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Bob Calverley

Purple Sunshine

Jimmy’s a door gunner with a taste for drugs and a talent for combat. He just wants to survive his year in ‘Nam. From a longhaired killer guitar player in a psychedelic band, he’s turned into a real killer in the gun platoon. It’s bad enough when his friends die but back in the World, Gloria, his troubled musical savant girlfriend is in more danger. She can be Sunshine singing for her supper and dazzling music professors or the crowd at an antiwar rally with ease. But she doesn’t like what she’s learning about herself, and the secrets she and Jimmy know could kill them both. Worse, the media thinks Jimmy and the U.S. Army massacred unarmed civilians. A trail of murders stretches from Detroit to Vietnam Beginning with the 1967 Detroit riot and moving to a heart-pounding conclusion during the 1968 Tet Offensive, Purple Sunshine explodes across the world with fast-paced action and unexpected twists.

Purple Sunshine: Sex & Drugs, Rock & Roll, Peace & Love is a work of fiction but seems to be informed by the author’s familiarity with the sixties music scene and the sixties Vietnam War scene.
When Private Jimmy Hayes, a talented guitarist and a band leader back home, gets off the Boeing 707 in Vietnam he comments on the heat and humidity, and “then the smell hit.”
Our hero has left behind his pregnant fifteen-year old girlfriend, Gloria, known as Sunshine. She is being pursued by the Mafia, her wicked stepfather who abused her, and by the police who connect her to a murder she did not commit.
The book presents Jimmy’s wartime experiences and Sunshine’s adventures at home in alternate chapters. Calverley gets high marks for being a gifted storyteller. The home-front chapters are every bit as interesting and exciting as the war chapters are, and there is plenty of violence in both. There are believable villains in both places, too, and a novel like this benefits from having bad guys.
If you are in the mood to read a novel of the late sixties that gives equal time to the home front and to the Vietnam War—and has a lot of violence and even some sex—this might be the book for you. It is well-written and well edited and moves right along. —Vietnam Veterans of America, Books in Review

About the Author

Bob Calverley has worked as a newspaper reporter, writer, editor and public relations consultant. He was born in Canada and moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula when he was 16. He attended Michigan Technological University, Soo Branch (now Lake Superior State University) and graduated with a BA in Journalism from Michigan State University.

Calverley was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967 and served a year with the 187th Assault Helicopter Company in Tay Ninh, Vietnam.

During the 1970’s, Calverley worked as a newspaper reporter, first at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and then at the Detroit Free Press where he was the recipient of several awards. His journalism career included stints as a medical writer, general assignment reporting, coverage of local governments and police reporting. He also reviewed books and records.
Since leaving newspapers, he has worked in public relations and communications, mostly for nonprofit organizations including the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, the Los Angeles County Medical Association and the University of Southern California. After retiring, he has continued to work as a consultant and served six years on the Board of Directors of the nonprofit 187th Assault Helicopter Company Association.

A hockey player in his youth, he ran track and cross country in high school and college and took up masters swimming when his knees gave out. Calverley lives in Southern California with his wife, youngest daughter and Lab mix squirrel predator.