Author: Amber Green
Genre: LGBT Multicultural
Publisher: Loose Id
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: (Loose Id) In Afghanistan, all the easy answers are wrong and the best-laid plans don’t stand a chance. A tight-knit band of USMC scout-snipers, enraged when one of their number murders another, is hell-bent on seeing justice. They kidnap Zarak Momand, a burnt-out Navy hospital corpsman, and blackmail him to be their guide into Momand land and to find a loophole in nanawatai, the Afghan code of hospitality. They don’t tell him their target — a deserter — murdered Zarak’s estranged baby brother.
Zarak has lost touch with his brothers, his heritage, and his religion, anything that might inspire true passion. Code-named Zulu and coerced to hunt down a deserter, he must navigate the ambiguities of fourth generation warfare, where there are no front lines and where the moral high ground shifts from situation to situation.
In the end, it’s just Zulu and Oscar, a sexually compelling cipher who embodies so much of the Pakhtun Way. But is Oscar’s rough passion a betrayal between brothers?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.
Review: I will be honest and say I really wasn’t sure about this book when I read the blurb but the book gripped me from the first chapter. Zarak (Zulu) is a man who is caught between two cultures and struggles with what he was taught as a boy (grew up in an Afghan region until he was about 10yrs old) and what he learnt as a man. We also get snippets of Zarak’s childhood in flashbacks so we get to understand him better and the culture he was taught as a boy. Oscar is a Native American from the Tohono o’odham tribe, he is a big, physically strong man with a Texan accent and that’s really all you learn about him except he has a cool sniper rifle, you don’t even learn his real name!!
The mission Zarak has been kidnapped for is personal he just doesn’t know it yet, and when he does he goes from reluctant to wanting badal (blood vengeance) but is torn as he also wants to bring him in for trial. Oscar is there to watch his back, keep him alive and make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.
The settings in this book are brilliant and the detail to the culture is incredible, I learned a lot about the normal Afghan citizens; i.e. the handless spice dealer who plays a joke on them (scaring them half to death), the slave auction (selling or leasing children’s service’s as a shop boy, goat herder etc. for a twice yearly sum) or the buzkashi game.
There is no romance between Zarak and Oscar, there is want and need and maybe more. It’s down and dirty and they make do with where they are and what they’ve got. What’s between them is primal, two Warrior’s coming together, so really don’t be expecting these two men to be declaring undying love for each other cause they won’t. This is a fantastic story that I highly recommend to the people who want more meat in their stories.