Sunday Series Spotlight: SEAL Team Six Outcasts

Today, I’m spotlighting a Military Suspense/Thriller series co-authored by two former Navy SEALs, Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.  I haven’t had the chance to read the series, but it’s now on my reading list. In fact, all four of their books listed below look like excellent reads.

About the Series

A group of outcasts who take on those who threaten U.S. security but without the support of the government. (from Goodreads)

Genres: Military Suspense, Thriller

SEAL Team Six Outcasts ( #1)

SEAL Team Six Outcasts Book Cover

Published May 29, 2012

Publisher: Gallery Books/ 352 pgs

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They are the Outcasts. Because people don’t want to know what they do. 

Alex Brandenburg: SEAL Chief Petty Officer and Outcasts Team Leader. Disobeyed direct orders by refusing to let a deadly terrorist live to kill another day. Francisco “Pancho” Rodriguez and John Landry: SEAL Petty Officers First Class. Took the pursuit of justice into their own hands with explosive results. Catherine “Cat” Fares. Navy Petty Officer. Holds an unbeatable record for pissing off the top brass with her strongly stated opinions on the combat readiness of women. 

The team’s mission: Take out the seven terror merchants vying to take Bin Laden’s place. The team’s status: Expendable. 

When America’s controversial Phoenix Program was buried during the Vietnam War, a new program rose from its ashes. A top-secret Special Operations unit, with a core mission to combat terror wherever they find it, Bitter Ash grew ever more necessary in a new world of Islamic fanaticism. Now, Bitter Ash is forming a special team, a SEAL Team Six with a difference. It is Tier One, on par with SEAL Team Six and Delta, but it will report directly to Bitter Ash, and its fight will take place under the cover of dark. 

With Bin Laden dead, the petty leaders within al Qaeda struggle to assume his role at the top. The president of the United States doesn’t want any of them left to dominate . . . and that means he has only one choice. But doing what’s needed without political repercussions will take a small team flying under the radar. A team capable of finessing the U.N.’s distinctions on national sovereignty and acts of war. A team like the Outcasts. 

With no official support from their government and no one to rely on but themselves, the Outcasts must track down each target. Hot on the tail of the third, Brandenburg and the team start to realize that they are closing in on a larger plot, one that puts the security of the United States in dangerous jeopardy. The terrorists are threatening American territory once again, and the Outcasts will have to do what SEALs do best. Whatever it takes to keep their country safe.

Buy from Amazon: Outcasts: A SEAL Team Six Novel

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Review of New Release Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip

Sniper Elite-One-Way Trip

Purchase on Amazon: Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip: A Novel 

Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip by Scott McEwen with Thomas Koloniar

Book Description

IN DIRECT DEFIANCE of the president’s orders, Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon, one of America’s most lethal SEAL snipers, launches a bold mission comprised of SEAL Team Six and Delta Force fighters to free a captured female helicopter pilot being held by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The president is afraid a botched rescue could jeopardize US foreign policy as well as end his presidency. But once the special ops community learns that one of their own—the first female helicopter pilot of the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR)—is being held and brutally mistreated, there is no executive order strong enough to stop them from attempting to rescue her.

This fast-paced, action-packed thriller with incredibly realistic and blistering battles introduces a new American hero, Gil Shannon, whose iron will and expertise with the .308 Remington Modular sniper rifle will spell the difference between freedom and an ignoble death for America’s female POW.

*****

Book Review

Sniper Elite is one of the best military suspense novels I have read in a long time.  I really appreciated the author clarifying that the fictional storyline actually details some of the special operation missions that have actually occurred.  The book is riveting, full of intense action scenes that provide us with insight into the danger and brutality that are an evident part of war.

The protagonist is Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon and readers first encounter him taking a break at his ranch in Montana with his supportive wife, Marie.  We begin to get a glimpse of Gil’s character and his passion serving as a Navy SEAL when he tells his wife: “It’s what I do, baby. I can’t explain it, but I feel like the only other thing I was ever meant to do was love you.”

Meanwhile, the story shifts to the capture of Warrant Officer Sandra Brux, the first female pilot, to serve in the elite Night Stalkers, who provide support during black op missions. While observing a military training exercise in Afghanistan, their group is attacked by terrorists. Sandra is the only survivor and is taken prisoner to a secret location, where a ransom is demanded for her release.  In order to rush the government to make a decision whether to pay the ransom, Sandra is brutally tortured. Video footage is sent as evidence.

The current President has little knowledge of military operations and relies upon his staff to help him understand his options. Of course each option has political ramifications, especially since the President is close to re-election.  Although ransoms are not usually paid for servicemen captured, Sandra’s gender and distinguished status provide cause for consideration. The President worries about the public backlash that could ensue if word is leaked of her abduction and the President’s failure to take appropriate action for her rescue.

While the President and his advisors are in the decision-making process, Gil and other members of  Special Forces, especially the Night Stalkers are adamant that they will rescue Sandra, since she is one their own. Gil and an Afghani translator working for the U.S. put together a secret team combining SEAL and DELTA operatives.

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Without authorized military support, Gil knows that he and the others who have agreed to take this risk may not return from this mission. Gil’s call to wife before he leaves letting her know that he may not return is heart-wrenching to say the least.

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When this perilous mission gets underway, it is a heart pounding, action-packed, edge of your seat depiction of the rescue that is so graphically detailed and realistic I found I could really envision these dramatic scenes.  The Epilogue did not leave me at ease, and I hope the authors will continue the story in a future book.

This was an excellent read that gave me a greater understanding of the dangerous situations our armed forces encounter while loyally serving their country.  Their dedication and willingness to give their lives for our safety defines them as true heroes that deserve our admiration and respect.

I received a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Rating

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About the Author (From Amazon)

author Scott McEwen

Scott McEwen (1961- )is a trial attorney in San Diego, California. He grew up in the mountains of Eastern Oregon where he became an Eagle Scout; hiking, fishing, and hunting at every opportunity presented. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Oregon and thereafter studied and worked extensively in London, England. Scott works with and provides support for several military charitable organizations, including the Seal Team Foundation.

Scott’s interest in military history, intense patriotism, and experience with long-range hunting rifles, compelled him to accurately record the battlefield experiences of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in United States military history.

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New Release and Review of Headed for Trouble by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters) (eBook)

Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters) (Book)

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters # 16.5) by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Description

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann, whom USA Today calls “the reigning queen of military suspense,” breaks out a rapid-fire collection of pulse-pounding, heart-tugging stories and novellas featuring the intrepid men and women of Troubleshooters Inc., fiction’s hottest ultimate counterterrorism squad.
 
• Tough-as-nails Troubleshooters operative Sam Starrett learns the agony of loving someone in danger—and the hell of waiting on the home front—as his wife, Alyssa, hurtles into a foreign hotspot that’s about to boil over.
 
• Navy SEAL Frank O’Leary’s ill-fated holiday reunion with his older brother takes a turn for the better—when a chance encounter on a rainy New Orleans street gives Frank a reason to be thankful after all.
 
• In a maze of tunnels deep beneath a military base in Germany, Jules Cassidy, Alyssa Locke, and their comrades in arms match wits with terrorists on a mission with explosive consequences.
 
Plus more never-before-released adventures featuring Jenk, Izzy, Gillman, Lopez, Kenny, Savannah, and other members of SEAL Team 16—along with Suzanne Brockmann’s exclusive interviews with her beloved characters.
 
Looking for the best kind of trouble? You’ve found it!

Watch the Book Trailer

*****

Book Review

If you are a fan of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series, you will enjoy reading the variety of short works ranging from character sketches, descriptive scenes of characters in action, to lengthier short stories. Even if you haven’t read the series, you can appreciate the book and get an introduction to the author’s writing style and her amazing ability for character development. Reading this anthology may be all the motivation needed to start this series.

There are currently sixteen books that comprise the Troubleshooter’s series. Brockmann provides a timeline and brief description of each book to either introduce you or remind you of the ongoing plot sequence and numerous characters involved. At the start of each story, readers are given a time frame to help understand how these short pieces fit into the overall story line.

A sampling of my favorites from this collection:

“When Frank Met Rosie” –Readers get greater insight into Frank O’Leary’s character and background, learning more about his thoughts and feelings beyond his military role. His encounter with Rosie is a great reminder that we have to embrace the opportunity for love when it knocks on our door, no matter how inconvenient the timing may be.

“Waiting”-A heart-wrenching look at what families of those serving out of country emotionally endure on a regular basis, never knowing if their loved ones are safe. While taking care of his daughter at home while his wife Alyssa is away on a mission, Sam learns that her group has come under fire and the wait begins to find out whether she has been injured or worse. Brockmann shows the fear, worry, and absolute helplessness that Same feels for the woman he loves. It’s hard to be calm and patient under these almost unbearable circumstances.

“Interview with Tom and Kelly” –I loved these protagonists from the first book, Unsung Hero, in the series, and it was nice to learn more about how their relationship has progressed since the resolution of their story.

“Trapped”-Wow! This story will give readers a good idea of how Brockmann builds suspense in her writing.  The plot sequence of starting in the middle of the story and then using a flashback before moving forward toward the end kept me uncertain of what to expect and minimized the predictability of the work.

“Shane’s Last Stand”-a poignant novella showing Shane Laughlin’s willingness to do what’s right no matter what the personal cost. He is truly an admirable character.

In addition, Suzanne peppers the anthology with details about her thought process in character development and themes.

It is  a great anthology that allowed me to read short bits at a time and really savor my experience with these characters.

I received an ARC copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Ballantine Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

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About Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne

Suzanne Brockmann is the author of nearly 50 romance and romantic suspense novels, including her wildly popular 15-books-and-counting Troubleshooters series. She also wrote the popular Tall, Dark & Dangerous series for Silhouette Intimate Moments.

In her free time she likes to sing and do volunteer work. She is a proud member of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) as well as many other equality groups. (from Goodreads)

Author Links

Suzanne Brockmann Website

Goodreads  Profile

Twitter

Facebook

*****

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Music to Complement the Book

A Special, heartfelt thank you to troops from all U.S. Military Branches and their families for the daily sacrifices they make for our protection!

Toby Keith: “American Soldier”

SHeDAISY : ” Come Home Soon” – Official Video

Start the Troubleshooter Series Now!

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Purchase on Amazon:The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooter) (ebook) or The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, Book 1) (book)

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Review of The Pride

PrideBookCoverSnagitThe Pride by Patricia Morse

Purchase from Amazon: The Pride

Book Description

Six brave Americans heard their calling after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Evie, Lexie, and the Four Fellas courageously volunteered to become super-human hybrid warriors, to aid the United States against her war on terror. Little did they know, sometimes the terror comes from within.  The Pride will take you on a cross country journey full of action, suspense, and even a little romance, as Evie, Lexie, and their brood take on an enemy that none of them could have seen coming.

Review

Let me start this review by stating that I chose not to finish this book; therefore, my review is premature and should not necessarily deter others from giving this book a chance.

I downloaded this book, excited about the premise. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the military takes a select group of soldiers from various branches of the military and each undergoes a transformation that combines lion and human DNA to create “super soldiers”  known as The Pride. Two of the central characters, Lexie and Evie, are females, and the point of view switches between them (as far as I read).  In many of the military suspense novels I have read, the protogonists are male, so I was looking forward to the story told from a female perspective.

For me, a good story will grab the reader’s attention and pull them into the fictitious world created. The book begins with Lexie describing how she feels upon waking from her transformation and providing background information to set up the plot. I found the exposition behind the story’s permise to be lacking.  Why choose to use lion DNA?  How did scientists and doctors know this would work?  What are the benefits, the risks for everyone involved?  I just learn that it happened. Lexie says, “I stared at myself in the mirror, hardly recognizing the face staring back at me. My hair was luminescent and golden, my skin flawless and glowing, and my eyes the color of emeralds. I guess the combination of lion and human DNA makes for a nice package.”

I use that quote to lead me into the second issue I have with book, the portrayal of Lexie.  She is self-absorbed about her physical appearance and constantly stares at herself in the mirror. As a woman, I understand the desire to feel attractive, and there is nothing wrong with being feminine. However, the way she thinks just doesn’t mesh with the idea of a warrior.  For example, on the group’s first mission, they are doing reconnaissance, and Lexie complains about her situation: “I hated reconnaissance missions with a passion. I’m more the maini, pedi, shoe shopping type of a gal.”  Several paragraphs later, she goes on to say, “Anything was better than laying in pine needles and mud. I’d never get the dirt out of my hair.  I didn’t know why we were here, and I didn’t care….Besides recon isn’t my role in the pride. I seduce the prey and the others flock in for the kill.”  Okaaayy, I’m left wondering how in the world did she make it as a marine with that mindset?

Lexie does make a good point, though…she and I both are unclear about the purpose of the mission and why they are there. The pride members  don’t seem to have a concrete plan for completing this mission. Again, I may be premature in saying this because I didn’t read far enough, but as a reader I wanted more information and details by this point.

My final issue with the story that stopped my reading progression is that the author told me what was going on rather than showing me. In an online article called “Showing Versus Telling,” Pamela Rice Hahn explains the difference between the two:  “Showing in a story merely means that you’re allowing the reader to participate in the events rather than just rattling off what happened. When the reader participates, it creates involvement-he or she can see the events unfolding, and then is left wondering what is going to happen next.”  Hahn then provides a great example of narrative that tells and is then revised to show. I’ll include the link for the article at the end.

I am not one to give up on books very easily, and I try to read the entire book before forming an opinion. However, as I get older, I value my time more, and there are so many other books out there waiting to be experienced.

Other readers’ expectations may differ from mine, and they may find the book enjoyable and satisfying. The plot certainly provides a creative angle on fighting the war on terrorism, so try it to see if it appeals to you.

Link to article

Showing Versus Telling

Rating

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