The Girl in Green Review
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In this social media-driven world, our news comes and goes in a flood of headlines and trending topics and viral videos. But in Derek B. Miller’s captivating novel The Girl in Green, one shocking video begins a difficult journey into the depths of Middle Eastern conflict.

The story goes on a mysterious mission with two men who are still haunted by their past. In 1991, following Operation Desert Storm, American soldier Arwood Hobbes and British journalist Thomas Benton find themselves caught up in a deadly attack. Both try to save a young girl in a green dress, only to see her killed in front of them. Twenty-two years later, when footage of another attack involving another girl in a green dress—one who looks shockingly similar to the first—goes viral, the two return to the desert in search of one girl who reminds them of one they couldn’t save decades earlier.

Most of us are bombarded by sound bites and video clips every day. We pick and choose which ones get our attention. Maybe we share them on Facebook—maybe post a comment—before moving on to the next thing. The Girl in Green goes deeper, exploring the politics, the shaky alliances, and the horrifying realities of not just wartime but so-called peaceful times, too. It’s an eye-opening read that shows how things really aren’t much different now than they were decades (and even centuries) ago—yet they’re not really as they seem in the sound bites, either.

The novel starts out as a fascinating—and often devastating— depiction of the complexities of war and peace. Both Thomas and Arwood were deeply scarred by the events after Desert Storm. Thomas’s disobedience to orders left him in the middle of an attack, while Arwood’s attempt to save a young girl resulted in a damning other-than-honorable discharge. Both have distanced themselves in their own way, only to find themselves back two decades later, joined by the same cast of characters.

The characters here aren’t fully developed, yet they help to set the story—to offer an overview of the kinds of people who have come together in the Middle East for various reasons. They certainly have their issues and their quirks—as one might expect from people who willingly return to such a difficult place to witness such horrifying events. And when the two men set out on their mission, they end up in a tense and harrowing situation that requires a complicated web of organizations and alliances and favors to get them back out again.

Part historical fiction, part war thriller, The Girl in Green is haunting and tragic yet entirely readable, too. Its perspective on the situation in the Middle East will break your heart. The intricacies of the situation will make your head spin. And the action and suspense will keep you turning pages.

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