Situation Reports (SITREP) are sent to commanders by request, scheduled, or situational necessity. Proper SITREP’s provide decision makers and readers a quick and clear understanding of the current situation.
With a proper SITREP, commanders of ground forces maintain critical situational awareness.
- First, thank you for your service. A career dedicated to freedom should be recognized even if your personal contributions cannot since I’m assuming they’re mostly all classified.
Thanks, but I can’t say I think of it as service. I enjoyed my time doing counterterrorism work, had very few personal sacrifices, and was in relative safety the whole time. It was my dream job and I did it out of personal passion. I hope what I was involved with made a difference, and my biggest contributions were simply giving the job 110% so people who were in harms way came home (Albeit not the “bad guys”).
- How did you come up with the plot for The Presence of Evil?
My publishing contract called for three books. The first one and the third one I had already fleshed out. The second one, Presence of Evil, had to be a bridge. I wasn’t traveling much at the time aside from New York, which has been overdone with terror plots, so I decided to bring it back home to Chicago. Write what you know, and I thought a nice convergence of evil set around St. Patrick’s Day would be real fun. The city is a drunken mess and cops are working overtime, which made for a good stir of the pot.
- What type of research did you do for this novel?
I don’t think I had to do much research at all. One of my drinking buddies is a nuclear physicist at one of the local plants, so we discussed some things over a few pints. I did have to drive into the rough and impoverished Lawndale neighborhoods for some site tours to assess streets and buildings. I’m in the FBI Field Office fairly regularly, so fitting that in (as appropriate) to the Lawndale and UIC area and story was also pretty easy. In short, I just drove around my town deciding what to break.
- As a writer, is it difficult to kill a character?
Yes and no. I am not a very structured writer, but I do create a loose outline. If I can’t see how a character fits in, I leave some of the outline open. If I’m writing and the situation presents itself as something plausible given the circumstances, away we go. Game of Thrones was pretty good template for freeing up the opportunity or rather the reality of danger in character worlds. Some characters I would like to have used later in other books, but it seemed artificial to keep them as a favorite. I remember the first time watching the movie To Live and Die in LA when what I thought was a main character was blown away. That has always stuck with me as both shocking and cool but a reality for that storyline.
- Your novels tackle PTSD and this one particularly ponders a bit into veteran suicide. Can you elaborate on the topic from a real-world perspective and what it means to you?
I have no personal affliction, but a number of my friends do. I’ve seen how a good number of them were drinking pretty heavily a decade ago and were in and out of marriages. Many of them are now seeking help. Through social media, however, I started seeing an increasing amount of acquaintances succumb to suicide. In particular, the coming out of many Deltas who have been staring over that cliff was pretty sobering. It only seemed right to address it in the books since it is the reality of combat elites, especially those who have been on multiple high-speed deployments. I’m not trying to make a statement or be an arm’s length advocate, as someone who was never in combat, but I’d like to support them. PTSD and veteran suicide are a reality, and I can’t see how you write a military thriller based on dark realism if it isn’t incorporated as part of that fabric and grim reality.
- What’s next for Drake?
This is a tough question. I really like Drake’s character. The reality of military thrillers is that a lot of readers like less complexity and want white hat heroes. That’s not Drake. The other aspect that is both a blessing and a curse is doing the Task Force Orange focus with more technology and high-end commo. Here, too, is a stumbling point because a lot of readers have expressed wanting less tech and needing more guns. Being innovative is great with a TFO storyline, but if it isn’t selling books or gaining readership, maybe it isn’t the right time. One thing is for sure, I don’t want Drake to have a Rambo novel ending. I owe it to him to find a happier place. Where that is and what it looks like is the story I’m laboring over in this saturated marketplace of the status quo.
- What do you do with your time when you’re not writing?
That’s 95% of my time. To pay the bills I’m a cyber security practice leader for a professional services business unit. Traveling and keeping that work going is a massive time commitment. On the home front, my wife and I are usually tag teaming the kids’ activities ranging from high school show choir trips, travel club and high school volleyball, and club soccer. We’re also in college search now for my oldest ones. We’re just doing life.
- With Lima Charlie, I get to work with a lot of up and coming authors. What advice do you have for someone trying to get published?
I don’t want to give bad advice, but I’ll throw out there not to be afraid to go it on your own. Publishers and agents are looking for diamonds. Until they find that superstar they have to go through a process slinging buckets of mud against the wall to see if a diamond will stick. Having done both indie and traditional publishing, it’s better to have control of your own destiny than be a second or third tier author who gives up all rights and control and not receive the attention or pay out just to have your book pushed through the system. If you’ve got a good book, take a few months trying to get an agent and if you land one, see if you can get a decent book deal. If you can’t, go it on your own. For military thrillers and espionage, timeliness to world events is fairly important. Waiting a year to get an agent and then another to get your book published is a death spiral for world event relevancy. Of course, if I had a six-figure book deal with a major publishing house, I’m sure I’d flip my opinion in a heartbeat.
- What are the last three books you’ve read and what is on your TBR stack?
I recently finished Stephen King’s Outsider and Jack Murphy’s Murphy’s Law. I have a couple Chris Ryan SAS books in the works. My TBR stack is honestly my own first two novels as I wrap up writing the third in that series, Presidential Retreat. I’ve forgotten details or Easter Eggs that I dropped in the prior novels and have to refresh my memory and want to ensure that I didn’t miss anything or take the story in a direction that screwed up some detail that was critical to a character or timeline. I’m also looking forward to Josh Hood’s new Treadstone book. I know how hard he worked on that one and I love his writing. I’m also trying to get my hands on my pal Joe Goldberg‘s new Spy Devils story. Joe is shopping it around now, and I know it’s going to be a great read based on his background.
- You’re trapped on an island, you have one book, one weapon, and one personal item (Non-electronic) with you. What are they?
I’d say War and Peace or In Search of Lost Time. Those books have 1,392 and roughly 4,500 pages, respectively. I’d want something big to burn until I was rescued. Probably then have to go with a knife and magnesium flint fire starter. But if I was trapped on an inhabited Hawaiian island, I’d be fine with a new Stephen King book, a KRISS Vector, and bottle of Horse Soldier Bourbon by American Freedom Distillery.
Our Review for The Presence of Evil
J.T. Patten is back with his second Task Force Orange novel, The Presence of Evil. Writing under a pseudonym due to his long successful career in the intelligence community. Some notable work he shares in his bio reads like Mitch Rapp’s biography. Having spent a lot of time in the Middle East, including being a notable authority on Iran and the IRGC, as well as the Qods Force, cyber threat detection, financial crimes, irregular and unconventional warfare strategies in counterterrorism, intel collection, and social network disruption. I’m not telling you to give it a good rating on Amazon & Goodreads, but if you don’t this author has the skill and capability to hack your account and do it himself.
The Presence of Evil sees our favorite hero / villain still being hunted by the beautiful FBI agent Tresa Halliday. Even though she received the recognition for saving the Secretary of State publicly, from the events that took place in Buried in Black. Her supervisors encouraged her to continue the hunt and bring these rogue operators down. When we first see SA Halliday, she’s at a bar and Patten managed to interject some humor into his writing.
This Task Force Orange novel starts off with a tragedy, as if Drake Woolf hasn’t suffered enough. For this one however, the man from Orange is actually present and due to the way the events unfolded, he feels responsible for what happened. Which only exacerbate his already fragile mind and he spirals downhill really quickly, toying around with certain aspects of PTSD that are prominent in many veterans in the real world today.
Driven only by the mission, he pushes forward into the streets of Chicago, hunting and using some very formidable skills to try and prevent a mass attack on the public. Up against dangerous Iranian Assassins, Venezuelan terrorists, and his brother. Drake is in The Presence of Evil, and the only way out is for him to kill them all. But he has to accomplish this before he’s caught or killed, before he gives in to the battle within, before his brother gets to him. This fast-paced thriller is clearly written by someone who has been there and done that. Capturing you in each scene, putting danger in the crosshairs with time running out.
Don’t just read it, get read in into the blacker than black world that J.T. Patten use to occupy and now writes about. With so much real-world experience under his belt, Patten’s writing includes bad ass action, emotional turmoil, violence, and those real-world battle scars veterans are walking around with daily. As a reader, I can see how much growth this author has accomplished getting better and better with each novel he writes, this series is one you don’t want to miss out on.
Author: J.T. Patten
Series: Drake Woolf – A Task Force Orange Novel # 2
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Follow J.T. Patten on Twitter: @JTPattenBooks
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.
Other work from J.T. Patten
Drake Woolf – A Task Force Orange novel #1
Safe Havens #1
Safe Havens #2
About the Author
“J.T. Patten” has worked in counterterrorism intelligence mission support of national defense and policy initiatives. He has a degree in Foreign Language, a Masters in Strategic Intelligence, graduate studies in Counter Terrorism from the University of St. Andrews, and expertise in mobile device and cyber security, forensics, and financial crime investigations. Patten shares a combination of these unique experiences with readers to give them a taste of “the black.”
His novels are known for being blacker than black, literally reading in his fans to a compelling inside view of larger than life covert activities in addition to the gripping turmoil that warriors suffer while battling foes and internal demons. All the while twisting plots and characters to slow burn the reader until they are entirely engulfed in flames.
Readers who enjoy dark military and espionage thrillers such as Brad Taylor, Mark Greaney, Jason Kasper, Tim Tigner, CG Cooper, and J.B. Turner, will love Patten’s raw narrative and brave dialogue in an authentic ride into black ops assassinations, counter terrorism, and conspiracy.