A former Idaho Falls city councilman is coming out with an action/thriller novel partially inspired by his experiences during the Vietnam War.
Ed Marohn has extensive writing experience, and his short stories and nonfiction writings have appeared in Idaho Magazine, Selling Power, Army Magazine and the mystery magazine Hardboiled. He also used to write a column for the Post Register. However his new book, “Legacy of War,” is his first full-length novel. It is available for pre-order, both as a printed book and an e-book, with many major online booksellers such as Amazon, Google Play, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and others, and copies will be available July 1.
“It’s kind of my labor of love,” said Marohn, who has been working on the novel on and off for the past decade.
Marohn, a retired U.S. Army captain, served in the Vietnam War in the 25th Infantry and 101st Airborne divisions, winning numerous commendations. After leaving the military, Marohn spent his career as an executive with Michelin Tire Corporation and with the automotive manufacturing company Corporate AG. He retired in 2008.
“The idea of the book really came up after I left the corporate world,” he said.
Marohn moved to Idaho Falls, his wife Cathie’s hometown, after retiring. In 2009, he took a trip to Vietnam, the first time he had visited the country since the war.
“That was kind of really where the seeds were planted for a novel,” he said.
Marohn has been busy since retiring. He has a master’s degree in counseling, and he volunteered for eight years with the Veterans Administration, working with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“That gave me exposure to what problems people do have with PTSD, and now I can relate that in the book to the main character,” he said.
Marohn was approached by some veterans’ groups when he moved to Idaho Falls who said they could use the volunteer help. Idaho Falls has a small VA clinic, but local veterans must travel to Salt Lake City for more major medical or mental health care.
Marohn was a group therapy facilitator. He said there are five variables to look for as signs of PTSD — drug or alcohol abuse; difficulty with personal relationships; depression; despair; and physical conditions such as high blood pressure that can be influenced by a person’s mental state.
“I would instruct them on how to focus on things that they’ve experienced, to talk through it, to share with the other PTSD (patients) … There’s a commonality there, so there’s empathy going on,” Marohn said. “And they would keep journals about their dreams or thoughts throughout the week prior to the next group session. The group helps each other. They all recognize they have a common bond and they’re willing to talk more openly, and that helps get it out.”
Marohn spent four years on the Idaho Falls City Council. He also has served as a board member and vice chairman of the Idaho Humanities Council, and an Idaho Falls City Club board member.
Parts of “Legacy of War” are informed by Marohn’s own experiences. The main character, John Moore, is a Vietnam veteran who became a psychologist when he came home. Moore returns to Vietnam to help capture a rogue CIA agent and a corrupt Vietnamese officer who committed war crimes, setting up a series of events.
“A new patient triggers psychologist John Moore’s traumatic memories of his last days of the Vietnam War,” the blurb on the back of the book reads. “Moore is forced to return to modern-day Vietnam, a journey confronting his past war demons: the dying on the killing fields, a rogue CIA agent, corrupt South Vietnamese Army officers, the father he never knew, and the war’s perverted killing machine — the Phoenix Program. In the decaying jungles, he fights his anguish compounded by his wife’s death and his growing attraction to a national police agent.”
Marohn is working on a sequel to the novel now. He plans to hold a book signing at the Barnes and Noble at the Grand Teton Mall from 10:30 a.m. to about 2 or 3 p.m. on July 13. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase at Barnes and Noble once it comes out.