A thriller indeed! Jack Carr's debut novel will have you gripped from the first page. I'm not a fast reader and I finished this book in 2 days. Few authors have a successful debut, mostly due to inexperience and the difficulty of writing a book. However, Jack Carr's delivery of "The Terminal List" is unlike anything I've ever seen from a new author. I really believe that he could be the next "big thing" in the thriller genre.
Carr begins the novel in an exhilarating fashion. A man stations himself on the crest of a hill in the Wyoming woods. The scene then cuts to a man entering his Mercedes SUV and setting off for work. The man on the hill prepares his rifle which was handcrafted specifically for him and given to him by his father. The man steadies his scope, the pauses in the man's natural breathing rhythm allow him to take aim. A Mercedes SUV begins to roll down the road and the man steadies his sights on the driver and fires one shot, killing him instantly. Well, this book should be interesting, I thought to myself after reading this scene.
This is our first interaction with James Reece, an embattled Navy Seal who has just undergone tragedy. The story then cuts to Reece detailing the events of an upcoming covert operation. It is here where we are introduced to Reece's distrust in the upper echelons of the government. This is understandable, most of the men who sit at their desks in D.C. offices have never been in combat before. Reece then describes his skepticism about the nature of the intel gathered before the operation to one of his fellow SEALs. Regardless of Reece's skepticism, he proceeds with the operation. Tragically, his entire team is killed in a surprise IED explosion and Reece is the sole survivor. Seriously injured, he is transported to Bagram Airforce base in Afghanistan for medical care. It is there where we find out that Reece and every member of his now-deceased team, have a very similar brain tumor. Taking this news shockingly, Reece tells the doctor that he needs to go home and see his wife and daughter before they discuss treatment. When Reece returns to his hometown of Coronado, California he is horrified to know that his best friend who was also a SEAL, was found in his home deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. After receiving this news, Reece begins to feel hopeless, and all he wants to do is see his wife and daughter. That however is not an option as when he returns to his house, he finds his wife and daughter murdered in an apparent home invasion. This event drives James Reece on a mission to track down every person involved in the murder of his family, and his SEAL team. He vows to eliminate every single one of them.
If I could describe this plot crafted by Jack Carr in one word, the word would be exhilarating. Jack Carr archives this in part due to his experience as a SEAL himself. Carr frequently throws in military jargon that makes James Reece feel more and more like a real SEAL. There is so much detail imputed into this book from Carr's experience as a SEAL that there are actually redacted parts of the book that the DOD (Department of Defense) claims are classified. In order for Carr to justify the horrific measures that James Reece goes through to achieve revenge, Carr goes into immense detail about Reece's love for his family and his fellow SEALs. The book frequently cuts to flashbacks of Reece's happiest times with his daughter Lucy and wife Lauren. You are rooting for James Reece for the entire story. Reece is selfless and caring and undoubtedly brave.
Now when I say this book is a thriller, I mean it. The tactics that Reece utilizes to subdue his enemies are gruesome but also fascinating. Mostly because a normal person would not have knowledge of these tactics, but since Jack Carr was a SEAL, you feel that Reece is a sort of incarnation of the author himself. Reece often inputs his feelings about society throughout the novel, which could only be originated from the author himself. I could only imagine that some of the missions that Reece undertakes throughout the novel are based on real operations done in combat. Though Recce is brutal in the ways he goes about eliminating his targets, it doesn't feel brutal to the reader as Carr justifies it as a man avenging his slain family fallen brothers. Carr embeds a deep hatred in the reader of the upper members of society orchestrating these horrific events. He describes them with disgust and you as the reader begin to develop a similar hatred of them to that of Reece himself.
I am not shocked that "The Terminal List" was turned into a TV adaptation. It is absolutely perfect for TV. I can not wait to watch the show! "The Terminal List" is an absolutely fantastic read for anyone who loves thriller books, or someone who just wants to read a fascinating insight into the life and mind of a Navy SEAL. This book is part of a series, and the other books are on my TBR (to be read) list. Jack Carr realizes that this story is just too good to be kept to one book. I can feel that Jack Carr will be the next big thing to happen in the thriller genre. He has so much talent that rivals the talent of other thriller writers like Tom Clancy, Lee Child, and James Paterson. Go read this book, you will not be disappointed.