"Stay out of the fog. Do not go in the hole."
Bryon Morrigan's The Desert is a full throttle kind of book.
Set during the Iraq war in 2003 and 2009, the start of the book bounces back and forth through time. In 2003 a platoon was lost while on mission far away from the main action. In 2009 another lost pair of soldiers finds the remains of the last member of the previous expedition as well as a diary kept by the man.
From there, the action moves from the past (told via the diary) to the present, which seem to mirror the fall of the lost platoon.
Eventually the desperate men of both periods find themselves in an abandoned Iraq village when hell, in many forms, breaks loose.
The descriptions of the military and their response, and the depiction of the bleak and sunburned Iraqi desert are accurate. Morrigan's writing style is tense and pulls few punches.
He says what he needs to say and moves on, which is very effective for the type of story he tells here.
The Desert is written in terse chapters that keep the focus on the action. There is action aplenty. A lot of the time reading it, I wished the book had came with sound effects.
The supernatural menace itself is creepy (and of surprising origin) and the end game of the book left me wanting more. That's good, because word is there will be a sequel.
If you like your horror with a military slant and a some fun shivers, do yourself a favor and give Morrigan's The Desert a read.
It can be found at the Permuted Press site right here.