Baghdad Solitaire-Leslie Cockburn
in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, love and friendship are as uncertain as the shifting battle lines of the civil war. Lee McGuinness, a trauma surgeon on a humanitarian mission, is also on a personal quest: to find her companion-in-arms, Martin Carrigan, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Has he been kidnapped for ransom? Or is he a traitor to his country, running arms to the insurgents? In search of someone - and something - to believe in, Lee must navigate a wilderness of mirrors in which greed, lies, and brutality are found among allies and enemies alike.
This is a scorching, blistering thriller set against a painfully all-too-believable backdrop of utterly corrupt and mismanaged 'reconstruction' we all dreaded was happening in Iraq. Cockburn has such an eye for detail that really brings to mind how damaged everything was in a way that actually manages to be rather even-handed. It was hard to really note the fiction in the story as it as written in a narrative style that brings the situation alive. Her main poetic licence was Laela who may have been a bit of a heavy-handed symbol of the civilization bulldozed and killed through cancer (survived the bombs falling but it's the aftermath that Iraq will be dealing with forever since the half life is in millions of years) but she ended up breaking my heart anyway. This is not a book about character development, it is a book about a country devastated by war and profiteering.