The Desert Here and The Desert Far Away by Marcus Sakey
(alternately titled The Desert here and the Desert There)
A short story in the collection Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down, edited by Clive Cussler
Rating: * * * * *
When his military buddy Cooper calls on him for help, Nick doesn’t hesitate. Now stateside, the bond that was forged in Iraq still holds strong. Nick learns that Cooper’s troubles are far larger than he implied, and more dangerous, causing Nick to have flashbacks to their time in Iraq. The story explores war through its toll on soldiers and through the bonds they form. Perhaps because the story is short, its punch is concentrated. If you like this story, you might also like the 2007 movie In the Valley of Elah.