Miller, Derek B. The Girl in Green
Booklist Reviews 2016 November #1
*Starred Review* Arwood Hobbes, a 22-year-old American infantryman, and Thomas Benton, a middle-aged British journalist, formed an odd bond immediately after Iraqi forces had been expelled from Kuwait in 1991. Their attempt to save a teenage Muslim girl in a green dress from a murderous attack by Saddam Hussein's troops fails, and they witness her murder by a smiling Iraqi colonel. The event formed their bond, and their failure robbed them both of some part of themselves. Fast-forward 22 years. Benton, now 63, facing divorce and surveying the end of his career, receives a phone call from Arwood, who demands that he come to Syria immediately. Arwood has seen the Girl in Green in a YouTube video; she's alive, and they have a shot at redemption. Arwood and Benton are improbable knights-errant. Benton is nearly a senior citizen, and the now–middle aged Arwood, while a successful arms merchant, still salts his speech with dated references to Klingons, Buckaroo Banzai, and Loggins and Messina songs. And yet the two make thoroughly beguiling action-adventure heroes, and Miller's knowledge of the chaotic and vicious Syrian civil war and the dogged efforts of NGO workers to care for the war's refugees set the scene brilliantly. The Girl in Green is a worthy follow-up to Miller's fine debut, Norwegian by Night (2013), which also stars an aging vet forced to reinvent himself. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2016 August #1
Miller's Norwegian by Night won a Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Dagger Award, plus multiple best book honors that includes Kirkus's Ten Best Crime Novels of 2013. But don't peg this new novel as a thriller; it deftly limns the consequences of war. When violence erupts in 1991 Iraq despite the recent peace treaty, British journalist Thomas Benton and possibly crazy American private Arwood Hobbes fail to save the life of a local girl dressed in green and disappear into their own lives, not meeting again for 22 years. Another war is on—and the girl in green seems very much alive. With a 30,000-copy first printing.[Page 61]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2016 December #1
In 1991 Iraq in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, British journalist Thomas Benton encounters Arwood Hobbes, a young American infantryman. Helpless to intervene, they witness an Iraqi colonel murder a girl in a green dress. Twenty-two years later a video gone viral shows a girl in a green dress possibly surviving a mortar attack in Iraq. This reunites the two men in a search for the girl and some sort of redemption. Benton, now 62, is weary of his life and marriage; Arwood, 44, is now an arms dealer with global contacts. Seeking information through relief organizations, refugees, and rebels, they pursue this elusive girl through treacherous territory. As in his first novel, Norwegian by Night, Miller portrays an attempt to save one person as atonement for not having saved another. His decades of experience in international relations support this sympathetic portrayal of clashing cultures, but it is the vividly drawn, often quirky characters and timely plot that fascinate. Arwood, like Joseph Heller's Yossarian in Catch-22, abhors authority; Benton learns to love again in the midst of appalling inhumanity. VERDICT Not to be missed, this is a compelling combination of literate storytelling and action-packed thriller laced with humor. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/16; library promotion.]—Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2016 November #2
Miller's second novel (after Norwegian by Night) is a polished and powerful commentary on the effects of war on two men—an ambitious British journalist and a clueless American soldier who meet briefly in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Private Arwood Hobbes and Brit reporter Thomas Benton witness the slaughter of Shiite civilians by the Iraqi army and cannot prevent the cold-blooded murder of a young girl in a green dress. The experience haunts both men for years, but 22 years later, in 2013, shocking news footage of an insurgent attack in Iraq reunites the two men in a desperate and risky gambit to save a girl in a green dress shown in the video. Middle-aged Hobbes is energized to right an old wrong, and old, slow Benton is reluctant to get involved. Amid the dangerous Syrian, Iraqi, and Kurdish refugee crisis in northern Iraq, Hobbes and Benton team up with a U.N. refugee officer, but the men are captured by ISIL terrorists, beginning a deadly cat and mouse game of torture, intimidation, and negotiation. Benton doesn't understand Hobbes's obsession with the girl in the video or the unique skills he's gained since 1991. This is an excellent depiction of the complicated Iraq-Syria situation, especially the desperate plight of refugees and the West's failure to provide peace or relief. Miller caps his stellar, electrifying story with a knockout ending. (Jan) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.