By Richard G. Opper
Reviewed by Pennell Paugh
December 4, 2022 (San Diego) -- The Body in the Barrel is a compelling crime novel set in 1973 in San Diego.
The book opens on October 15, 1973: “I shifted the Smith & Wesson Model 10 to a more comfortable place on my hip, which was feeling tender this morning. The bay had a smell of rotting plants, and together with the smell of the diesel it triggered thoughts about the Mekong—which was not so long ago, even if it was half a world away. It was the reason my hip ached, but that life was over. I was back home in San Diego, and glad for it. Whatever I’d thought I was going to accomplish in the Navy’s swift boats turned out to be a bad dream. A nightmare. So, the fact that I ended up in the Harbor Police is a whole lot better—but still a whole lot of not much. I was out of the shit storm and into a more peaceful life, but for crying out loud, at twenty-eight here I was with nothing really going on, already going nowhere. But who cared? Other than my dad, I guess, and that only went so far.”