Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
EOD - "It's a lot like brain surgery, except if we screw up the patient detonates.... Oh yeah, and we do it underwater." (A Navy EOD technician)
The sailors of the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community "perform under pressure" in the hazardous job of bomb disposal, often deep beneath the sea...alone.
An EOD technician must have the brains of an engineer, the hands of a surgeon, and the courage of a martyr. In the US Navy, carrier flight operations only occur under the watchful eye of EOD techs ready to respond to ordnance accidents. US Marines assault enemy beachheads only after EOD techs clear the littoral seas and landing zones of mines. The US Secret Service even relies on military bomb squads to protect the president and visiting foreign dignitaries. Perhaps the best testimony of their value is that when the Navy needs to place a limpet mine under an enemy ship it tasks the Navy SEALs, but to respond to such an attack - the Navy summons EOD.
Proximity highlights the exciting work of one EOD detachment as they become enmeshed in the efforts of a terrorist coalition operating both in Europe and the United States. Lieutenant "Jazz" Jascinski and the men of Detachment Four become the key to helping the FBI apprehend these terrorists - until their unique skills place them under suspicion. To protect themselves, the techs must race to find the culprits before they become the next victims....
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 33 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||August 02, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #213,122 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#508 in War & Military Action Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,194 in Military Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,300 in Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction
Top reviews from the United States
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This insider knowledge, as well as the author's clear love for his subject, carries the reader through some of _Proximity_'s rough spots. The book is full of anecdotes and quips that feel culled Phillips's personal experience, and they serve to give the reader a feel for life inside an EOD unit. However, Phillips sometimes gets lost in the details, serving up episodes that may fascinate other EOD technicians but move the lay reader to skip ahead. Further, the the book feels less like an organic story than a well-fleshed-out outline. Its conflicts resolve themselves too tidily. Its characters, with the exception of the protagonist, feel more like wind-up toys in service to the story than actual people. Its climax feels rushed and unearned.
And yet, the reader can see Phillips develop his voice over the course of the novel. His protagonist is engaging and interesting enough to merit a sequel, and the book really does tell the reader a lot about EOD: I learned more in a few hours of reading it than I did in four years of kicking those lunatics out of the back of my helicopter.
In short, this is a First Novel, with all the awkwardness that implies. Nevertheless, it's an engaging first Novel, written by a guy whose storytelling chops improve before your eyes. I look forward to reading Phillips's second.
What I found was a very engaging and sympathetic main character, trying to balance the danger of his job with the security of his family. The story is very character driven, which was a pleasant surprise. Above all, it's just plain good writing.
Granted, I needed the glossary of acronyms and abbreviations located at the end of the book. But one of the things I really appreciate about Stephen Phillips is that he assumes his readers are intelligent and can keep up. Once something has been introduced and explained, he doesn't intrude on the reading experience with awkward recaps of the same information. It keeps the flow of the story and dialogue between characters authentic.
If the topic of this novel interests you even a little, I believe you'll enjoy reading it a lot.
The author does a good job of mixing in details about life as an EOD operator with the plot of the story. (Some reviewers have said the author uses too many technical terms. It's possible that he does, but I didn't realize it because I knew the terms from my time in the Navy and from the fact I love reading about spec ops.)
I thought it was a nice touch that the author had the federal investigators assume that the main character is the bomber. The reader obviously knows he isn't, but the author does a nice job of pointing out that the investigators are not reading the book, so have only the evidence of the scenes to go on.
*END SPOILER ALERT*
This book is not for everyone. But if you enjoy military fiction, give it a try.
While I loved the book, Steven should have been more consistent in terminology: while LT is a honorific or nickname given, one never addresses themselves as such, rank is never abbreviated when speaking of oneself, i.e., "Lieutenant Phillips." His editor(s) should have cleaned up the grammatical errors and introduction of all the acronyms (spell out in full before using the acronym).
All in all, a great read on a little known special group of warriors with big brass balls.
Top reviews from other countries
My only criticism is that there are just too many acronyms and abbreviations.
There is one twist involving the FBI that you wonder where it is going to go and how it will work out.
This is a work of fiction but it takes you into the real and nasty world of bombs and their makers and the guys who on a daily basis work to make them safe.
It also gives an insight into the emotions of those left behind. Jazz's wife and family.
Lets not forget the families of Our Hero's.