Situation Reports (SITREP‘s) 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.
1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it. Gentleman, thank you for your service to our country. Do you miss serving?
JEFF: I miss serving almost every day. I absolutely love my life— my time with my family, my work with Brian, my ability to serve the military community through our church—but there is still this yearning. It’s not a need for adrenaline, or a desire for adventure, or a love of war. It’s missing the comradery and sense of purpose of the military, especially during a deployment. You hear about WWII vets who came home, picked up where they left life off, and rarely talked about it again. I think the reason it’s different for us, is this war isn’t over. I still have men I consider brothers who are out there on the pointy tip of the spear, and it’s hard to be home, drinking a latte and working on my computer, knowing I should maybe be there with them. I think that’s why, in some ways, its harder for us to walk away.
BRIAN: My own sentiments closely echo Jeff’s. I miss the comradery most of all, but I also miss the daily sense of purpose. What I mean by that is when you’re in the military, from the moment you wake up to the time you finally get to close your eyes at the end of the workday, you’re serving a higher calling. To put on the uniform means you are obligated to try to embody the ideals that the uniform stands for: in the case of the Navy and Marine Corps that means Honor, Commitment, and Courage. And the same holds true for all the men and women serving with you. As a civilian, finding purpose is very much a personal endeavor. I think for me, remembering my service and reflecting on it helps to keep that engine of daily purpose running. Without my service, I can’t help but wonder what kind of person I would be today.
2. You two gentleman broke my Blast Radius rating scale, first of all – How dare you! Just kidding. Congratulations on another absolutely bad ass novel. Lots of moving parts, trying to keep it spoiler free. But how long has Collateral, everything that happens been in the works? I mean, World War III is literally one Naval accidental discharge away at one point.
BRIAN: Collateral is the first novel we “war-gamed out” and let me tell you that was really fun. So fun, in fact, that we worked it into the dialogue by having the characters in the book war-game the exact scenarios we plotted. And in our typical Andrews & Wilson fashion, you get to see this from the senior leadership level and from the perspective of the warriors at the pointy end of the spear. It’s one thing for the brass in the Pentagon to come up with a scenario and then issue directives, it’s another to be the sailors and soldiers who have to carry those orders out. Both the leadership and the troopers are worried about escalation. They all see the risks that one wrong move could send this thing snowballing out of control. Unlike our previous books, in COLLATERAL we involve broader assets outside the covert operations sphere. We have an Arleigh Burke DDG, Marine F-35’s and Air Force F-22’s all playing a role and facing off against Russian Kilos, Guided Missile Frigates, and Migs in the Black Sea. Apparently, the effort paid off because…we broke the Blast Radius. (humble bow)
JEFF: As you know, Slaven, we always work in a three book, trilogy style arc, so we knew vaguely where we were headed. But the real escalation to world war level aggression was something that evolved naturally as we wrote this book. We wanted incredibly high stakes, since we are dealing here with black ops war between super powers, and I hope we achieved that. And, like Brian said, we can’t apologize enough for breaking the Blast Radius scale, but that is for sure the best compliment we have received yet.
3. I’m excited for the next novella in your origin’s series featuring Elizabeth Grimes. How many votes did she get?
JEFF: (laughs) I will tell you that she did not win by a narrow margin. Grimes is one of our favorite characters and one with quite an arc in her development, so finding her to be a fan favorite is very rewarding. She’s come a long way from the cynical pain in the ass she was in book 1 to the bad ass operator and sniper she is now. Grimes is, in many ways, now the very heart of the team.
She had quite an emotional ordeal in Collateral. Without giving everything away, can you elaborate on how that scene played out and why?
BRIAN: Ah yes, that scene… every once in a while, leaders find themselves in a situation where they are forced to make a decision that they simply cannot justify or explain to all of the parties the decision impacts. The very nature of covert operations—where information is classified and compartmentalized up and down the chain of command—creates this knotty problem. And I’m not talking about the old “if I tell you I’ll have to kill you” shtick. The reality is more nuanced than that. Often, multiple agencies or groups are working on different elements of the same problem—not read into each other’s work, but all the info flowing up the chain. At the top, decisions are made with full knowledge but at the lower levels there is incomplete information that can make a leader’s decision seem incompetent, expedient, or even potentially treasonous. That’s exactly what’s going on in this pivotal scene.
JEFF: That’s exactly right. Her emotional turmoil has to do with nothing other than loyalty to her team, and this team is as much like a family as it’s possible to get without sharing DNA. We feel bad putting her in that position, and we hint in the ending why it was important, but it will become much more clear next year in book 7.
4. I mentioned in my review how Kelso Jarvis reluctantly got a promotion. That was a big surprise, I especially like President Petrov’s reaction. Was that in the works since day one or did it happen somewhere along the way?
JEFF: I’m not sure we envisioned this exact path for Jarvis, but we always knew that he, like all the characters, would need to evolve, change, grow, and face new challenges. For him, this is in many ways the ultimate challenge. Just like the other evolutions we discussed, we had vague plans for him, but this path evolved organically as we wrote these last two books. For sure as we wrapped up RED SPECTER his path began to form in our minds.
BRIAN: With a character like Jarvis (and even more so with Dempsey) promotion is a double-edged sword. The question Jarvis is asking himself in COLLATERAL is am I getting promoted or am I getting “promoted.” For a man as complex, self-aware, and competent as Kelso Jarvis career progression is not something he wants to happen to him. In other words, he wants to be the skipper of the USS Jarvis and drive that ship. When you’re already at his level, getting promoted by definition means a change in mission. His promotion in Collateral is one he does not want, but as a patriot and man of principle he has no choice but to accept.
5. What’s next for John Dempsey and Team Ember?
BRIAN: Dempsey still has one piece of unfinished business to take care of after COLLATERAL. Book 7 is going to focus on that in a very close and personal way for Dempsey. After that, I have a feeling geopolitical events are going to shift Task Force Ember’s attention to a different part of the globe—somewhere they haven’t operated yet in the series were the stakes are higher than ever. Is that fair to say, Jeff?
JEFF: Oh, for sure! Dempsey and the entire team are characters in almost constant evolution. Like Brian teased, there is a big pivot for John Dempsey in book 7, and you should expect to see him and the entire Ember team evolve into something new and even deadlier.
6. You don’t have to tell me specifics, but with every new book I feel like we’re inching closer and closer to something big with Jake Kemper. Am I on the right track?
BRIAN: Your instincts are correct. From the time we grew his character in WAR SHADOWS, we knew it would be impossible to not have his arc eventually intersect that of his father. The angst, awkwardness, and emotional potential of such an intersection is simply too juicy to ignore. No spoilers on the details, but we can definitely tell you that, yes, you’re on the right track!
7. Lieutenant Commander Keith “CHUNK” Redman makes an appearance in Collateral. When can we expect to see him again?
BRIAN: Well, we’re super excited to get your help spreading the news which I believe you broke first—that Chunk and his boys from SEAL Team Four are getting their very own series, coming next June from Blackstone Publishing. Chunk has been a fan favorite since back in WAR SHADOWS where readers first met him, and we’re beyond excited for him to take the helm in SONS OF VALOR.
JEFF: As the Tier One Series evolved, very early on it became obvious to us that, after the loss of the entire Tier One SEAL Team in book 1, there would eventually be a team stood up to replace them and fill that void. As fan excitement about Chunk and his team of SEALs increased, we made the easy decision to plot out a separate, shared universe series that could fill that void with these characters. Rick Bleiweiss at Blackstone was very excited and enthusiastic to have the series land at his house, and we are thrilled with the team there. Look for Chunk and his boys to stand up their new Tier One Team and respond immediately to a short fuse crisis of global proportions in June of 2021!
8. When Tier One is complete with the origins novella’s, do you think you’ll do the same thing for Sons of Valor?
JEFF: Great question! It has been a delight to begin sharing the back stories of the Tier One characters in the Origins novella series. Short fiction is a real challenge, but extremely fun. As this new series gets into the hands of readers and they get to know Chunk and his team better, I think we would totally be open to more novellas to explore their backstories.
BRIAN: Nothing is off the table. If the fans want it, we’ll write it.
9. So, there was some very exciting news from you guys recently related to the WEB Griffin estate. Can you share some more details, and then address just how in the hell you will write four unique series simultaneously? Do you guys have a cabinet full of Provigil somewhere?
BRIAN: Well, we’re absolutely thrilled to confirm that we have signed a deal with Tom Colgan at Penguin/Random house and the WEB Griffin estate to carry on WEB Griffin’s PRESIDENTIAL AGENT Series! Book 8 in that series came out six years ago, and being invited to get Charley Castillo back into the war on terror is both exciting and humbling. To write for the iconic WEB Griffin is intimidating of course, but we’re excited to get him back into the thick of it and I think we’ve got a book that will please fans of the original series and bring new readers to the books as well. I’ll let Jeff field the Provigil questions (laughing).
JEFF: Adding the PRESIDENTIAL AGENT series to our list is both flattering and daunting, obviously. I won’t speak for Brian about Provigil use, but I’m tackling this all natural! All kidding aside, with this series added to TIER ONE, SONS OF VALOR, and our newest contract for the faith based thriller series THE SHEPHERDS also coming next year from Tyndale House our time is becoming very precious. It’s meant being very intentional with our time management and planning our writing schedules very strictly, but so far we’re up to the challenge and we look forward to getting a ton of books out to our readers over the next few years.
10. What upcoming novel are you guys very excited about from a different author?
BRIAN: Great question. There are so many exciting, action packed thrillers on my reading list. I just picked up Ward Larsen’s ASSASSIN’S STRIKE which I can’t wait to dig into. On the horizon, I’m pumped for Chris Hauty’s SAVAGE ROAD which is a follow up to his hit DEEP STATE, and also Don Bentley’s THE OUTSIDE MAN which comes out March 2021.
JEFF: I second all those picks and definitely want to weigh in on this action. Tom Young’s SILVER WINGS IRON CROSS is a truly epic WWII era thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed every page and I highly recommend everyone pick up a copy. And as far as future books, I’m chomping at the bit for Josh Hood’s next book, THE TREADSTONE EXILE which is going to be incredible. RELENTLESS, which is Mark Greaney’s next Gray Man book is also on my pre-order list.
Lima Charlie Review for COLLATERAL
Decorated Navy Veterans and authors, Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson are back with their sixth Tier One novel, Collateral. The writing duo have created this series that is six novels deep, a novella series centered around each prominent member in the series in their younger days. And a new series featuring fan favorite Navy Seal Lieutenant Commander Keith “Chunk” Redman called Sons of Valor is coming soon.
Ember, America’s premier black ops task force was attacked, many died. That was towards the end of last year’s Red Specter, one of the best thrillers of 2019. John Dempsey was hunting Zeta Prime, Valerian. What he wasn’t aware of though is that Spetsgruppa Zeta, Ember’s evil Russian twin was hunting them as well. Utilizing a highly placed mole, Russian spymaster Arkady Zhukov was quite successful attacking Ember HQ and killing many of their members.
Dempsey, Munn, Martin, and Grimes, the four surviving members of Ember SAD, are neck deep into their current mission, which is getting rid of Spetsgruppa Zeta. With a certain advantage on their side, similar to the type Arkady Zhukov had in Red Specter which gave his Zeta’s the insight into attacking Ember. Dempsey and team are hunting Zeta’s around the world, but what they really want to do is kill the head of the snake, Arkady Zhukov.
The new Zeta Prime, Gavriil Osinov is tasked with a new mission. He adopts a new legend, having infiltrated Ultra, an extreme Ukrainian right-wing nationalist group that have some very ambitious political destabilizing goals. He ensures their goals are met and due to some creative and cruel planning by the Russian President, President Vladimir Petrov, Russia is also made to look like a victim. Utilizing those views, he sends his Navy into the region and “peace keeping” troops that are tasked with anything but peace keeping.
While Russia is surrounding Ukraine with its Navy and sending troops into their cities with orders to destabilize the region, nothing is as it seems. No one is who they pretend to be. With official Ukraine military and law enforcement uniforms easily procured, anyone and everyone can be a hostile. While Dempsey and team is sent into the heart of Ukraine to rescue a small team of CIA analysts working under a the disguise of a logistics company. Leaving those seven souls is not an option, absolutely no one wants another Benghazi on their watch.
Collateral is full of small unit battles, large scale naval warfare on the horizon, and aerial battles to achieve air superiority. comparable to New York Time bestselling novel, Red Metal by Mark Greaney and Retired USMC Lieutenant Colonel Rip Rawlings. With World War III imminent, all the players in place, the only thing that stands in the way is Ember and their former Director, Kelso Jarvis, who reluctantly got himself another promotion.
A Lima Charlie review scale tops out at a Nuclear Bomb! But Collateral is something out of this world, therefore, this review is one of a kind. Damage equivalent to a global catastrophe. The only thing that comes to mind is an Armageddon causing asteroid hitting earth. This novel, this series is an absolute must read.
Author: Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Series: John Dempsey ‘Tier One’ Series # 6
Publisher: Amazon / Blackstone
Release Date: September 1, 2020;
Follow Andrews & Wilson on Twitter: @BAndrewsJWilson
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: ARMAGEDDON! – Damage equivalent to a global catastrophe that we CANNOT recover from.
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.