thriller

Appetite for Risk by Jack Leavers @damppebbles @jackleavers

Appetite for Risk

Author:  Jack Leavers

Publication Date:  July 28th 2019

Genre:  Thriller

Publisher:  Book Guild

Pages:  346

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Book Depository| Waterstones| Wordery


A fast-paced action thriller inspired by real events in the aftermath of the Iraq War.

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?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Jack Leavers has produced a fast action thriller with scary realism interweaved into a tale of mistrust, fear and bravery.  Although the events are inspired by his time in Iraq it is all quite believable and has a reportage feel to it.  His description of rolling the dice is extremely accurate especially in war torn Iraq.  Pierce faces multiple issues along the way from dubious Arabian princes, always looking behind your back and being wary of the ever-present issue of insurgents.  Can Jack carve out his desire to capitalise on the opportunity that the situation in Iraq has provided him. 

Jack is a character that is torn over the responsibility of needing to provide for his family, his business responsibilities and his siren call to get back out in the middle east to hopefully win big for those he cares about.  He comes across as a man with immovable morals, his bravery seems to know no bounds – to the point he comes across as stupid due to some of his decisions.  He really does appear to be a man that has been shaped by the outcome and tragedy of war.  Some of his mannerisms point to a possible diagnosis of PTSD, which is understandable due to his previous history while serving his country. 

During the Iraq insurgency it takes Jack to look within himself and pull all his skills as a solider to survive the potential onslaught.  The novel spans two different landscapes – London’s underbelly and Iraq’s war infested streets.  This gave it great cultural significance of the time. 

The world building was amazing.  Jack inexorably immersed the reader into the world of pierce.  The descriptions were perfect and dipped in realism, so we could imagine being there with him.  The terror this book also brought was frightening.  It was so frightening because although you knew this was a work of fiction, you know that this is happening day in and day out in the middle east. 

Jack has a real talent for bringing the spoils of war and the political powers at play to the front and centre and expect this book to be well received from readers that enjoy hard hitting, fast paced thrillers. 

4 thoughts on “Appetite for Risk by Jack Leavers @damppebbles @jackleavers

  1. Thank you Yvonne for a great review. It’s satisfying to hear that the descriptions hit the sweet spot for you. Getting that balance right so a reader can see the places I remember is tricky. Now, about those brave but stupid decisions. I think I know one in particular you mean that occurred on the airport road, although you can’t blame the main character for that one – it happened just like that for real. Less bravery and more desperation, though. Maybe you nailed it first time with stupid! Thanks again, Jack.

    Liked by 1 person

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