3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The real Hurt Locker,
This review is from: Eight Lives Down: The story of a counter-terrorist bomb-disposal operator's tour in Iraq (Hardcover)
A British counter-terrorist bomb disposal expert working in Iraq; that sentence alone tells you that this book will be an immediately absorbing read and indeed it is, for the most part.
The first two thirds of Eight Lives Down are certainly the best, following the hard times of Chris and his team: travelling around Iraq under frequent gunfire, securing and dismantling bombs, all the time aware that it could be a set-up for other bombs or snipers - Chris certainly does an admirable job in relaying just some of the incredible tension and anxiety of his work.
Eventually, Chris is tasked with not just defusing bombs but given an intelligence role - to track down the teams responsible for planting all these Improvised Explosive Devices. Understandably, this information has to be sieved through the Ministry of Defence but as a consequence, it never seems clear exactly how Chris achieves this.
Chris Hunter's Eight Lives Down recognises the human cost of the war: the damage inflicted on the innocent Iraqi population, the trauma delivered to the British solider. The book certainly serves up the action (with an abundance of cliches, unfortunately typical of this genre) but also reminds us that there is a very real, human cost to this unnecessary war of choice, a cost borne by soldier and civilian alike.
Finally, a note for Hollywood: not once does Chris mention a sentence along the lines of, "Cut the red wire or the green wire?" Also, he never describes bombs with big red digital countdown timers, conveniently left by the terrorists to show how much time you have left.