From Personal Struggle, to the Conflict of Battle, to a Changed Life
“Hired Guns in Iraq” is an eye-opening revelation of the aftermath of war. Brogan Kessler, an ex-military family man, found himself failing in a dream to build his own business in South Africa. In desperation he realized that he could no longer justify the sacrifice and hardship he was putting on his family. A former friend from military days, Peter, enticed Brogan to take a job with a security detail contractor working to rebuild Iraq. The job offered high pay which provided Brogan with the opportunity to be able to resume his dream and get out of debt in a very short time.
Shaun Schutte graphically articulates the carnage of war in Baghdad, Iraq. He describes how ignorance of the local language and culture, and the difficulty in differentiating between combatants and non combatants often leads to offensive behavior by multinational forces, security contractors, as well as mercenaries. The tragic deaths of innocents oblige insurgents to attack coalition forces to avenge the deaths of their relatives. Through incidents of irrational decisions and careless actions, Brogan and his team learn the critical need for teamwork as the key survival tactic in a country where religious zealots and avenging family members wage a holy war against infidels and occupational forces.
Brogan miraculously escaped from an exploding vehicle only to be taken hostage by insurgents. As a result of these circumstances he learns to listen to the voice of God through life or death struggles as a target of insurgents who are intent on his destruction.
Schutte incorporates the essence of his personal faith throughout the story as he relates the message of God’s love for sinful man, His redemptive plan of love and grace in sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for those sins.
Schutte’s writing is riveting, packed with suspense right up to a surprising climatic finish. Striking word pictures left me with an ineradicable glimpse into the frailties of man. Schutte powerfully describes the repercussions of war, the fear, courage, and anger. He understands, from personal experience, the drive for survival in the life and death struggles of an environment where little value is placed on the life of an individual by opposing ideologies. “Hired Guns in Iraq” exposes the cost and sacrifice of rebuilding a country destroyed by bloodshed and war. The book is timely and relevant.
Pleasant Word, A division of Winepress Publishing Group, 978-1414111360
As reviewed for Midwest Book Review