Friday, January 27, 2017

Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

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.

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Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is an incredibly moving story. A journalist embedded with an SAS team, Connor is looking for answers and determined to tell the truth about the experience of soldiers in Iraq. His powerful experience brings more questions than answers as he becomes part of the tightly knit elite unit.

Garrett Leigh’s gritty story of modern warfare is frighteningly convincing. She makes Iraq come to life and her soldiers are larger than life. Connor is thrust into a conflict without a frontline where enemies are hidden, the threat is constant, and essential equipment is scarce. Long stretches of tedium are offset by moments of pure terror. The relationships between the soldiers are intense and fierce, and death is also a constant reality.

The men in this story, Connor and Nat, are complicated characters. Nat is torn between resenting Connor’s presence and the threat he presents to the team, and welcoming his company and enjoying his friendship. As a civilian journalist, Connor struggles with Nat’s actions and decisions as his experience in Iraq challenges his personal moral code.

The chemistry between these two is hot but this is more of a war story than it is a romance. Garrett Leigh’s trademark angst is here, but it materialises as a futile struggle for truth and absolutes. The friendships in this story are as powerful as the central romance (which isn’t always central).

This is a beautifully crafted and very difficult war story. It was a powerful read. Written in 2016 but set in 2006, it is still chillingly relevant, especially with the publication of the Chilcot report in 2016. This is a slightly different story from Garrett Leigh, but as always, her characters are wonderful and it is carefully and thoughtfully written.

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit

Connect with Garrett

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Sarah reviewed her personal copy of Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh for this post.

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