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Description - The Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller

1991. Near Checkpoint Zulu, one hundred miles from the Kuwaiti border, Thomas Benton meets Arwood Hobbes. Benton is a British journalist who reports from war zones, in part to avoid his lacklustre marriage and a daughter he loves but cannot connect with; Hobbes is a Midwestern American private who might be an insufferable ignoramus, or might be a brilliant lunatic with a death wish - it's hard to tell. Operation 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 shot in the back and dies in Hobbes's arms. 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, the two men meet again. Benton and relief worker Morta Str m are persuaded by a much-changed Hobbes to embark on what may be a fool's errand in a last-chance effort to redeem themselves when the girl in green is found alive and in need of salvation. Or is she? Set against the war-torn landscape of a shattered Iraq, The Girl in Green is an adventure story told with all the wit, humanity, and insight of Miller's acclaimed debut.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781925106954
ISBN-10: 1925106950
Format: Paperback / softback
(234mm x 153mm x 29mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Scribe Publications
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Publish Date: 27-Jun-2016
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - The Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller

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Book Review: Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller - Reviewed by (12 Nov 2016)

The Girl in Green review The Girl in Green is the second novel by American novelist and international policy specialist, Derek B. Miller. It’s late March 1991, and United States Army Private Arwood Hobbes is at the northern edge of Checkpoint Zulu, “maintaining a vigilant perimeter” in Iraq’s newly-brokered peace, when a British journalist from the Times wanders up.

Thomas Benton is a seasoned war correspondent who’s after the story from a local perspective. With some encouragement from Arwood, he walks toward nearby Samawah, intent on interviews and ice cream. A surprise attack sees Hobbes and Benton trying to rescue a villager, “the girl in green”, but the situation somehow ends badly, leading to their removal from the area and an eventual “other-than-honourable” discharge for Hobbes.

Fast forward twenty-two years, when a lingering feeling of guilt and a YouTube clip see Hobbes and Benton once again trying to rescue “the girl in green”. Is it human design or divine intervention that sees the original players of the drama and its aftermath gathered together again? Their mission is surely insane and bound to fail!

As with Norwegian By Night, Miller gives the reader an original plot with plenty of action, a twist or two, and a thrilling climax. Generous doses of tension are relieved by the banter between the characters, which is often blackly funny. Miller’s characters are wholly believable and, for all their quirks and very human flaws, especially appealing.

Miller’s considerable personal experience in both conflict zones and policy making is apparent on every page and he raises several thought provoking topics, including the intricate coordination and extensive diplomatic skills required in hostage negotiations, the crazy Catch 22 in the Department of Veteran Affairs that exists for veterans needing psychological counselling, the failure of foreign organisations to become familiar with the language, politics and customs of the countries they are purporting to aid, and the fate of national staff of NGOs when their employers withdraw due to escalating hostilities.

Miller gives the reader a novel that is topical and highly relevant in today’s world. Fans of Norwegian By Night will not be disappointed with Miller’s latest literary foray and will be hoping for more from this talented author soon. The Girl in Green is exciting, insightful and entertaining: another brilliant read. 5 stars


Author Biography - Derek B. Miller

Derek B. Miller was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and has lived abroad for over fifteen years in Israel, England, Hungary, Switzerland, and Norway. His interest in fiction began a few years after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. Currently, Derek is the director of The Policy Lab and a senior fellow with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. He has a PhD in international relations from the University of Geneva, and an MA in national security studies from Georgetown University, in cooperation with St Catherine's College, University of Oxford. He lives in Oslo with his wife and children.

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