Between Ghosts, by Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 14, 2016
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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.
Death (On- and Off-screen)
I spent a long time trying to find the words to describe Garrett Leigh’s Between Ghosts. Saying that it hit me hard would be an understatement; Garrett is a master of words, and her ability to write hauntingly gorgeous characters leaves me in awe with every page I turn. Between Ghosts is many things– a romance, a political commentary, an action-drama– but at the heart of the book are ghosts: pasts that torment, missed opportunities that haunt, and lovers that linger in your soul.
“He’s still dead, and nothing I’ve seen here makes it any more meaningful.”
“Not much makes death meaningful.”
Connor is on a search to find meaning in a war that appears to have none, and to find reason behind the sudden and shocking death of his older brother three years before. The quest for the “why” drives the entire novel, and Connor is always questioning, always seeking answers. I loved his character; he’s so accepting of the things he can’t control, but he still wants to know the reason behind those uncontrollable actions.
But it was Nat and the men of Charlie-3 squadron that transformed this novel from a political commentary into a human one. Garrett gives every man a personality, a place in the story, and Connor ties them all together. Nat is a man surrounded by ghosts, and the glimpses of him caught through Connor’s eyes are of a man desperately clinging on to the things that make the fight worthwhile.
On a personal note, as an American it was fascinating to read a novel about the invasion of Iraq from the point of view of the British soldiers. Garrett does a brilliant job of incorporating military slang and jargon into the dialogue, so I rarely felt confused.
This book was incredible. The love story was slow and winding, gorgeous and emotional. The plot is riveting, the characters organic and relatable. It’s a novel set in a war zone, so it’s often brutal and unflinching, but it’s a novel that will hook itself into your mind and refuse to let go.
Garrett Leigh is a fantastic author, and her novel Misfits is easily one of my top-10 of all time (M/M/M, Riptide Publishing)… although it’s now joined by Between Ghosts! She’s also written the Roads series, and Heart, both of which are gorgeous. Like her profile says, “[h]er protagonists will always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed.”
(PS, she also designs some really incredible book covers!)
Buy Between Ghosts from the Publisher and get it two days early!
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.