The Sandbox

David Zimmerman, Author . Soho $25 (350p) ISBN 978-1-56947-628-4

Zimmerman’s remarkable debut succeeds both as a realistic portrayal of the current Iraq war from the American perspective and as an energetic thriller. Stationed at a remote and poorly equipped U.S. army base in the Iraqi desert, Pvt. Toby Durrant worries about his pregnant fiancée back home. After a remotely detonated bomb kills two soldiers, Toby’s commander, Lieutenant Blankenship, recruits him to monitor the accuracy of a translator, and then to interrogate two Iraqi prisoners suspected of being involved in the attack. Well aware of his lack of qualifications, Toby, who made a number of bad choices as a civilian, can’t help thinking something else is going on, especially after the prisoners turn up dead. His difficulties escalate with the arrival of a military intelligence officer, who asks him for information about Blankenship. Readers will empathize with the author’s everyman narrator as Toby tries to survive while maintaining his humanity. Zimmerman is a talent to watch. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/08/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-56947-916-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 258 pages - 978-1-56947-888-2
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