Jack Murphy’s Target Deck

I was hoping to get a review of Jack’s first novel, Reflexive Fire, up before this, but it’ll have to wait.  Suffice it to say that it’s awesome, but Jack has ratcheted things up a little in this latest installment of the Deckard novels. The aftermath of the bloodletting in Reflexive Fire has Deckard’s PMC, Samruk International, pared down to little more than two platoons.  Those two platoons open the book with a successful strike on a south Mexico cartel leader, followed by signing a contract with the surviving police chief in the area to take care of the cartel problem.  It’s sort of a “sign this, now,” sort of arrangement, but she doesn’t seem to mind later on, as Deckard and his boys start savaging the cartels in southern Mexico. A lot of what is happening as background for the book will be familiar to anyone who has kept an eye on the deteriorating situation in Mexico.  While Deckard’s operation is in the south, in what is presently disputed territory near Guatemala, the Zetas and Sinaloa cartel are featured prominently in the background.  The Zapatista rebels in Chiapas even make several appearances.  Jack even brings Fast and Furious into

Hank Brown’s Tier Zero

Recently, I got to read Hank Brown’s new novel, Tier Zero.  Having already read and greatly enjoyed his debut novel, Hell & Gone, I was really looking forward to it.  Well, Hank didn’t disappoint. Set ten years after the Sudan mission in Hell & Gone, Tier Zero sees the return of a number of characters from the first book.  Rocco Cavarra is back, but he takes a back seat to Tommy Scarred-Wolf, the Shawnee Special Forces veteran.  Tommy is running this particular op, to rescue his niece from Indonesian pirates. As much as I enjoyed Hell & Gone, this book is better.  Hank has polished some of the character interactions.  There are still conflicts between even characters on the same side, much like there were in Hell & Gone; both books are about ad hoc units put together for a particular mission.  He even has a bit of a romantic subplot going on, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the action. There are multiple threads running through the plot, and several betrayals ratchet up the tension between the good guys, over and above the tension of being on their own in a foreign land, surrounded by enemies.  Questions are raised

Train As You Fight

I had something a little different in mind for this post, but there seems to have been some confusion about an element of the BZO post below.  Some individuals seem to have thought that I was creating, in one FB commenter’s words, “a trumped-up version of ‘I don’t want to wear my kit.’”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You have to train in your kit.  You should get to the point where you can perform any task you may have to in the field in kit, as though it wasn’t even there. The point I was making in the BZO post is that zeroing a rifle is not training.  It is maintenance.  Zeroing in kit is simply counterproductive.  Once the rifle is zeroed, then you should do all your shooting in your kit. There’s a little more to it, and I’ve seen examples of this.  Somebody sets SOP for gear, even knowing the requirements in the AO, and you train for several months with that SOP.  However, the SOP isn’t the same as the requirements in the AO.  In the last month, you start training with all the stuff you are required to have in the AO, and

The Second Wave

Hank Brown has a good rundown of the current state of “men’s adventure fiction” up on his blog.  Most of it is in the military or paramilitary genre, much like Task Force Desperate.  Worth a read, especially if you’re just getting wind of the upswell of veterans writing these sorts of stories, and hopefully supplanting the glossy “thriller” writers who don’t have any real-world experience, and don’t actually know as much about what they write about as they think they do.  (Tom Clancy, I’m looking at you.) Two Fisted Blogger: The Second Wave: Resurgence of Men’s Fiction