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We’ve just learned from Richter Watkins’s wife that he has recently passed away. We are deeply saddened to lose one of our original members. A Vietnam veteran, Richter was the author of a number of acclaimed books, including Body Count, published last year. Richter contributed to ITW with both his time and efforts — and we send our deepest condolences to his family.

Body Count: A Vietnam War Thriller

In the midst of a deteriorating war in 1967, a senior CIA operative seeking to rearm the Mekong Delta’s anti-communist Buddhists in the hopes of transforming a failing military strategy is killed under mysterious circumstances.

This changes everything for Navy Commander Michael Teague, who was about to work with the Buddhists who’d been disarmed over a decade ago by Saigon.

Within hours of the death of the CIA operative, Teague is recruited to lead the clandestine mission, code named The Third Force, knowing the secret operation to rearm the Buddhists is opposed by Saigon and MACV, the US Military Assistance Command in Vietnam. Taking the assignment could cost Teague his career and might well trigger a major war-within-the-war in the jungles of the Mekong Delta.

With the support of a charismatic young female Buddhist leader, Thi Xam, the operation grows and spreads. Its success triggers an explosive conflict between the CIA-backed Buddhists and Saigon’s Special Forces, who are supported by the American military command led by Colonel Stennride, As the stakes rise, so does the body count.


Find Richter Watkins’s complete works on his website.

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