey that he feels he has to take.

The Gomorrah Principle is a masterpiece with strong characters and an exciting story-line. I enjoyed how Brady worries about loosing his humanity as he has to start killing people and how he still hopes that some day he can go home and have a normal life with Lacey. I liked that we also got to hear Lacey’s story in this book, I felt it added more depth to an already complex story. A good war story should also be about the people soldiers leave behind and this one gets into how Lacey is affected by Brady’s absence.

Another thing I liked about this book is how it shows that people on both sides of the war have their own agenda and everyone is a shade of grey. In one of my favorite scenes a Vietnamese woman says that this is a civil war and America should not be here. She goes on to say she is leaving the country because she is not sure she can trust anyone on either side of the conflict. I loved that this story looked at the war from the Vietnamese perspective as well as the American perspective. This novel leaves nothing out showing how the soldiers  in the war felt and how the people effected by it felt. We also get a vivid description of what it’s like being a soldier under attack. Rick DeStefanis spent time in the armed forces and describes the fighting in vivid detail from his own experience. Even if you don’t like war stories you should read this book anyway because it’s a good story period.

My personal thanks to David Watson.

Rick DeStefanis