Featured Review: ‘True Believer’ by Jack Carr

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True Believer - Jack CarrAfter being held up by the Department of Defense’s Office of Prepublication and Security Review for over six months, former Navy SEAL turned top-notch thriller author Jack Carr’s highly-anticipated second thriller, True Believer, is finally set to storm its way into bookstores. 

Following the explosive events of The Terminal List (2018), James Reece is the most wanted domestic terrorist on the United States’ watch list. Once a Navy SEAL commander, Reece previously uncovered a conspiracy that reached the highest levels of the American government, one that he set about exposing—which cost him everything he loved and cared about: his wife, their daughter, his teammates, and his career. 

With nothing more to lose, Reece set out for revenge. After compiling a lengthy list of everyone and anyone who had a hand in the death of his family and his team, the highly trained, highly lethal commando went to work—crossing off every name on his list in the process. 

Now, Reece is a broken man. Still dealing with a tumor that’s spidered its way into his brain, James finds himself alone on Bitter Harvest, a forty-eight-foot Beneteau Oceanis, bobbing his way across the Atlantic Ocean. Struggling to cope with everything that’s happened over the past several months, Reece stays off the grid, makes peace with his medical diagnosis, and spends the next four months slowly making his way to Mozambique, Africa, where he’s taken in by Rich Hastings, the uncle of James’ estranged best friend and former SEAL teammate, who runs a Safaris camp near Niassa. 

Eventually, though he was careful and doing his best to lay low, Reece and some other members of Hastings’ crew have a run-in with some armed poachers, forcing Reece to flip the switch he’d spent the better part of a year trying to turn off. And when word travels that a badass nobody in the middle of the jungle threw down with some poachers, it doesn’t take long for Uncle Sam to track Reece down—only, instead of handcuffs, they’ve come knocking with an offer. 

Unbeknownst to Reece, who hasn’t paid any attention to the news, a series of devasting terrorist attacks have rocked the Western world. It’s believed that the man behind the attacks is Mohammed “Mo” Farooq, an Iraqi commander who was once trained by American forces in the region. As it turns out, everyone who had a hand in dealing with Mo back in Iraq is now dead, except for Reece, who is offered a presidential pardon and a new job with the CIA in exchange for tracking him down and putting an end to the attacks. 

Though he’s initially reluctant, Reece accepts the offer and heads out to complete his mission, which seems straightforward enough. Instead, all hell breaks loose, as he quickly discovers that things aren’t what they first seemed. Unsure whom he can trust, Reece travels around the globe chasing terrorists and, in the process, unearths another conspiracy that could set the world on fire . . . unless he can stop it. 

Few authors over the last few decades have taken the genre by storm the way Jack Carr has. After releasing one of the best debut political thrillers in recent memory, Carr follows that up with another winner, though it’s a very different book than The Terminal List. Whereas his first book started fast—taking readers behind the scope as Reece fired his first shot of revenge—True Believer opens slower, following Reece as he learns to live again. Carr gives readers time to bond with his hero, in what ultimately proves to be the calm before the storm. And once the bullets start flying, you better hold on tight, because the action never lets up for a second—with Carr delivering the kind of adrenaline-inducing action sequences you’d expect from someone who knows that life intimately. 

Beyond that, the plotting is tight with plenty of surprises along the way, the pacing is relentless, and Carr even finds time for a decent amount of character development, on top of mixing in a few laugh-out-loud one-liners. Lots of new characters have been compared to Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp, but James Reece is one of the very few who actually deserves such praise. Bottom line: he’s only two books in, but you can already count on one hand the number of authors still seated slightly above him at the top of the genre. 

True Believer, the highly-anticipated new thriller From Jack Carr, is one of this year’s hottest thrillers, and a perfect fit for fans of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and Daniel Silva. 

Book Details

Author: Jack Carr
Series: James Reece #2
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501180843
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 9.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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