Guest Review: 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.

Guest Reviewer:  Sheziss

I love Garrett Leigh and I liked the book. But I wasn’t feeling this.

I read it with pleasure because I love her style and her writing, her characters are interesting and more than they seem at first sight. She’s engaging and that’s why I kept reading. But the love story lacked passion, IMO.

Connor is a journalist, or a hack, as people keep calling him. His brother James died during service three years ago and he still has questions. He knows little to nothing about how James died, but what eats away at him is whether he had been supportive enough, whether his brother knew that Connor loved him and worried about him. Because he’s been fearing he didn’t pay enough attention to James as he should have. He applies to a time with some SAS soldiers in Middle East. To see how he lived, what he thought about, and why he did all he did.

Nat is a SAS soldier and a veteran one. He has seen too many people die, too many mates die. He claims he doesn’t feel anything, that he doesn’t care about what happens around him. But Connor notices it’s all a fa├žade, and soon he’s head over heels for him, wondering what he is thinking, what he is doing, worrying about his well-being and obsessing over him and his sex-appeal.

At this point I feared it would be the typical don’t-stick-your-nose-in-our-business relationship. Because if you get a secretive soldier and a journalists who inquire about everything he’s doing and how and why and when, the normal result would be exasperation from both sides. That happened for a short while, but Nat soon discovers that Connor is in fact a nice person, and he develops a fondness that turns into friendship, and from the chemistry there is only one step to form a deeper and more significative bond.

But are they ready for that?

My problem here is that I didn’t feel any chemistry, not sexual nor any other kind. There was not any thought about “wow, this could completely work, I wanna see it happening” in me. I must say their friendship is believable, but I just couldn’t understand what they saw in each other romantically speaking. The first half of the book I was reading it all with a little sense of resignation. I was the whole way comparing it to Slide and Rare, my favorite books of this author's, and that’s not fair. They are completely different stories but I still resented I couldn’t perceive any spark from Nat and Connor.

Don’t get me wrong, the plot is solid and very well-built. I was very invested in getting to know their day-to-day routine and the conflicts they have to solve during their stay in Iraq and the hunt on one of the most wanted terrorists in the country. It’s a perspective I don’t get to see often in the books I read, and I have no background to say whether it reflects a reality or not, but it rang true to me, and that’s enough for me to get fully into a story.

Somewhere along the way I could connect with the characters, but it was very deep into the story when I felt a real feeling between them. It was quiet and I almost didn’t realize something was different in the air. It just came and I felt ansty about their love to last forever. The end is beautiful and gives a decent closure. But I must add that I could see it coming, that about James, Connor’s brother, and Pogo, Nat’s best friend, being the same person. Not a big surprise and I was a little disappointed because the author could have known this and decided to be less obvious, but she didn’t. In spite of it all, it was a good book, and it was worthy of my time.

***Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

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