Since we checked in with Navy veteran and former SEAL-turned-author Jack Carr last year, his star has continued to rise with a high-profile Prime Video show based on his first novel "The Terminal List" set to premiere this summer and the release of "In the Blood," the fifth book in the Reece thriller series.
James Reece is a Navy SEAL whose team and family are killed to cover up a government program gone wrong and, since he first appeared in "The Terminal List," has been systematically taking out everyone responsible for hurting those he loved.
Carr's also got a successful podcast called "Danger Close," his own YouTube channel JackCarrUSA, a blog that lives on his website and even a thriving merch business that features gear, apparel and clothing emblazoned with the James Reece crossed tomahawks logo. You can even book Carr for a rousing motivational speech.
All of this far-flung activity happens because people who love Carr's Reece novels really love the books and everything the novels stand for. Still, Carr has managed to crank out one book a year, and all this activity begs a question: Can Carr pursue parallel careers as a podcaster, YouTuber, blogger and merch designer and still deliver the goods when it comes to the James Reece saga?
Yeah, sorry, haters. "In the Blood" is the wildest Reece book yet and one that goes beyond the character's endless hunt for justice and blossoms into something more ambitious and just a little weirder than what's come before.
Just take a minute to realize what Carr has managed to pull off so far. Fans of "Game of Thrones" have been waiting 11 years for author George R.R. Martin to deliver the next novel in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series that inspired the show, but Martin seems to be paralyzed by all the attention he's gotten from the HBO series and its upcoming spinoffs. Carr just keeps delivering the action.
In Carr's 2021 novel "The Devil's Hand," Reece befriended Alec Christensen, a president of the United States who was just as motivated by a need for justice as our hero. Together, they work together to foil a terror plot that aimed to trick the U.S. into nuking one of its own cities to prevent the spread of an imaginary weaponized disease.
As "In the Blood" opens, we see a Reece who wants to put the action behind him so he can settle down with Katie Buranek, but terrorism intervenes when a friend's plane is shot down over Africa. What Reece doesn't know is that the terrorists are trying to lure him back into action so the former SEAL can be taken out before he learns what legacy his late father left behind.
Carr moves beyond the known operator world in "In the Blood" with the introduction of a top-secret and sentient surveillance supercomputer that has named itself Alice. The computer does unfathomable things with information throughout the novel, and we're left with three choices. Is Carr gifted with a fantastic imagination? Or has he learned something from his friends in the intelligence business that we really don't want to know? Or maybe he's just paranoid? Odds are 70% on the first option with a still-scary 30% chance of the second.
The book features the brutal action sequences that Reece fans demand, the end of a particularly hateful nemesis and a shocking cliffhanger ending that suggests Carr may be well into writing his best book yet for release in 2023.
If you're new to the James Reece world, be prepared to navigate Carr's love of listing brand names for gear and beverages. He drops more trademarks than the most-sponsored Instagram influencer. There's no doubt that the custom gun and car manufacturers, micro-breweries, wineries, grill companies, exercise machine builders and tactical gear makers will be thrilled to see their goods hawked in print, but there's an early chapter that reads more like a cool shopping blog than a novel.
Those few pages of seemingly sponsored content ultimately don't detract from the mission. Just at the point when you'd think that Jack Carr and James Reece might be running out of ways to continue the mission, the author delivers a killer novel that takes the character to a new place and sets up a new direction that should take the story forward for years to come.
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