Savage Son (James Reece #3), by Jack Carr

Eight stars

Jack Carr returns with his third instalment in the James Reece series, which has just as much action as the previous novels. While he coalesces after brain surgery, James Reece has plans to rest up in a Montana cabin. On the other side of the world, Oliver Gray, who was responsible for killing Reece’s father, has his targets set on finishing the job, knowing that it will be a case of strike before being targeted by Reece himself. Gray works with members of the Russian Bratva to secure the attack, one that will require stealth, as Reece was once a SEAL and now has been working for the CIA. When Reece and his new belle settle in the cabin, a strike team inches forward. No one could have predicted that Reece’s long-time friend and fellow SEAL, Rafe Hastings, will also be in the area. After the strike goes awry, Reece knows that he is in big trouble and will not be able to hide for much longer. Even worse, the Russians are able to nab Hastings’ little sister in Europe, only adding pressure to an already jarring situation. It will not be enough that Reece knows the Russians are after him. He must annihilate them and find Gray for a final standoff, while a man who hunts humans for fun arrives to play a little game. A well-paced novel that is full of plot twists and wonderful storytelling. Recommended to those who love a good thriller, as well as the reader who finds an interest in military-type novels, full of gun technology and scouting tactics.

I stumbled upon the first book in this series after a friend recommended it to me. While I am not as keen on military thrillers, I do love the espionage stories that Carr has been able to create. James Reece is an interesting character who continues to grow before the reader’s eyes. Now on the defensive, after a few novels where he was hunting his enemies, Reece must show how sharp he can be without being prepared with everything he might need. He appears to have moved on from the murder of his wife and unborn child, letting the walls down so that he can be happy. There is no lack of action when it comes to Reece or those around him. Other characters do a wonderful job of complementing the protagonist and adding their own added flavour to an action-filled read. The numerous plot lines kept the story interesting and the perspectives of all the characters did well to keep the story on point. The novel itself was quite well paced, even as the reader must leap over some of the redaction pits placed throughout by the US Department of Defence. Carr knows his stuff and does not write in too inflated a manner, but is able to get to the root of the plot without issue and keeps the reader right there with them. Full of military and gun talk, this helps to add depth to the plot rather than lose the reader from the get-go. Carr brings his experiences to the entire novel and the read can bask in the attention to detail. The mix of chapter lengths pull the reader in and sustain their interest in equal measure. There’s little time to catch one’s breath, as the story is so full of action and locales that it will be a fast ride throughout. I hope to see more from Carr, as there always seems to be a thread that is left hanging for Reece to tug upon.

Kudos, Mr. Carr, for another winner. I hope others find your series and enjoy it as much as I have been to this point.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

True Believer (James Reece #2), by Jack Carr

Eight stars

Jack Carr returns with another explosive military thriller that pulls on his years in the field, as well as the current geo-political situation. After a stunning cliffhanger, Carr pulls readers right back into the middle of the story and continues to spin treacherous webs. James Reece is likely the most wanted man in the entire world, especially after his actions to destroy those who had his family killed. Armed with a terminal brain tumour, he has little to lose, but hopes to stay alive long enough to ensure no one bearing responsibility is still breathing. For the meantime, Reece chooses life at sea, sailing from the East Coast of the United States to the Eastern portion of Africa. Completely off the radar, it is Reece and the open ocean, for who knows how long. While he is battling the waves, a terror cell strikes numerous locations across Europe, though there is no one who has yet claimed responsibility. Reece is completely unaware when he lands in Mozambique and takes up helping an old friend keep the local poachers at bay, at least until he is hunted down by one of the people in his former chain of command. Interesting revelations come to light and Reece is brought back into the fold, if only temporarily. Armed with amnesty and a mission to track down those in charge of the terror cell, Reece heads to a black-ops site to train before being thrust into the middle of a deadly firefight that could have international ramifications and leave an indelible mark on how terrorism is portrayed. With little to lose, Reece finds himself being stealthy and cut throat all at the same time, though it may not be enough. Carr does a masterful job at balancing truth and fiction here, taking the reader deep into covert operatives and leaving them just on this side of what can be revealed publicly. Recommended to those who enjoy military thrillers that leave a realistic film on the brain.

I had the debut novel recommended to me by a friend on Goodreads and I could not read it fast enough. While I struggled to get into the mindset of this piece, when I was able to shake off my inner issues, I was fast enveloped into the wonders of this novel. Carr offers a wonderful way of exploring covert operations without getting too hokey. It would seem apparently that Carr uses James Reece as his alter-ego, telling his own story through the protagonist. While Reece has nothing to live for, he pushes on and finds a new lease on life, starting with some work in rural Africa. However, you cannot expect a man with such a passion for covert missions to disappear from the lifestyle with ease, which is easy to see when Reece is asked to come back and fight another day. Still emotionally fragile, Reece has a lot more left inside him before he is ready to give up. Other characters enrich the story in numerous ways, throughout the various turns the narrative takes. Carr encapsulates the story with effective characters and puts them into a variety of situations, all of which are sure to complement whatever James Reece might be doing at that time. The story was quite strong and developed at a decent pace. Carr’s ability to take the reader on a journey is like few others, which is further enriched by the obvious limitations put on him by the Department of Defence in the United States, who redacted portions of the manuscript (and which Carr has shown were removed in the final product). This injection of additional realism does not go unnoticed throughout, balancing nicely between the long and short chapters to keep the breakneck pace of the story as things progress. Carr has earned the right to be called an author in the know and I can only hope that his future writing projects are just as strong.

Kudos, Mr. Carr, for a stellar piece. Mitch Rapp and Scot Harvath do not hold a candle to James Reece, though he might let them carry his gear into battle.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons