The Terminal List (James Reece #1), by Jack Carr

Eight stars

Having agreed to read this book on the recommendation of a friend, I was unsure what to expect from Jack Carr. Using elements of his past work experiences in the military, Carr creates and develops a wonderful character in James Reece, adding a thrilling adventure to propel the reader into the middle of something quite memorable. While serving as a Navy SEAL, James Reece watches much of his team die in an ambush ordered by a ruthless imam. Able to escape, Reece’s orders to return stateside cannot come soon enough. Before he is shipped back, an army doctor notices a tumour in his brain, something about which Reece is completely baffled. Landing in Southern California, Reece puts the idea of the tumour out of his mind, wanting to see his family before anything else. Arriving home to a ‘break-in gone wrong’ leaves his wife and young daughter dead, devastating Reece. With little left to do, he reports to his commanding officer and discovers that he is being blamed for the ambush. Meanwhile, those in the highest levels of the US Administration have been trying to keep some of their most covert plans under wraps, but Reece knows too much and must be eliminated. When Reece partners up with a keen investigative journalist, they soon discover an experimental medical program being tested on SEALs, something that creates a great deal of animosity and is the likely cause of the tumour. Add to that the murder of Reece’s family, and this SEAL is ready to eliminate all those who have used and abused him. Reece creates a payback list, vowing to hunt down everyone with a connection to destroying his life. Dodging the law and those contracted to hunt him, Reece is fuelled by passion and determination, using his past training and covert measures to bring some semblance of order to his life. A wonderful debut thriller, Carr pulls the reader into the middle of this story and does not let up. Recommended to those who enjoy military thrillers with a strong protagonist.

While I have an eclectic taste when it comes to books, I thoroughly enjoy novels that are well-written and filled with detail. Jack Carr uses much of his military background to develop a story that is both believable and full of nuances that allows the reader to feel in the middle of the action. Carr admits in the introduction that he has used much of his past to shape both the story and his protagonist, James Reece, but that he has freely used some literary freedoms, as well as the redaction requirements of the Department of Defence. Reece proves to be quite the character, who is a mix of military hero and scorned man who has seen much of his life come apart at the seams. His training makes Reece a man not to be messed with, though when his emotions cloud his mind, one can never know what will transpire. Reece pushes through all his adversity and focuses much of his attention on retribution, which becomes the central tenet of the novel. Other characters offer interesting flavours to the narrative, both military and civilian individuals. Carr utilises these characters well and thickens the plot throughout, keeping the reader enthralled. The story may not be entirely unique in its plot, but Carr does well in keeping the tale believable and full of intrigue. From the military parlance through to the grit of a man wanting justice, the novel takes the reader on a mission with only one goal, revenge. Gritty and emotional in parts, Jack Carr delivers a debut novel not soon to be forgotten.

Kudos, Mr. Carr, for an entertaining opening novel in this series. You have a wonderful way with words that is sure to keep the reader hooked.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: