Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Between Ghosts
AUTHOR: Garrett Leigh
NARRATOR: Craig Beck
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 6hr 2min
RELEASE DATE: December 7, 2016
In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.
Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.
Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.
But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.
Connor Regan lost his brother in Iraq, and he has never understood why, or even how. In an effort to come to grips with what he lost, and perhaps learn even the smallest details about the last few days of his older brother’s life, Conner gets himself assigned to follow an elite group of British SAS soldiers in Iraq and write about his experiences for his paper. The government wants a puff piece to help soften their image after a recent embarrassing news story, his paper wants a good story, Conner wants the truth, and the soldiers themselves just want to be left the hell alone in their own little hell-hole. Especially Sergeant Nathan Thompson.
Nat, still dealing with the loss of his best friend, and the constant strain of his Iraqi deployment, just wants to keep his mates safe. Having a journalist trailing along behind them is bound to make that task three times as hard. And it is…but maybe not for the reasons that Nat thought it’d be. Because soon Nat comes to see a man who he might just care a bit too much about–and the last time he let anyone that close to him they ended up spilling their blood all over the Iraqi dirt.
I hadn’t quite got around to reading this book when it came out (I am, much to my shame, terrible at reading many of Garrett Leigh‘s books in a timely manner, despite the fact that I generally love them after I do) so for once I was able to start this audio book with no knowledge or expectations of what was to come. It was a bit of a novel (hehe) experience, since I tend to gravitate towards audio books where I know that I’m going love them since they typically take a lot of time for me to get through. But my current job (and commute) leaves me with a lot of time for audio books, so I thought I’d give this one a shot when I saw it come up for review.
For the story part of the audio book, I was really in love. I like how the two characters were written, how I could just feel Nat’s apathy (to anything that wasn’t his fellow soldiers) and Connor’s sense of loss from nearly the first page. The whole military aspect also was incredibly well written. I don’t have first hand experience with combat, but I could so easily buy this portrayal of it. It was gritty and not at all the glamorized version that we are sold in some books and movies. When we were in Iraq, I totally felt like I was there. I love when authors can bring foreign locals to life like that. I also think Garrett Leigh did an awesome job of capturing the day to day life of military folk. I have no clue as to the accuracy, but the way the various characters and their reactions to both the action and the boredom, rung true for me.
For the most part the audio of this was very good as well. Craig Beck did a great job of creating a definite distinction between all of the characters. He also has a great accent, and it was a pleasure to listen to him read this book to me. I will say though that the characters did sound a bit older than I presumed them to be. It was a little weird at first, when getting to know Connor and Nat–who are presumably not much older than 30–sounding like a distinguish older man. After a while it kinda filtered out, but at first I will admit that it threw me.
The climax of this book was also a bit confusing at times…but too be honest I’m not sure that isn’t down to my inattention since I was listening to it while working on the computer and I just might not have had the needed focus for those scenes. It still was gripping, though, so I am not too put out.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and the audio narration.