“With Saddam Hussein deposed and an entire country in need of rebuilding, former Royal Marine John Pierce hears the siren call of adventure and opportunity. His fledgling UK business is struggling to support his young family and he has connections in the Iraqi capital – fate seems to point one way.
In early 2004, Pierce rolls the dice when he jumps into a taxi in Jordan and heads for the turmoil of postwar Baghdad to grab a share of the reconstruction gold rush. But when Iraq spirals into the hell of a full-blown insurgency, he must rely on his wits and his local friends if he’s to evade the rampant bloodshed.
As the action rolls across the blood-stained Iraqi landscape and embraces London’s seedy underbelly, Pierce tangles with the authorities at home and finds himself thrust into the heart of British and American covert operations against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Having set out with little more than ambitious goals and an appetite for risk, can a determined ex-bootneck survive the mounting chaos unscathed and succeed in hitting the jackpot?”
It’s me! I’m back! Did you miss me? I know Emma was here wasn’t she…talking about murders, detectives, thrillers and horror characters and the ever-growing TBR (honestly it’s huge). Well, she has a well-deserved break today, sitting with her feet up, Kindle on and waiting for the right time to open the wine [DP: What?! Seeing as this review will go live at 7am on a Sunday it’s a little early for that!]! whilst I tell you about something a little bit different! Appetite For Risk is Jack’s Leavers debut novel, and it is clear this is an author with tales to tell. Leavers’ novel takes us around Iraq with his main character, John Pierce, an ex-marine turned security consultant who puts in himself in dangerous situations to make money to support his family. There is a strong air of realism for many of the characters in this book, as though they are closely based on friends of Jack Leavers, the atmosphere and locations he describes also feel so realistic that you are let with a sense of visiting somewhere you have never been.
John Pierce is a great main character. He is not an all-action hero defeating Al Qaeda with little more than a penknife. He is a normal ex-soldier (if there is such a thing!) with an eye to the future and working hard to create his own business. There was something endearing about the way John Pierce recognises his weaknesses and failures but cannot always convert them to successes – a realism that is lost in too many books of this genre.
The storytelling is also done well. Jack Leavers gradually lets characters develop in the book allowing you to decide who John can trust and who has more sinister plans. There were two or three characters I expected to re-appear in the book after certain scenes, but come the end I realised that I had fallen for some clever red herrings. The end was a surprise for me and I don’t want to provide spoilers but I can say it took me a couple of days to come to terms with it and decide it was clever and probably one of the most realistic endings I had read in a long time.
Would I read a second Jack Leavers book? I would! I am sure John Pierce has more adventures in him and my suspicion is that Jack himself has more tales he would like to share! This is a well-told story about one man in a dangerous situation, told by someone you would probably want with you if you were there too!
I read an eARC of Appetite for Risk. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Appetite For Risk by Jack Leavers was published in the UK by the Book Guild on 28th July 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |
Jack Leavers is a former Royal Marines Commando with over thirty-years’ experience in the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy, and risk management. His varied career has included numerous deployments to conflict zones around the world such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, trouble spots in Africa, and the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.
He continues to work in challenging environments and has now begun to pen novels inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.
When knuckling down to write, he’s normally based in London, UK.