SCARS: John Dempsey Novella (Tier One Origins) Paperback – April 29, 2020
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Sweet Sorrow" by David Nicholls
"With fully fleshed-out characters, terrific dialogue, bountiful humor, and genuinely affecting scenes, this is really the full package of a rewarding, romantic read."—Booklist Learn more
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SCARS see’s John when he’s still green in 2006. A Special Operator First Class or for my military readers from all branches, an E6. He’s getting off an Air Force C-17 as his team got deployment orders for Iraq or as some of us that have been there in real life call it, “The Suck.” As I’ve mentioned, these two authors are both veterans and their writing shows it. I read many thrillers and Iraq just isn’t a hot spot anymore, but I love reading about it, since I’ve been there myself. So, reading about John’s entry into the country brought back a lot of memories for me. When an author does that, it makes me appreciate the writing that much more. The last time I had an experience of that magnitude while reading was when Marine veteran Matthew Betley came out with Overwatch (2016). Somewhere towards the end of that thriller, I turn the page and all the sudden the author took it back to a spot in Iraq in November of 2008 and I was shocked, because at that specific time I was in Iraq. It made me connect with the characters that much more and SCARS gave me the same feeling.
SCARS is a very short read, but so much happens. Many future characters are mentioned, and others straight up make an appearance, including Jarvis. John and his team are briefed on a HVT, Mahmood Bin Jabbar and their mission is to capture him alive. Jabbar however has other plans and sets contingencies incase he’s ambushed. John, being who he is and following the Navy SEAL Creed, does everything he can to accomplish his mission.
If you’re a fan of the Tier One series, SCARS is an absolute must read. Getting to know John Kemper before he becomes John Dempsey, a little bit of Tier One style action and other fan favorite characters make an appearance in different roles than what we’re use to seeing them in the current Tier One world, as I’ve mentioned this takes place in 2006.
2. If you are not ex-military or a military enthusiast, then you might not like this book with its military terms and abbreviations.
3. If you object to coarse profanity, then sections of this book will likely offend you.
4. However, to experienced military veterans, this book and the primary series it supports will not only make sense to you, but it will likely stir some strong emotions in characters you will admire or want to be.
This novella focuses on a member of a SEAL team deployed in Iraq in 2004 and focuses on an all too stereotypical raid and its aftermath. Those familiar with John Dempsey in the Tier One series will see him introduced here with another name, Jack Kemper, but no further explanation of the two different names except by the authors in a foreword.
The book follows a military "procedural" approach with detailed descriptions of equipment, weapons, tactics, rules and regulations, and military culture. Dialogue banter reflects competitive bravado filled with egos and team bonding exchanges.
There's some great fast action, suspenseful situations, and series drama in the last part of the work making it an "acceptable" short escape read.
However, this first short book got off to a rocky start for me because it was hard to connect with the characters in the first few chapters. Nothing really grabbed me by the trivial interactions among flat characters filled with cliches and barracks talk that seemed to go nowhere. However, the book got much better with the last chapter being the strongest. Perhaps this quality disparity comes from unequal writing styles of the two authors, but the slow build up almost forced me to stop reading.
The story makes sense eventually, and perhaps this prequel series was a better way to develop character backgrounds rather than using flashbacks in the main series as explanations. However, writing a novella requires more efficient use of chapters and wording, focusing on the primary plotlines and basic story. Need more substance, please! This approach seemed too gimmicky to me to deserve more than 3 stars. Okay, but unremarkable. Ugh!
The last 22% of this short work is an advertising preview to Book 6 of the Tier One series.
I was immediately hooked in and I just couldn't stop flipping through the pages, reading more and more. It was all I hoped for and more. The intimate and realistic portrayal of the good guys and the evil they fight is beautifully captured by the authors, no doubt a testament to their own experiences on the frontlines.
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June Finnigan - Writer