"Like a dog in the street," Aziz said and spat at the curb. "Like a common dog." That was the assessment of what life would be like in American for his daughter if she married Si. Three months later they were married at the American embassy in Siagon. The year is 1987 and Simon Hayes, who never came home from the war in Vietnam, has returned to Seattle with his wife and teenage son. His father, John, is on his death bed and wants to see Si before he crosses over. There were many reasons for Si's self-imposed exile; most of them involve having to fight a war he eventually lost the ability to believe in. Then there was race, an issue he and his father also had in common. John was in WWII and learned that in order to rise above the race issue you must become financially successful which he did. Both of them had expectations of what their participation in war would mean to them and their race. They hoped that patriotism could lighten the burden of dark skin and make them more American. Unfortunately, their dream was the same false hope men of color had been plagued with in all of America's wars. African-American men and veterans will especially relate to this story. Readers of other races will find themselves feeling what the characters are feeling as the author so well describes the inner processes of their psyche. This rich depth of character development does not distract from a swift moving story of mystery and scandal. Si is catapulted into a suspenseful murder investigation involving the kidnapping of his sister, a Seattle TV news reporter. The unraveling of the mystery exposes long buried secrets in the Hayes family, some of them better forgotten. All are important in the resolution of John and Si's relationship as father and son. Vivid scenes of WWII and Vietnam are mixed with a rare glimpse of Black Seattle in the 1940's. This is a unique and insightful view into African American veterans and their own special hell.