Featured Review: ‘Reaper: Ghost Target’ by Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata

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Reaper bookElite sniper Vick “The Reaper” Harwood is an American hero. . . but is he also a blood-thirsty vigilante? 

That’s the premise for Reaper: Ghost Target, the must-read new thriller from real-life sniper Nicholas Irving (the real Reaper and inspiration for Harwood) and retired brigadier general turned bestselling author, A.J. Tata. 

On the heels of a failed operation in Afghanistan, Harwood returns to the United States without his spotter or his beloved rifle, which he affectionately refers to as “Lindsay,” and with very little memory of what actually happened. 

He was sent to kill his nemesis, Khasan Basayev. Nicknamed “the Chechen,” Basayev and Harwood have faced off more than once on the same battlefield, representing different sides of the war. Three weeks earlier, the Chechen had shot Harwood’s friend and spotter, Jor LaBoeuf, between the eyes. Now, ready to claim retribution with the squeeze of a trigger, Harwood finally had the drop on Basayev.

Laying prone behind his rifle from eight hundred yards out, Harwood peered through the scope and laid the crosshairs on the Chechen’s head. But before he could pull the trigger, mortar rounds started exploding all around him. In the midst of all the explosions and subsequent flying debris, Harwood was knocked unconscious.  

He wakes up a week later in a military hospital, surrounded by doctors and nurses. He sustained a serious head injury, which has affected his memory, among other things, and he can only remember bits and pieces of the mission. He’s eventually deemed unfit for active duty and sent back to the States. 

Just like that, one of the most feared snipers in America’s military, the man with a record thirty-three kills in just ninety days, is forced to sit on the sidelines. 

Months later, Harwood is doing better physically, but mentally he still struggles with weird “episodes” where he blacks out for minutes at a time. He’s now teaching special forces snipers around the country, trying to complete his rehab so he can get back into the game and on the battlefield with his fellow soldiers. He’s also dating Olympic gold medalist Jackie Colt, a sharpshooter with world-class precision, whom he met back in Afghanistan when she traveled with other athletes and celebrities in an effort to meet and give back to the troops. He’s happy, but something is missing. . . 

The blackout episodes are getting worse, and more frequent, which frustrates Harwood. He’s supposed to be the Reaper, a living legend. His men look to him and ride into combat knowing that as long as the Reaper has their back, they have a leg up on the enemy. 

The story takes its first high-powered turn when a general is assassinated near Fort Bragg — shot through the head from a long distance away. Harwood had been experiencing a blackout at the time of the shooting, and cannot confirm his whereabouts. A similar incident happens again a few days later. And again, Harwood had been incapacitated by a blackout, leaving him with no alibi or recollection of what happened. The story twists a second time when a special FBI task force headed up by Deke Bronson, a former marine who saw combat in Fallujah, traces the bullets to Harwood’s rifle, making him the prime suspect in the high-profile killings. 

As a trail of bodies piles up, leading right back to Harwood, the Reaper is forced to go on the run in an attempt to evade authorities while he searches for the truth. While the whole country thinks he’s become an unhinged killer, Harwood refuses to believe he’s capable of such traitorous actions. Clearing his name, though, won’t be easy, especially when he realizes it’s those closest to him who hold the key to making sense of what’s happening. 

Written by two guys with plenty of first-hand experience, Reaper: Ghost Target bleeds with gripping authenticity from beginning to end. Irving and Tata are a lethal combination, and Vick Harwood is a hero unlike anyone else the genre has to offer. . . think of a modern-day Captain America, but instead of a shield, the Reaper uses an SR-25 sniper rifle, taking out enemies from up to a mile away with devastating precision. 

Balls-to-the-wall action meets a chilling conspiracy in this phenomenal start to a promising new series from heavy-hitters Irving and Tata. Do not miss this book! 

Book Details

Author: Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata
Series: Vick Harwood #1
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250127343
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck is “is the guy in the thriller world that people talk to behind the scenes.” (Mark Greaney, New York Times bestselling author). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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