“A modern masterpiece.” — BookPage
Finalist for the CWA Gold Dagger Award, “Best Crime Novel of the Year”
“As daring in execution as imagination, this adventure tale crackles with heart, charm and dark honesty.” — Shelf Awareness
“Not to be missed, this is a compelling combination of literate storytelling and action-packed thriller laced with humor.” — Library Journal, starred review
1991. One hundred miles from the Kuwaiti border, Thomas Benton meets Arwood Hobbes. Benton is a British journalist who is starting an ambitious career reporting from war zones, resulting in the estrangement of his wife and daughter; Arwood is a naive small-town American private bored out of his skull waiting for something—anything—to happen. Desert Storm is over, peace has been declared, but as they argue about whether it makes sense to cross the nearest border in search of an ice cream, they become embroiled in a horrific attack in which a young local girl in a green dress is killed as they are trying to protect her. The two men walk away into their respective lives. But something has cracked for them both.
Twenty-two years later, in another place, in another war, they meet again as changed men. Time, politics, or maybe fate is now offering an unlikely opportunity to redeem themselves when that same girl in green is found alive and in need of salvation. Or is she?
“Written with Miller’s incisive wit, intelligence, compassion and authenticity, this is a novel from a writer fast becoming a master of his craft.” — Evening Post (UK)
“Swift, gripping, and mined with surprises.” — David Shafer, author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Miller's second novel (after Norwegian by Night) is a polished and powerful commentary on the effects of war on two men an ambitious British journalist and a clueless American soldier who meet briefly in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Private Arwood Hobbes and Brit reporter Thomas Benton witness the slaughter of Shiite civilians by the Iraqi army and cannot prevent the cold-blooded murder of a young girl in a green dress. The experience haunts both men for years, but 22 years later, in 2013, shocking news footage of an insurgent attack in Iraq reunites the two men in a desperate and risky gambit to save a girl in a green dress shown in the video. Middle-aged Hobbes is energized to right an old wrong, and old, slow Benton is reluctant to get involved. Amid the dangerous Syrian, Iraqi, and Kurdish refugee crisis in northern Iraq, Hobbes and Benton team up with a U.N. refugee officer, but the men are captured by ISIL terrorists, beginning a deadly cat and mouse game of torture, intimidation, and negotiation. Benton doesn't understand Hobbes's obsession with the girl in the video or the unique skills he's gained since 1991. This is an excellent depiction of the complicated Iraq-Syria situation, especially the desperate plight of refugees and the West's failure to provide peace or relief. Miller caps his stellar, electrifying story with a knockout ending.