Title: Between Ghosts
Author: Garrett Leigh
Narrator: Craig Beck
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Run Time: 6 hours and 2 minutes
At a Glance: I really struggled with the pacing of this story and found myself losing interest halfway through, but I did enjoy the end.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: 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.
Review: Connor Regan is a journalist embedded with an SAS unit in Iraq. While he’s been very much against the war in the Middle East, his brother was a soldier who was killed and he’s not been able to close that chapter in his life. He very much does not want to think that his brother died seeing him as a writer of empty fluff. If he can perhaps gain an understanding of James’s life and world, maybe he can make some peace and move on.
Connor’s assigned to a unit led by Nat Thompson. While he’s immediately attracted to Nat, he realizes this is neither the time nor the place for such, and he really needs to keep his head in the game. Nat makes no secret of the fact that it’s a pain in the ass to have a journo along, but he still wants to make sure that Connor is safe and that he does his job within the confines of the rules.
As this is war, it’s not exactly all fun and games. It’s a dangerous time in a dangerous place with lots of waiting and fear in between. Connor has some language skill that comes in useful, but Nat takes his job of protecting his men very seriously, and that includes Connor. He also is not exactly straight, and he does make a move on Connor which does not go unanswered. Their relationship is a little bit dangerous and clandestine, but also urgent and real.
There are plenty of crappy things that happen, as tends to be the case in war, with battles and loss of life and questions of “what are we really doing here?” that make the days that much more poignant. When Connor and Nat have a major confrontation, things are set in motion that end up having lasting and devastating effects on many people. Nat and Connor have to depend on each other in a way they never thought they would need to, and, in the end, that is enough.
Man, I struggled with this one. I’m a huge fan of this author, but for me, the story dragged quite a bit at times, and I’m not sure if that was just my mood or if there was some other issue. The narrator was fine, his voice characterization was very good, and I enjoyed his choice of accents. I just kept waiting, I guess, for something to happen. It felt like it took a long time to get to it, and I kept losing interest. I get that people thrown together in war would definitely have intense relationships quickly, but I’m not sure I believed this was an “only man he ever loved” scenario. I enjoyed the epilogue, but, somehow, I just didn’t connect very well with these characters. As usual, YMMV.
You can buy Between Ghosts here: