The Last Klick

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

THE LAST KLICK is set in the late 1960’s and portrays the actions of Sherrill O’Connor, a college professor who decides that Vietnam is where he will find the book he has been trying to write. Taking a one-year leave of absence, he travels to Vietnam as a freelance correspondent for REAL magazine.

O’Connor goes into the field looking for a story. Once there, the unit he is with is attacked, and he reacts, more out of fear and rage than conscious thought, and his actions are captured on film. He becomes a hero.

At that point, O’Connor ceases to be a reporter and becomes the news. Other correspondents follow and manipulate him into situations where he must react, hoping to capture it for the story of the day.

There is no concern for the impact of their stories on the lives involved, just on getting the best story.

In THE LAST KLICK, Flynn has given us a look into the morass of Vietnam from the viewfinders of the people reporting the war. The story is often disjointed, because their pursuits are disjointed. Truth is irrelevant, lives do not matter, and if it is not on film, it does not exist.

THE LAST KLICK is a very dark, cynical book, yet the darkness is very enlightening. Reading it would help anyone understand how “managed news” came to be.