Review: ‘Fields of Fire’ by Ryan Steck (aka The Real Book Spy)


Let’s be honest, we all wondered how I’d do this.

Myself included!

Okay, getting the elephant out of the way early, how does one promote their own book when their job is to cover everyone else’s thrillers? Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure that out since I signed a two-book deal last May. But here we are, and in just a few short days, my debut novel, Fields of Fire, finally hits bookstores.

Certainly, I don’t want anyone to think I’m just promoting my own book, but at the same time, I can’t not talk about It, either. Especially when I wrote it for you all—fans of the thriller genre. If you like Vince Flynn and Brad Thor or C.J. Box and Craig Johnson, I think my book might be a good fit for you. Why? Because merging those types of adventures was my goal when I sat down to write my first thriller. I wasn’t sure it would work, quite frankly, but it dawned on me one day that we never really see Jason Bourne or Mitch Rapp out West, but when you think about it, that area is kind of perfect for them to operate in. Out there, backup isn’t minutes away, it’s hours. Maybe more. And that raises the stakes considerably.

If you want to know more about the book, just click here. If you want to get to know me better or hear some behind-the-scenes stories about the publishing world, join me on Twitch—there’s still time to get in on this massive sweepstakes—where I’m live every night from 8-10 pm ET (You do NOT need to be a fan of video games to hang with us and have fun). Separate from my work on The Real Book Spy, we have a growing community there of some really great people, and I have a ton of fun getting to know everyone and hanging out each evening. (You can also join my Discord for some exclusive BTS content.)

Rather than writing my own review (which we can all agree would be weird), I’m going to share what others have had to say about Fields of Fire

First up, you might recognize a few of these names. Here are some of the authors who have endorsed Fields of Fire, available everywhere on September 6th (more below).

Author Ryan Steck, aka The Real Book Spy

“Ryan Steck’s FIELDS OF FIRE busts out of the chute with non-stop action and it never lets up until the final page. A magnificent debut with a terrific sense of place in Big Sky country and a hero to root for in Matthew Redd.” C.J. Box, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Shadows Reel

“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, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil’s Hand

“The stakes—and tension—don’t stop building until they explode into a denouement readers will never forget. The debut thriller of the year.” — Kyle Mills, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Enemy at the Gates

 “The Real Book Spy becomes the real spy. Action! Suspense! And the introduction of former Marine Raider Matthew Redd, a formidable new hero who doesn’t like being told no. Ryan Steck’s FIELDS OF FIRE kicks off an exciting new series. Check it out.” — Brad Meltzer, #1 bestselling author of The Escape Artist

 “Ryan Steck hits it out of the park with his debut, Fields of Fire. Part military thriller, part spy novel, part good old-fashioned western, Matthew Redd has cemented himself as the go-to man in a bad situation. It starts off with a literal bang and never lets up, with an ending that will leave readers scrambling for more.” — Brad Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of End of Days

“Ryan Steck’s Fields of Fire breathes fresh life into the thriller genre with his hero Matty Redd, a hard man forced to fight for those he loves in the harsh wilderness of Montana. A compelling premise strongly executed, Fans of C.J. Box and Vince Flynn will anxiously await the follow-up to Fields of Fire.” — Mark Greaney #1 NYT Bestselling Author of Sierra Six


And now for some pre-publication reviews . . .

“A former Marine investigates the death of his adoptive father in Steck’s strong debut. While on a joyride in California, Marine raider Matthew Redd stops to help a woman with a flat tire and they go back to her place. The next thing he remembers, a day has passed and he’s getting arrested for allegedly leaking information about a mission in Mexico that led to the death of his entire team. After accepting a dishonorable discharge, he receives a voice mail from his adoptive father, J.B., about needing help back in Montana, but when Redd arrives he discovers J.B. has died under suspicious circumstances . . .  The suave yet vulnerable lead and propulsive narrative will keep readers hooked. This is an auspicious start for Steck.” — Publishers Weekly

“There’s a lot we’ve seen before in Ryan Steck’s tumultuous thriller Fields of Fire, but all of it is done exceptionally well. Steck’s debut actually gives us two bangs for the buck, hitting on a pair of classic thriller tropes in the same volume. First, we follow special ops Marine Matthew Redd dealing with the aftermath of a massacre he may or may not have perpetrated. That’s due not to the fog of war, or combat, but the fact that Redd is suffering from amnesia and can’t remember what happened. We’re also treated to the angst-riddled Redd’s return home to Montana to deal with a deadly threat to his hometown in a fashion that would make Lee Child’s Jack Reacher proud. A veteran reviewer with one of the genre’s most popular blogs, the Read Book Spy, Steck is understandably well-versed in the genre. But his command of battle scenes and the warrior mindset is exceptional. Fields of Fire reads like Nelson DeMille seamlessly blended with the likes of Brad Thor, Brad Taylor, or Jack Carr, and is not to be missed.” — The Providence Journal

Fields of Fire left me sleepless. This breathtaking debut thriller features Matthew Redd, a tough battle-hardened Marine Raider. In the span of a few days, he loses everything that holds meaning for him. Matt faces facts that don’t ring true as he deals with the shame, defeat, and complete despair over these losses. Now he’s got some tough decisions to make. The author deftly draws us into his story with a staggering fire-fight. Once he’s gotten our attention, he reels us back to the two weeks previous to this epic event to fill in the details. It’s well done, with crisp writing that produces the always desired yet rarely achieved sensation of “being there.” The author’s concise style and clean prose get the reader engaged in the characters as well as the storyline from page one. The adrenaline-fueled pace does the rest. The result is a book that won’t allow the reader to walk away before the story is finished . . . I highly recommend this can’t-miss novel for fans of action or suspense/thriller reads.” Reader Views

“Ryan Steck’s debut novel features a new character to the thriller genre, Matthew Redd. After his unit is unexplainably killed, Redd is charged with treason, and as if things couldn’t get any worse, while in the brig, he gets a mysterious phone call from his father and subsequently heads for Montana . . . I think Fields of Fire is going to be a hit that fans of the thriller genre will quickly gravitate to and love. Steck’s Matthew Redd will be around for a long time, captivating readers with each page. Make sure you thriller readers grab yourself a copy of this one – you won’t regret it.” Stuart Ashenbrenner, Best Thriller Books

More blurbs from some of the best authors in the genre today:

“A flawless story with a stellar cast of memorable characters—Ryan Steck’s stunning debut FIELDS OF FIRE is a twisty, electrifying thriller reminiscent of the very best of Brad Thor that will keep readers flipping pages well into the night.” — Simon Gervais, former RCMP counterterrorism officer and bestselling author of The Last Protector

“Thriller fans, debuts don’t get better than this. Explosive from page one and rarely letting up, FIELDS OF FIRE heralds the arrival of hard-charging, even harder-hitting Marine Raider Matthew Redd to the genre’s pantheon of mesmerizing franchise heroes. First-time author Ryan Steck writes with the expertise of a seasoned pro and delivers one thousand percent. Get your hands on this book!” — Chris Hauty, nationally bestselling author of Storm Rising

“Ryan Steck has gone from writing about thrillers to writing a first-rate thriller himself. All you have to do is start reading about a new hero named Matthew Redd to understand. This is a book that does exactly what books like it are supposed to do: Keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next. And spoiler alert . . . every time you think you know, you don’t.” — Mike Lupica, New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Payback and Robert B. Parker’s Stone’s Throw.

“FIELDS OF FIRE, Ryan Steck’s long-awaited debut novel, is loaded with action, emotion, and plenty of authentic details. I could not put it down!”— Nick Petrie, author of THE RUNAWAY


Thank you for being here, visiting The Real Book Spy, and reading thrillers. I’ll be cranking out a bunch of content still, and remain committed to covering the genre as a whole for the foreseeable future. That won’t change, but I do hope many of you will follow me down this new path as I finally add “author” to my resume. I really am excited to hear what people think of my book, and appreciate each and every one of you who’s already pre-ordered ahead of its release.

This is just the start. Wait until you hear about the next one (titled Lethal Range) set to come out next August!

Book Details

Author: Ryan Steck
Series: Matthew Redd #1
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1496462866
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: September 6th, 2022
Real Book Spy Rating: YOU TELL ME!



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 co-hosts the ThrillerTalk podcast when he’s not streaming and hanging out with his growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” comes out on September 6, 2022. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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