28.07.19 / Book Guild Publishing Ltd / Action-Thriller / Paperback / 352pp / 978-1912881505
About Appetite For Risk
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?
Guest Post: Descriptions & Realism by Jack Leavers
Appetite for Risk is a novel inspired by my experiences in the aftermath of the Iraq War. But it is a novel – fiction. I’ve inflicted plenty of my real-life decisions and resulting situations on the ex-bootneck protagonist, John Pierce, but the story is his and not mine. His struggles might bear many similarities to the struggles I faced, but I’ve thrown him some real curve balls to test his mettle in ways that never occurred back then.
One aspect of the book that has been receiving praise, and for which I feel great satisfaction, is the descriptions of Iraq, including its landscape, people, and culture. Most of the settings and a large proportion of the scenes have been recreated from memory, even if the events that unfold might include fictional elements to a greater or lesser extent.
One of the early pieces of advice I received from another author who reviewed an early draft was to enhance my descriptions. As he said, driving through a desert or into a war torn Iraqi city might be run of the mill for me, but most readers won’t have experienced it for themselves. I might picture the scene in all its glory or misery, beauty or ugliness, but the reader can only conjure the images that are presented by the words on the page.
For those of you that have read some or all of Appetite for Risk, you’ll already know I’m not a flowery prose kind of guy. My natural inclination is to be short and sweet with the descriptions and get to the point with the scene and drive the story on.
My intention with the book was to grab the reader by the hand and sit them in the plane seat, taxi, or meeting alongside John Pierce and experience as realistic a situation as I could write. The motivations, dangers, risks, rewards. The physical factors, the pressures, the fear, the guilt, the excitement. I threw my memory behind John and ratcheted up the stakes with plausible, fictional plot lines, some of which are based on snatches of experience from different times and/or places.
Family and friends have asked me where the non-fiction stops and the fiction starts. It’s not quite as easy as that. Most scenes have elements of both. Some scenes are lifted out of my memory with no need for amendment apart from name changes, but not many. My brother even asked me about a particular incident for which he only had a hazy recollection. Yeah, you guessed it – that was completely fictional, to his relief.
If you want to know what it was like to be careering around Iraq – north, south & central – in 2004 and 2005, I can only advise that you read the book. Many other great authors have written books about their military experiences at the time and the struggle of the Coalition to control the growing insurgency. I’ve been mainly outside of the Coalition infrastructure during all my years in Iraq and this is what the country looked like, and to an extent still looks like, from that other side.
Yours aye, Jack.
About Jack Leavers
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.
The current WIP is a follow up to Appetite for Risk that sees ex-bootneck John Pierce return to face a ruthless enemy in Africa.
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, so the follow up should be finished soon.