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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This one's for the boys...AND girls! Ooh-rah!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….the place to be when books is what you desire, but the genre is a mixed bag.  Today’s title falls directly into that mixed bag, especially since we’ve been featuring a few Children’s and Young Adult books as of late, but hey…if I didn’t keep you on your toes, who would?  Besides, reading outside your box can sometimes elicit surprising results…

Picture it.  A girl and a guy strolling along the street in a foreign land seemingly without a care in the world.  They are preceded by a larger balding man that looks like he could break bricks with his bare hands and his swaggering cohorts.  They notice not the couple at a distance; they are of no importance to them.  Their eyes ever watchful, they round a corner, finding a dark alleyway; the perfect cut through for a group of guys up to no good…so then why are the lady and gent following suit?  Caught off guard, they pause for a moment, however brief and then…nothing; the last thing they hear is the sound of their own bodies hitting the pavement.  The couple continue on their way without missing a beat, the guns in their concealed holsters still smoking.

Intrigued?  Good, just be sure you have all your wits about you for this one.  It’s the fictional endeavor (first in a series from what I understand!) from the author duo (and real life military men) that brought us the harrowing true life account published in Seal Team Six.  Now, I have not read that one nor have I any intentions to (though dear old Dad probably will, as it’s more his territory) but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a good fictionalized game of cat and mouse, now does it?  Didn’t think so.  Without further ado, today’s book of choice is…


From the publisher…
They are the Outcasts. Because people don’t want to know what they do.

Alex Brandenburg: SEAL Chief Petty Officer and Outcasts Team Leader. Disobeyed direct orders by refusing to let a deadly terrorist live to kill another day. Francisco “Pancho” Rodriguez and John Landry: SEAL Petty Officers First Class. Took the pursuit of justice into their own hands with explosive results. Catherine “Cat” Fares. Navy Petty Officer. Holds an unbeatable record for pissing off the top brass with her strongly stated opinions on the combat readiness of women.

The team’s mission: Take out the seven terror merchants vying to take Bin Laden’s place. The team’s status: Expendable.

When America’s controversial Phoenix Program was buried during the Vietnam War, a new program rose from its ashes. A top-secret Special Operations unit, with a core mission to combat terror wherever they find it, Bitter Ash grew ever more necessary in a new world of Islamic fanaticism. Now, Bitter Ash is forming a special team, a SEAL Team Six with a difference. It is Tier One, on par with SEAL Team Six and Delta, but it will report directly to Bitter Ash, and its fight will take place under the cover of dark.

With Bin Laden dead, the petty leaders within al Qaeda struggle to assume his role at the top. The president of the United States doesn’t want any of them left to dominate . . . and that means he has only one choice. But doing what’s needed without political repercussions will take a small team flying under the radar. A team capable of finessing the U.N.’s distinctions on national sovereignty and acts of war. A team like the Outcasts.

With no official support from their government and no one to rely on but themselves, the Outcasts must track down each target. Hot on the tail of the third, Brandenburg and the team start to realize that they are closing in on a larger plot, one that puts the security of the United States in dangerous jeopardy. The terrorists are threatening American territory once again, and the Outcasts will have to do what SEALs do best. Whatever it takes to keep their country safe.

Like I said, totally outside my box but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  When the review request arrived in my email, I was quick to think…yeah…so not for me…but as I try to do with any book that crosses my path, I did my due diligence.  I read the pitch in full; good, but no dice.  I read the book synopsis; mildly intrigued but not nearly enough to warrant interest.  Then, I read the chapter one excerpt that was sent along and BAM…I was hooked.

Now, ladies and gents (because I know I have a mixed audience out there…^_^), it does get technical on the weaponry, locations, and military jargon at times….but not so much so that the story is unreadable or un-enjoyable for a civilian such as myself.  For those that are into all the scopes and gadgets and Tangos and the like, you’ll adore that aspect of the writing because it comes from true insiders that have been there, done that, said that, and probably used most of what was used in the story.  For me, I was content in summing those sections up in my mind with…okay, they have a gun…now the bad guys are returning fire….and so on.  It may not be as exciting to some, but it worked for me.  Now back to me being hooked…

The intensity of the situation despite how quietly it was being carried out is what grabbed my attention in the excerpt.  It was a desperately tedious time in an operation that had been planned out for weeks with everything on the line…and it was all about to go down in flames.  One call whether right or wrong on both the part of the sniper and the commander (pardon me if I got the terms/titles wrong!) could make history for better or worse.  The moment comes.  The order is given.  The choice is made.  The outcome…not what you’d expect from an upstanding soldier so highly regarded amongst his peers and yet you may have a hard time condemning him.  (You’ll have to decide for yourself…)

It’s that unexpected edge, that twist you didn’t see coming that keeps this story moving as the off-the-grid officers check off those on their list that have definitely been naughty, not nice.  They are an elite group of misfits (hey, if the shoe fits…) specially trained by the world’s finest to carry out the dirty deeds those ahead of them would or could not accomplish.  It puts them in peril time and again while giving you a party to root for along the way.  We’re not talking elephants and donkeys here either…I’m talking about the Outcasts themselves. 

Their leader and our narrator is Alex; his partners in crime are Pancho, John, and Cat.  Each have a story they could tell that led them to their current assignment, but I will not divulge that here.  What I will share is that whilst this motley crew of officers starts off rubbing each other the wrong way, they grow to be a cohesive unit; each watching the others back and for some…even a little more.  Yes, there is a bit of a romance as well as bromance (ha!  Sounds funny coming from me even as I type it…) but those “human” aspects are what help us to connect even more with them.  Alex’s back story of how he came to be a soldier will bring a tear to your eye, while John’s makes you wonder about people sometimes.  Pancho is a go with the flow kinda guy but can always be counted on to come through when it counts and Cat, well there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye and that depth was much appreciated.  Now, on to the story…

As you can tell from the synopsis up there, it’s centered in the here and now around events much like those that played out both on American soil and afar.  The look it gives you “behind enemy lines” is startling, downright scary at times.  To think that some people actually teach their children to be that way, to act as if they are superior to one and all, to forgo their fellow man if it doesn’t suit their needs in the present moment…it sickens me.  The acts carried out without a second glance, without even a spare thought for the countless lives that it would change were astounding.  I suppose those on the other side of the coin could look at these events and be thinking those thoughts right back at us…but that’s not a topic I’m even going to attempt to broach.  Moving on…

Let’s talk about the ending …now that was horse of another color and something I needed to work through before I wrote this review.  The rest of the story is so action packed between the plotting and the carrying out of plans, the chasing and the running, the hits and near misses that the final scene, kinda put me out.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of chase and “OMG-are-they-gonna-make-it” moments, but the actual face off was just kind of …POOF …one of us is over.  It could have ruined the book for me actually, especially since it’s over 300 pages; who wants to read that much and then be let down, you know?’s the part I had to consider.  This work of fiction was written by those that have been in situations similar to that which is described in the book at some point or another in their careers. That scene, that big build up and then a quick over and out for one of the parties, is probably more realistic than most of those we read.  Does it mean it should have been so less dramatic in a work of fiction?  No…but it stands to reason, they wrote what they know and with everything else considered, I still enjoyed the work overall.

In conclusion because I know you’re just dying for me to hush up already so you can get along with your day, this is definitely one for the boys…AND the girls!  If you like stories of good versus evil (check!), stories that introduce you to characters that are a bit rough around the edges but mean well in the end (check!), and stories filled with action that’ll have you on the edge of your seat numerous times (sometimes, check!)…this is definitely one to add to your wish list.  With enough military ins and outs to satisfy the guys and enough heart for the ladies, it’s a worldwide trek to the ends of the earth and back in the name of those three things we hold dear; life…liberty…and the pursuit of happiness.

Review copy courtesy of Ayelet at Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster.  (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to visit them online, like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  Looking to connect with the authors?  Feel free to click on any of the links embedded within this post.  This book was released May of this year and should be readily available on a bookstore shelf near you.  Now remember, this is the start of their fiction read all about Wasdin's real life story, check out Seal Team Six.

Until next time…happy reading!


Felicity Grace Terry said...

A different kind of read from your usual, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book which sounds wonderfully descriptive.

Anna said...

You gave such a great, intriguing intro to this review and book that now I want to read it. Thanks!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

I like characters with rough edges and good verse evil..i don't even mind all that weapons talk...LOL Great review cupcake!

Melanie said...

Good vs evil reads are classic. This one sounds good.

When I first saw your post title, I was thinking of Martina McBride's song. :D

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Sounds so interesting! Wow. Thanks for the review.

So many books, so little time said...

Have never heard of this one but it sounds interesting. Thanks for the honest review.


Gina said...

Petty Witter: Thanks!

Anna: Woo-hoo!

kimbacaffeinate: Great...might just be a great fit for you.

Melanie: LOL...didn't dawn on me til you mentioned it... ^_^

Melissa: My pleasure.

So many books: Thanks for stopping by!

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