“Summer 2008 sees former Royal Marine John Pierce lured from running convoys in Iraq to a lucrative contract in the steamy jungles of French West Africa. He soon discovers this new theatre is even more dangerous than the war zone he left behind. Corrupt officials, drug cartels, and competing military factions rub shoulder-to-shoulder in a melting pot of greed and intrigue… And a sadistic foe lurks in the shadows.
When old intelligence contacts take an interest, the situation gets complicated fast. Dark forces emerge and events spiral out of control. Pitched into a desperate race against time, can Pierce’s makeshift team of soldiers and civilians fight fire with fire and outwit vicious enemies?
One thing’s for sure, Pierce won’t leave anyone to the mercy of a brutal adversary he knows only too well no matter what it takes.”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am handing the blog over to my guest reviewer, Ryan, who is going to share his thoughts on Don’t Play Dead with Vultures by Jack Leavers. Don’t Play Dead with Vultures was published by The Book Guild on 28th April 2022 and is available in paperback and digital formats. Ryan chose to read and review a free ARC of Don’t Play Dead with Vultures but that has in no way influenced his review. Grateful thanks to the author for sending Ryan a finished copy.
John Pierce is back and I’m beginning to think that Jack Leavers likes to make him suffer! Appetite For Risk – the debut from Jack Leavers – saw Pierce in difficult circumstances across Iraq, and Don’t Play Dead with Vultures, set a few years later, sees John move on from Iraq to help scope potential new business ventures in Guinea. But luck, fate and the occasional rash decision see John making enemies of powerful foes.
Jack Leavers is a master of this style of thriller. You aren’t many pages into the story before you can feel his experience and knowledge of military and corporate private security flowing from the pages. I enjoyed the last book but in this book Jack’s characters have developed even further. We get to see the character’s motives and their mixture of guilt and pleasure as they put themselves through treacherous circumstances. Putting themselves at risk and worrying their families with their recklessness, whilst loving the buzz. John’s relationship with his team is wonderful in Don’t Play Dead with Vultures. Whether it is the relaxed military banter flowing between his long term colleagues like Ryan and Hutch, or the trust building with the new team in Guinea. Leading teams in this environment means it is inevitable that people will get put in the line of fire and hurt, and Leavers does a great job of showing Pierce wrestle with the balance of protecting his people whilst trying to get the job done.
One particular aspect of Jack’s writing I love is the use of radio dialogue to build the situation. Heard exclusively from Pierce’s perspective the radio chatter builds the picture of what is happening across the team as they engage with the enemy. The radio messages work brilliantly to build the tension for the reader, allowing them to develop their knowledge of the situation alongside Pierce and see him respond (which often means throwing himself, or the team, into even greater peril!).
Leavers builds the environment for the story incredibly well, whether it is the heat and dust of Iraq or the hot and humid forests of Guinea. Jack has clearly operated in all of the environments he describes and even after you’ve put your copy of the book down, you will still be checking for those darned Mozzies!
Would I recommend this book? If you are a fan of military and spy thrillers with a realistic edge then Jack Leavers is a must read author for you. Great characters involved in exciting adventures and dangerous situations. A five star read!
Don’t Play Dead with Vultures by Jack Leavers was published in the UK by The Book Guild on 28th April 2022 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |
Jack Leavers is a former Royal Marine with over thirty-years’ experience spread across 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.
Jack 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.
Jack is normally based in London, UK, but finds he’s at his most productive writing-wise when deployed overseas. Trips to Iraq and Africa beckon and a third book is in the works.