Red Specter, the fifth in the Tier One series by two decorated veterans and talented authors, Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson. A quick recap, the series started with Tier One (2016). “In a world violated by terror, the old lines have blurred. Meet the next generation of covert ops.” Followed by, War Shadows (2017). “From the deserts of Iraq, through the jungles of Guatemala, to the streets of suburbia, Dempsey and his Ember team race against time to stop a series of horrific and devious attacks against the homeland.” The third in the series, Crusader One (2017). “Racing from Tel Aviv to Tehran, the elite American warrior and his formidable Israeli counterpart must forsake their backup in a capture-or-kill gambit that could turn into a suicide run.” Next, the novel which introduced me to this series, American Operator, (2018). “An explosive, high-stakes thriller of espionage and counterterrorism.” This novel earned itself a Blast Radius of a Dirty Bomb! (9.25/10) on our review scale and turned me into a big fan of these two authors.
Ember, America’s premier black-ops task force, operating in the shadows with an almost unlimited budget, led by former Navy SEAL John Dempsey. ‘Dempsey use to be a tool of the Joint Special Operations Command, fulfilling a role as one of America’s most lethal special operators. Now, he was a tactical spook, an operator playing dress-up and taking on the identity the mission demanded.’ This sounds very cool, what could go wrong in a world where such task force exists and are running around the globe preventing attacks and taking out bad guys.
What if there was another similar entity, nothing like ideological terrorists they’ve hunted majority of their lives, but someone organized, well-funded, led by a tactician, a man living in shadows, hasn’t been heard of in decades or photographed. This individual would be the worlds most dangerous adversary. This man, Arkady Zhukov is the man behind Spetsgruppa Zeta. The evil Ember twin, with matching resources, capabilities, and autonomy. This is the group responsible for the failed attack on the American base in Turkey that targeted the nuclear silo, this group was behind the kidnapping and torture of Amanda Allen, and it was them who attempted to assassinate the President of the United States and the Director of National Intelligence. With a group of highly trained operators, or Zeta’s. Top in their ranks, is Zeta Prime. Valerian Kobak, aka Malik, the legend he was currently occupying.
Red Specter picks up about a month after the events of American Operator and nothing new is on task force Ember’s agenda, their sole mission is finding Malik. Grasping at straws and utilizing questionable means to get to him see’s Dempsey and crew get into a jam that almost cost them their lives. Adopting a known legend themselves and meeting with an arms dealer with close ties to Malik has Red Specter opens with a dangerous fire fight. With spectacular action, and movie like action sequence that has you at the edge of your seat. The biggest highlight however is Grimes, call sign God, behind the scope of her Heckler & Koch M110A1 sniper rifle she preferred. This Compact Semi-Auto Sniper System (CSASS) has a 16-inch-long barrel and weighs in at 8.7 pounds, it utilizes a 7.62×51 NATO round and has an effective range of 800 meters and muzzle velocity of 783 meters per second. Grimes utilized her known skills and sends some death down range in this battle.
Next we have Zeta Prime, Valerian. Currently running around as Malik, his adopted legend. He’s described as Dempsey’s twin. Formidable, strong, fast, and just as determined. As Zeta Prime, he’s the best of the best, as this designator isn’t handed out, it’s earned. It took him ten years to ascend to the top of the field operations hierarchy. In this organization, there are others who are yearning for the top spot. Valerian makes it clear he wouldn’t give it up as long as his heart is beating but being Zeta Prime is the top of their food chain and there are always people wanting that crown. What makes Andrews and Wilson stand out among other thriller writers is their perspective on the bad guy. In the Tier One series, you get to know the bad guys just as intimately as the good guys. You know what drives them, what their goal is, what their personal lives are almost as if they were the main character. In Red Specter, Malik is an emotional mess. Having been bested by Dempsey, he’s working under a renewed determination to beat the American Operator that made him come apart, psychologically and emotionally.
The fifth novel in the Tier One series by Andrews and Wilson is their best one yet, earning itself a Blast Radius of a Nuclear Bomb! Red Specter starts with immediate action and it never stops. With fire fights, close quarters combat, hand to hand fights all over the world, including Russia and the U.S. Utilizing new, state of the art gear, suspense, action, surprises and top-notch writing. Red Specter is among the very best thrillers 2019 has to offer, I highly recommend you pre-order this gem and add it to your reading list. While it works just fine as a standalone novel, the series as whole is fantastic and if you haven’t read them yet, you would be in for a treat.
Author: Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Series: John Dempsey ‘Tier One’ Series #5
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Follow Andrews & Wilson on Twitter: @BAndrewsJWilson
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: A NUCLEAR BOMB! (10/10) – The potential here is death on a global scale, nothing is scarier than a nuke. This is the best rating a book can get.
About the Authors
Brian Andrews is a US Navy veteran and nuclear engineer who served as an officer on a fast-attack submarine in the Pacific. He is a Park Leadership Fellow, has a master’s degree in business from Cornell, and holds a psychology degree from Vanderbilt. He is a husband, father, and advocate of planetary stewardship. He would like to someday take a walk about on Mars.
Jeffrey Wilson has at one time worked as an actor, a firefighter, a paramedic, a jet pilot, a diving instructor, a Naval Officer, and a Vascular and Trauma Surgeon. He also served numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy combat surgeon, deploying with an east coast-based SEAL Team as part of a Joint Special Operations Task Force.
He is the co-author, with Brian Andrews, of the Wall Street Journal and Amazon #1 Bestselling TIER ONE series of thrillers from Thomas & Mercer, including TIER ONE, WAR SHADOWS, CRUSADER ONE, and AMERICAN OPERATOR. He and Andrews also Co-author the Nick Foley Thriller Series, written under the pseudonym Alex Ryan, from Crooked Lane Books, which includes BEIJING RED and HONG KONG BLACK.
He is the author of three award winning Supernatural thrillers from Journal Stone Publishing: THE TRAITEUR’S RING (2011), THE DONORS (2012), and FADE TO BLACK (2013).
He is also the author of the faith based, inspirational war time novel WAR TORN.
Jeff and his wife, Wendy, are Virginia natives who, with children Ashley, Emma, Jack, and Connor, call Tampa, Florida home. He still works as a Vascular Surgeon and as a consultant for the Department of Defense when not hard at work on his next book.