Michael “MJ” Joseph, the protagonist in this debut thriller is an absolute bad ass. What I love most about MJ is his come up, a rare thing to see the protagonist come up and be able to stand out among Tier One operators from teams, such as SEAL’s or Delta units without having a military background himself. In fact, the only ones that comes to mind is Mitch Rapp & Court ‘The Gray Man’ Gentry. Rapp’s come up, training, and usage of aliases (Iron-Man) to hide the fact that he’s America’s best weapon against terrorism is the same vibe I got while reading America’s Game. MJ, while usually working on his own, conducting solo missions all over the world does have to work with a team once in a while. In America’s Game, it was former DEVGRU Tier One operator, Spencer & his team. While a bad ass in his own right, MJ is better. Another comparison I noticed, in Vince Flynn’s Executive Power. See below! (I have read the Mitch Rapp series in its entirety many times, and I immediately thought of this.
If you know me, I rarely if ever compare a character to Mitch Rapp. My absolute favorite character. Saying that, a similar situation did present itself and MJ knew his training, tactics, experience and overall skills were better suited to take out the enemy, even when compared to the Tier One operators he was working with.
So, who is MJ? Someone who reminds me a bit of myself actually. Not in the arrogant way that it may sound like. But I myself joined the United States Marine Corps due to the terrorist attack on 9/11, like many other service members that joined, I was angry and wanted to take the fight to the enemy. MJ, while doing some research into the military went a slightly different route. After losing his entire family on that tragic day his dad’s best friend Rich Henderson, a former member of DEVGRU decided to take MJ under his wing and hone him into a killing machine. Prior to 9/11, MJ had trained daily with a dream of becoming an MMA fighter. He had extensive training in Karate, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Krav Maga. Once he got involved with Henderson, his training went to a whole different level. Learning weapons training with blades, pistols, rifles, and explosives. He was proficient in shooting with his strong hand and his “other strong hand” as they didn’t believe in weakness when it came to his training. He learned to climb, fast rope, defensive driving skills, situational awareness, surveillance and counterintelligence techniques, and finally language skills from many foreign countries. He is America’s best kept secret, working for the CIA. A secret weapon no one knows about. Not even the president of the United States. MJ has the skills, the drive and experience to take the fight to the enemy and in America’s Game, he does just that. It doesn’t matter if MJ is in a European urban environment, the deserts of Iraq, or the mountains of Afghanistan. His level of experience, training, and his drive gave him the upper hand. As I mentioned, he lost his entire family due to 9/11. He and his family lived in Brooklyn, New York, his mom worked for American Bank on the eighty-first floor of the North Tower. His older brother was a firefighter with Battalion 1 of the FDNY, his crew was one of the first on the scene. His father, while at home and safe from the physical attack lost himself in the bottle and went downhill after that tragic day.
America’s Game starts with MJ & his team capturing a terrorist bomb-maker. From there, they gather more intel and learn there is an imminent attack that will occur soon. The attack is planned almost flawlessly, only by the grace of some good luck, hard work by the entire intelligence community that they get a lead and from there, MJ and his team are on their track. Initially, they’re always just a bit too late, and the terrorists succeed in their first wave of attacks, setting off multiple explosives on a packed cruise ship. Their next target, a college campus is almost successful, the authorities get the word out in time to evacuate the campus, but the explosives still go off and there are a few casualties, but definitely not as bad as it could be. Their final attack – blow up the famous rivalry college football game between Army and the Navy. Were they successful? Killing that many people, to include thousands of service members in attendance would put a serious victory in the eyes of the jihadists. Pick up this awesome new thriller from Chris Hall and find out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
America’s Game also has a few espionage types of scandals the president and his administrations must deal with. An overzealous left-sided Senator from California, a Secretary of State that can’t keep it in his pants, a reporter that’s willing to do ‘anything’ for the story. And China’s propaganda machine driving the issue with their high-tech surveillance equipment and long-term goals, they provide the evidence needed for the American news outlets to eat it up and question the integrity of the President and his administration.
Other supporting characters include Director of CIA, David Mills. A hands-on type of director who always crosses the T’s and dots the I’s before anyone even knew the T or I were bring written, proving to be very capable and effective in his roll. Then, there is CIA’s top analyst, Harper Collins. A computer genius in her own right. Harper is known as the best computer tech in the CIA & NSA, maybe even best in the world. Graduating at the top of her class in Harvard, CIA Director Mills recruiter her as soon as she hit her senior year in college, she wasn’t sure initially, knowing she could make a very handsome salary in the private sector, she ultimately made the choice to join the CIA knowing her days would never be boring and she would be putting her skills to good use. Without her, MJ and team would not have been able to make the gains they made in catching up to the terrorists. To say she’s essential would be an understatement.
With threats hitting America from multiple angles, the terrorists I mentioned on their well planned, well-funded jihad. The Chinese secretly quarterbacking a scandal, the Senator from California with her own political agenda for the future. America’s Game never has a dull moment. Constantly upping the stakes, putting you, the reader at the edge of your seat. This new political thriller doesn’t read like a debut novel from a new author, but a seasoned one with many years of experience under his belt. I highly recommend America’s Game and look forward to more high-stakes adventures from his new hero, Michael “MJ” Joseph and you should too.
Author: Chris Hall
Series: Michael “MJ” Joseph #1
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Follow Chris on Twitter: @AuthorChrisHall
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: A DIRTY BOMB (9/10) – This type of bomb kills immediately & continues to kill rendering the land useless for a long time.
About the Author
Chris Hall comes from a martial arts background. He has been training for twenty years in Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga. In his research for his novels, he has traveled to many states and countries and trained alongside military and law enforcement in the use of firearms (pistol and carbine), first aid, and close-range combative tactics.
He currently lives is Pennsylvania where he pursues his two passions; running a Martial Arts school, teaching kids and adults, and writing. When he’s not training or writing, you can find him spending quality time with his family, reading books from his favorite authors (Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Ben Coes, Mark Greaney, Brad Taylor, Dan Brown), watching shows (currently, SEAL Teams on CBS) or watching action movies like John Wick.