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RSW Living Magazine

Why You Just Have to Read Jack Carr's Thrillers

Apr 21, 2020 02:17PM ● By Patricia Letakis

Author Jack Carr and his unrelenting character James Reece bring a new dimension to the thriller genre

Southwest Florida was introduced to author Jack Carr during the 2020 Southwest Florida Reading Festival held in early March at the downtown Fort Myers Regional Library. The diverse line-up of nationally recognized authors for adults, teens and children included adult  writers Jack Carr, Lincoln Child, Michael Koryta, William Kent Krueger and Erik Larson, among others.

“We are really honored to share these authors with the community and provide readers and fans the opportunity to meet the writers personally and learn more about their work,” noted festival organizer Melissa Baker.

An avid reader of political military thrillers, I fell in love with Mitch Rapp, a counterterrorism operative fighting the bad guys, several years ago—reading every Vince Flynn novel I could get my hands on at lightning speed. I even fantasized how Mitch Rapp was the perfect man—masculinity fine-tuned.

I then met Scot Harvath, a former Navy SEAL who became an intelligence operative. He amazed me so much with his resourcefulness as a spy that I would scour the library shelves for any book by Brad Thor so I could follow this amazing character’s career as he hopped across the globe getting out of impossible situations—and sometimes saving the world.

Now, after reading The Terminal List at record speed, I’ve become a fan of James Reece, a fearless Navy SEAL out for revenge with a newly tapped vengeance that surprises on every page. The protagonist in author Jack Carr’s first book came on the literary scene in 2018 and the high-intensity character continues to build momentum and enthrall readers.

Not surprisingly, The Terminal List is being made into a television series starring Chris Pratt as James Reece. The actor is also the executive producer of the TV series in development at MRC Television.

To truly appreciate the dynamic character—James Reece—you need to meet the guy who created him: Jack Carr.

As a young man, Carr enlisted in the Navy after high school with the goal of becoming a Navy SEAL, one of the military’s finest. During his 20 years in Naval Special Warfare, Carr transitioned from an enlisted SEAL sniper specializing in communications and intelligence to a junior officer leading assault and sniper teams in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Carr advanced to become a platoon commander practicing counterinsurgency in the southern Philippines to commanding a Special Operations Task Unit in the most Iranian-influenced section of southern Iraq throughout the tumultuous drawdown of U.S. Forces. He served seven deployments, which provided plenty of fodder for the riveting fiction he turns out now as an author.


The former Navy SEAL admits that the character Jack Reece mirrors him and his military career loosely, stressing the word “loosely.” “The emotions that James Reece feels in the book are things that I felt at some point over the last 20 years in the SEAL Team. I took those emotions, what it feels like to go into combat, what it feels like to come home from a deployment when you’re still focused on the mission downrange, what it feels like to lead guys into uncertain situations.

“The thought process behind it all. I took those emotions and applied them to this fictional narrative,” Carr elaborated during an interview with television station WFAA in Dallas, adding that the character he created is wittier, stronger and smarter.


Before publishing his books, Carr had to submit his manuscripts to the Department of Defense—a standard procedure to avoid putting anything in a book that is classified and could affect national security. The DOD found a few sentences and Carr chose to black them out in his books rather than write around them—which seems to add even more intrigue to his stories.

The up-and-coming author admits that his literary career had some help from a master of the craft: Brad Thor. In The Terminal List acknowledgments, Carr writes: “… this book would still be sitting on my nightstand or in a folder on my computer, if not for Brad Thor.” The best-selling author offered Carr advice, counsel and even put in a good word for the writer with his publisher, who loved the book.

Carr also praises Vince Flynn, whose storytelling influenced him. Carr writes: “A true master of the craft, you live on and continue to influence through your remarkable work. You are missed.” (Flynn passed away in 2013.)

Since his debut in the conspiracy theory genre, Carr has written two more books. The True Believer, which came out in 2019, and Savage Son, which hit the market this past April.

Patricia Letakis is the managing editor at TOTI Media.



Here’s a peek at Jack Carr’s must-read novels.

From battlefield to top of the thriller genre, Jack Carr has written three books since retiring from the military. Visit his website to learn more about the author and where his books are sold.


The Terminal List (March 2018), his first book, introduces James Reece. On his last combat deployment as a Navy SEAL, the lieutenant commander’s entire team is killed in an ambush. On the day of his homecoming, his family is murdered. Reece discovers it was not an act of war by a foreign enemy, but a conspiracy involving his own government. He’s out for revenge.


In True Believer (July 2019), James Reece, now America’s most-wanted domestic terrorist, is the connection to a shadowy former Iraqi commando who could provide leads to a series of attacks against the Western world. In an effort to stop the bloodshed and economic free-fall, the CIA strikes a bargain with Reece—who becomes a reluctant tool of the U.S. government.

Savage Son (April 2020) is Carr’s latest release. When the Russian intelligence-mafia consortium targets Reece, he recruits a team of former commandos. Dealing with terrorist organizations, drug cartels, human trafficking syndicates, cyber technologies and organized crime, Reece finds himself fighting a new kind of war.