Dark at the Crossing

Elliot Ackerman is a highly decorated Marine veteran who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and now lives in Turkey, on whose border with Syria this novel—his second, after the critically acclaimed Green on Blue—is set. At its center is Haris Abadi, an Iraqi-American who formerly translated for the U.S. military in Iraq. Now he’s returned to the region eager to cross the border and join one of the militias fighting the Assad regime. Nothing goes as planned, however: First he’s robbed, then he loses contact with his Syrian connection. He’s taken in by a charismatic exiled Syrian revolutionary, Amir, and his beautiful wife, Daphne, who is haunted by the reported death of her young daughter. She and Haris decide that only the Islamic State can help her find the child, but again things don’t go as planned, with devastating results. Ackerman brilliantly evokes the fractured borderland, with its gangs of scavenging boys, desperate tent cities and deadly swindlers. Available in the Butte County library.