EXCLUSIVE: Before ‘Lethal Range’ Hits Bookstores, Listen to the Official Matthew Redd-Inspired Playlist


Ryan Steck, best known as The Real Book Spy, is also the author of the Matthew Redd thriller series, which kicked off in 2022 with FIELDS OF FIRE. His sophomore book, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8th.


I can never seem to just sit down and write, create, and put words on the page unless I can first see the full scene in my head. That makes being an author tricky sometimes, but I’ve learned to trust the process that’s now carried me through three books and counting, and a big part of that process is music. Like a soundtrack to the movie playing in my mind, listening to music helps me visualize the scene I’m creating, allowing me to frame it in my mind and then on the page. So, with each book, I create a new playlist specific to that story, and I listen to it on repeat. And not just when I’m writing but to help me get in the right mindset to write.

A normal day for me is waking up between 5:30-6:30 AM, then showering before heading out to Starbucks. That’s usually the only time I get out of the house during the day, so I savor that trip, which takes about 20 mins from start to finish. It’s during that drive time that I start getting my mind right to write. I fire up the playlist I’m assembling and let the music bleed through the high-end Bose speakers in my Chevy Tahoe, the subwoofer cranked all the way up. I try to pick songs that fit what I’m writing, even if it’s the theme of a certain chapter, but sometimes I’ll add a track just for the energy I feel when it plays.

For LETHAL RANGE, my playlist was 15 songs, the vast majority of them country-inspired. After all, my series is set in Montana, starring a former Marine Raider who returned home to take over the cattle ranch he grew up on.

So, you’ll see shades of that small-town vibe in tracks like WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE by Sam Hunt or GROWING UP AND GETTING OLD by Luke Combs. In this book, Redd’s relationship with his wife, Emily, is front and center, following a gang of bikers harassing her on the highway, and there are several songs on this playlist that capture feelings a man like Redd might have towards his wife (I know I sure do mine). Songs like MY GIRL by Dylan Scott, YOU by Dan & Shay, WHAT MY WOLD SPINS AROUND by Jordan Davis, and SOUL by Lee Brice helped me channel some of those thoughts and feelings onto the page. Then, when I need a pick-me-up for the energy, especially when creating action sequences—and there are a ton of them in LETHAL RANGE—my go-to tracks were NO BAD DAYS by Jimmie Allen & Flo Rida, WHATEVER IT TAKES by Imagine Dragons, and COUNTRY BOY DO by Nelly and Tyler Hubbard. Other tracks like DOWN HOME by Jimmie Allen and WILD HORSES by Warren Zeiders really helped slow things down for me when trying to capture a bit more emotion.

LETHAL RANGE comes out on August 8th, and I cannot wait to hear what you all think of this one. Book #3 is done, and I’m in final edits on that right now. It’ll pub in the summer of ’24. I’m also hard at work on book #4 and have that playlist on as I type this now.

Have a listen to the LETHAL RANGE playlist below, and then please make sure to pre-order your copy of LETHAL RANGE, my second Matthew Redd thriller.




From the Real Book Spy, Ryan Steck, comes another riveting Matthew Redd thriller.

On an island off the coast of Spain, Matthew Redd and his FBI fly team surveil a luxury villa in hopes of catching a high-value fugitive. But when Redd leads an unauthorized raid on the villa, he discovers they’ve been set up, and he is sent home to face the consequences of defying orders.

Meanwhile, Redd’s wife, Emily, is on a remote stretch of Montana road driving their sick baby to the doctor when she finds her SUV surrounded by a biker gang intent on harassing her. As the bikers pound her fenders and her infant son screams, Emily fights to keep the SUV on the road . . . and then suddenly the bikers back off, leaving her safe but shaken.

Redd returns home, suspended from his team and certain that he is to blame for Emily’s harassment after his run-in with the local biker gang the year before. Fearing that there is more to come, he prepares to defend his family. But Redd soon learns the gang is stronger in numbers than he could’ve imagined, and there is more behind their vendetta than he could’ve guessed. As his son’s condition worsens and his beloved ranch faces financial ruin, he finds himself fighting a war on multiple fronts―one he can’t win on his own.



“Ryan Steck’s latest LETHAL RANGE is a high-stakes thriller that starts at a run and races faster with every flip of the page. The mix of spy tradecraft, gutsy action, and nonstop mayhem is what I love in a book. Pair that up with the return of Matthew Redd, a hero as ballsy as Jack Ryan and as as street-smart as Jack Reacher, what’s not to love? Plus, the big skies of Montana are as much a character—both for its beauty and grit. All beautifully and brutally told! I can’t wait to see what trouble Redd must tackle next!” — James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestseller of Kingdom of Bones

“Intense, riveting, and ultimately wild escapist fun, LETHAL RANGE is a powerful modern Western… It’s Sons of Anarchy crashing into Yellowstone. Steck is a talented cinematic writer and has created a character in Matthew Redd that is both larger than life and remarkably relatable. Buy this book!”
Don Winslow, #1 bestselling author of The Force and The Border

“A white-knuckle ride from start to finish, LETHAL RANGE takes off with one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever read, then builds to a thunderous crescendo. It’s one of this summer’s hottest thrillers. Like the best kind of rollercoaster, the tension rises to an incredible climax.”
—  T.J. Newman, two-time New York Times bestselling author of Falling and Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421

“A brilliant thriller. Blurring the lines between military thriller and western, Steck weaves multiple genres into an action-packed, movie-like novel―think Lonesome Dove but with more motorcycles and, somehow, more gunfire.” The Best Thriller Books



Ryan Steck is a freelance editor, an author, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Real Book Spy. Ryan has been named an “Online Influencer” by Amazon and is a regular columnist at CrimeReads. Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata) on his way to being endorsed by #1 New York Times bestsellers Mark Greaney, Brad Thor, Kyle Mills, Jack Carr, C.J. Box, and many others. His debut novel, FIELDS OF FIRE, is now available. His next book, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8, 2023. For more information, visit TheRealBookSpy.com or email Ryan@TheRealBookSpy.com




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 is building a 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,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And to take part in free, exclusive BOOK CLUBS each month, join The Real Book Spy on Discord.


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