If the recent events in Benghazi and the more recent attack involving the Boston Marathon, the world is indeed a scary place. Terrorists lurk in wait, all the time watchful for a time to strike that’ll inflict the maximum casualties, the most impactful message. Since the horrific 9/11, America has waged an unending war against the forces who daily conspire to hurt us, and, while we may have lowered our guard, there’s one thing we’ve done right: we continued training men and women to remain prepared to fight back. It’s this preparedness – and a resilience bred through our two-plus centuries of existence as a great nation – that’ll ultimately preserve us and those we love against any rising darkness.
Colonel David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger have penned a thrilling TERROR RED, a book that takes readers to the edge of excitement, plunging its characters into a series of attacks that rock the city of Boston and might very well spell the doom of a certain fictional President.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
It’s December 26th, and all retired colonel David Gibson wants to do is get his mother on a plane so that he can get back to his business. Standing at the airport waiting for her plane to depart, he catches a news alert on a nearby television that exposes a shocking development: his mother’s plane is parked on the runway, where it’s been taken over by terrorists! While he’s being debrief by the airline, he meets up with Christina Marchetti, a Democratic political consultant whose sister is also on that plane; and, together, they find themselves forced to take matters into their own hands when they suspect there’s more here than they’re being told.
TERROR RED is a bold undertaken for a couple of significant reasons.
First – unlike many other books and films broaching the fictional world of terrorism – authors Hunt and Hunsinger have done the unthinkable: they’ve presented the true face of terror. In fact, their baddies are ones who’ve been openly embraced by the current real-time occupant of the White House, though most security analysts think it a mistake: the Muslim Brotherhood, and, yes, if anyone knows anything about history, that organization has long established roots to terror that stretches back years. It’s likely to get them some bad press – or, at least, some bad reviews – because the PC police have long forgiven all things Islam and/or Muslim and/or Middle Eastern in favor of targeting Christians, homegrown militias, obesity, the size of your diet soda, and even the Boy Scouts.
Second, the authors have chosen to narrate this story from two entirely unique perspectives. They take turns from chapter to chapter, with Hunt penning Gibson’s all-man full-bravado viewpoint and Hunsinger inking Marchetti’s all-girl all-sardonic stance. At times, it works fairly well, exposing not only the narrative distinctions politically (Hunt appears to lean more Conservative while Hunsinger considers her character a Liberal/Progressive) but also the way men and women broach matters due to social and family-enforced stereotypes. Gibson wants to kill things, but Marchetti seeks first to understand. Gibson grows wryly comic, but Marchetti prefers sarcasm. Gibson wants to save the day, but Marchetti wants her father’s love. I’ll admit that there were many passages (mostly Marchetti’s) that I didn’t much care for, but the storytelling device never directly stood in the way of the story being told. Sure, it wore thin at times, but it did for even Col. Gibson, so there’s that.
However, the stratagem of telling the story from two perspectives occasionally felt uneven. TERROR RED is an action/adventure intended to unfold in real-time, much the same way of Fox TV’s stellar program 24 did over eight seasons. Because the nature of action is the bam-bam-bam frenetic pace, there are some chapters that are necessarily short, playing out like narrative staccato beats on a drum. In fact, some chapters are only a paragraph or two long, and then – Bam! – we’re off to the other person’s perspective on somewhat the same event. Again, for the record, it never drags, per se; it’s just a bit uneven. Were I the editor, I probably would’ve suggested a couple of these shorter chapters get reworked into the longer chapters that bookended them, so as to tighten it all up just a bit more.
It’s a minor quibble to a great action yarn. TERROR RED works because it feels convincing – a stark tale told by two insiders – and that’s refreshing. The narrative device may not be to everyone's tastes, but, if you look past it, you'll find a compelling tale that's all-too-possible in today's delicate world.
TERROR RED is published by Forge, A Tom Doherty Associates Book. It’s written by Col. David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger. It bears the cover price of $24.99, and the action alone makes it a welcome addition to my library.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Once it kicks into gear, TERROR RED is a blistering read, flowing easily from one terror event to the next along with the crack team-up of a former Special Forces colonel and a political consultant who finds herself at the wrong place at the wrong time. The format takes a bit of getting used to – authors Hunt and Hunsinger tag-team the chapters from their characters two perspectives – and male readers should be prepared to want to bonk the ever-sarcastic Ms. Marchetti over the head. Frequently. Otherwise, it’s an all-too-believable set of dire circumstances that refreshingly focuses on what real bad guys look like in the modern world. I’d look forward to another book from these two in the future.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Forge Books provided me with a copy of TERROR RED by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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About the reviewer
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more