Here’s some news I’ve been waiting to break for a while.
Since 2014 I have had the honor of serving as The Real Book Spy, covering the genre I love while interacting with thousands of fellow fans and avid readers. I’ve written more than a thousand book reviews, conducted hundreds of interviews (including co-hosting Night of a Thousand Authors, which, to my knowledge is actually a world record for the most back-to-back live interviews with New York Times bestselling authors), and been able to land some of the most exciting exclusives along the way. I’ve also worked as a freelance editor, or “book doctor,” during that time. So I’ve been fortunate enough to work on both sides of the publishing industry, and I’ve had an absolute ball the entire time. But still, there was one itch I hadn’t scratched . . .
I wanted to write a book of my own.
A long time ago in high school, my sophomore year actually, we had this lovely intern teach our creative writing class. I’ll never forget her. One afternoon, she assigned us a new homework project. We were to write a short story, but there was a catch—it could be about anything we wanted, and we could use any language or violence we deemed necessary. At the time, I was pumped to take on that assignment, and indeed wrote up a short story called “Matty Redd” about a teenage vigilante who cursed like a sailor and made the Punisher look like a teddy bear. Admittingly, I went overboard with the language and violence and was subsequently suspended from school for a week. The semester rolled over, years passed by, but I never forgot the character. As Redd’s voice grew louder in my head several years ago, I finally decided to put pen to paper (or, well, you know, fingers to keyboard) and see what he had to say.
Influenced by my two favorite authors, Vince Flynn and C.J. Box, I set out to merge everything I love about action and suspense thrillers with the wild west. Montana is a place that fascinates me, and as fate would have it, it fascinates Redd too. Coming back to the character I created in high school was an adventure in itself for me because Redd no longer thought and acted like a teenager since I didn’t either. And in the end, the story really came together in a way that I’m very proud of. That said, the goal was to write something for you all—readers and lovers of the thriller genre—that you’d enjoy. Having gotten to interact with so many of you on social media and through the website and email, my hope was that my first book would be something that you’d find refreshing, entertaining, and unlike anything else sitting on store shelves right now.
I’m beyond thrilled to announce that back in May, I signed a two-book deal with Tyndale House Publishers to launch a new series starring, you guessed it, Matthew Redd. Book one, Fields of Fire, is scheduled to be released on August 2, 2022, and is currently available for pre-order.
It was important for me to first tell Book Spy followers this news myself, but in the coming months, I’ll do plenty of interviews talking about Redd, the book, what to expect in the second one (coming in 2023), and why I choose to sign with the brilliant people at Tyndale. So more on all of that stuff later. For now, I want to present to you the official cover art and plot details for Fields of Fire.
You know Ryan Steck as the Real Book Spy. Now, get to know him as the author of Fields of Fire, his debut thriller featuring Marine Raider Matthew Redd in a battle that will leave you speechless and begging for more. Lock and load! — Jack Carr, Navy SEAL Sniper and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil’s Hand
Waiting to be deployed on a critical mission, elite Marine Raider Matthew Redd stops to help a stranger and wakes up hours later to learn his team was wiped out in an ambush. Unable to remember anything, Redd can’t deny the possibility that he’s somehow responsible for the information leak that led to the massacre. He’s given a deal to avoid a charge of treason, but it means walking away from the Corps and the life he loved.
As he faces his loss, Redd gets a cryptic message from his adoptive father, J. B.: “Trouble’s come knocking. . . . Might need your help.” He points his truck home to rural Montana, only to discover that J. B. is dead and the explanation for his death is far from satisfying. Determined to dig up the truth, Redd uncovers a dark global conspiracy with his hometown at the center and no team at his back―except one he might find among past friends, old enemies, and new allies, if he can figure out who to trust.
Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to next summer, including the chance to win an early copy of Fields of Fire. I cannot wait to share this story with you all and look forward to talking about it more very soon. If you’d like to pre-order a copy, you can now do so here, or anywhere else books are sold. In the meantime, I’ll still be covering the thriller genre, and there are a ton of great books set to come out this winter, so watch for our monthly Reading Guides and plenty of new reviews too.
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck 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. Additionally, he co-hosts ThrillerTalk, a new podcast with K.J. Howe. 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.