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Outsourced Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 12, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hillhouse (Rift Zone) focuses on the larger-than-life exploits of Camille Black, the head of a major firm that supplies skilled personnel to the U.S. effort in Iraq, in a thriller best read as a cautionary tale about the dangers of national security privatization. When the C.I.A. asks Camille to find her ex-fiancé, Hunter Smith, a possible double-agent who may be selling arms to terrorists, the former lovers find themselves the pawns of shadowy forces working for competing factions of the U.S. government. A clichéd denouement caps an endless series of fights, escapes and torture scenes, but a sobering afterword ("The Facts Behind the Fiction") shows the author has done her homework. Unfortunately, the stock plot, with its unlikely scenario for the fate of Osama Bin Laden, fails to do justice to the real-life issues the novel raises.
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From Booklist

War has changed a lot in the past few decades. Now, like any major corporation, the U.S. outsources its military operations to private companies like Black Management, operated by the enigmatic Camille Black. When Camille is hired by the CIA to rub out an arms dealer who is selling weapons to terrorists, she is not bothered, at first, by the fact that her prey is her former (and supposedly dead) fiancé. But as her mission progresses, she has to decide which emotion will fuel her actions: love for the man or hatred for what he stands for. The novel presents a realistic picture of modern-day warfare-for-hire (or at least it seems to), but the author's handling of the human side of the story is less adroit. He has the high-tech stuff down pat, but when it comes to motivation, emotional conflict, and natural-sounding dialogue, he is less sure of himself. Too bad, too: with stronger characters and a deeper exploration of Camille's inner turmoil, this could have been a first-rate thriller. Still, undemanding fans of high-tech military adventure (by Dale Brown, for example) should be satisfied. Pitt, David
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books (June 12, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0765315777
  • ASIN: B001G7RCY8
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,973,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Joshua R. Foust on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are some issues with the military-industrial complex. In principle, contracting some of the more mundane functions of the military or even intelligence services out to private companies makes a lot of sense, as they can most likely find the most efficient means of delivery when profit is on the line. But as Ms. Hillhouse reminds us in a chilling coda, the extent to which our government's most sensitive functions--from counterintelligence to humint to operations and logstics--have been farmed out to private companies is worrisome. Especially when some of these companies (QinetiQ and Aegis Defense Services come immediately to mind, but there are others) are foreign owned and thus owe allegiance not just to their share holders but potentially to other governments as well.

This is where Outsourced comes into play. Like another current events fiction book I loved--A Corpse in the Koryo by James Church--RJ Hillhouse uses a fictional story to highlight the severe danger Private Military Corporations, or PMCs, represent. This allows her to explore how and why this system can break down (and often does, told through real life news stories excerpted at the beginning of most chapters) without coming off as a preachy, and quite possibly shallow, polemic.

In that sense, she is writing in the vein of early Tom Clancy, demonstrating extensive research, deep literacy of the political, social, and military issues involved, and a good eye for thrill. The writing is crisp, the pacing good, and the descriptions both enjoyable and clearly born of knowledge and not assumption. A love story between a warrior woman named Stella but known as her alias Camille, and Hunter Stone, a Pentagon Spy caught in a collapsing circle of competing agendas, forms the general framework of the story.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Retired on June 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Outsourced
Those who have been to Iraq and those who have trod the halls of CIA headquarters will readily recognize that, in terms of researching her topic, Hillhouse's real life details are a match for Tom Clancy. Where Outsourced's author may even surpass Clancy, however, is in her ability to communicate in print the intellectual and emotional tension of espionage and paramilitary operations so as to almost provoke a physical sensation. Throughout the book, the Boy Scout-like straightforwardness of soldiers is counterpoised with the dark betrayals of spies into a yarn that made it difficult to find a spot where I could put the thing down. At the end, I found myself wondering just where the dividing line was between fiction and fact--the type of fact that just hasn't made it into the newspapers yet. Don't start reading this book on a weekday evening. You may find yourself calling in for a day off just to finish it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Southard on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Outsourced is a look into the future of wars that this country will fight. America has become the home of the outsourced worker and this novel demonstrates how outsourcing has come to the American military. While it is a fictionalized account, the settings described by Hillhouse ring with the resonance of stories taken from our daily papers.

The action is set at a break neck pace which keeps you turning the pages to see what could possibly happen next. From raids in Ramadi to the cells of Abu Ghraib you will mesmorized by the action. The techno/military thriller is well written and keeps your attention throughout the entire book. This is a great read - grab it today!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Derek P. Gilbert on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Over 75 years ago, Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler wrote "War is a Racket", a scathing indictment of the men who profit from the blood and tears of others. R.J. Hillhouse updates this theme in "Outsourced", a novel based on her research into the new, outsourced American military/intelligence complex. Her characters are well-drawn and compelling, the action sequences move plausibly and briskly, but what makes "Outsourced" so gripping is its foundation on widely-reported but little-noticed items in the news. At the heart of "Outsourced" is a fundamental and frightening question: If the intelligence our government uses to guide our foreign policy is filtered through the hands of for-profit entities -- and, as Hillhouse documents, it is -- then Americans must ask whether our wars overseas are undertaken for foreign policy objectives or to open new markets for companies in the business of making war.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Todd Croak-Falen on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I keep recommending this book to people. I can't speak highly enough about it. Although it starts off a little rough (there are a lot of characters to keep track of), the book found its footing around page 60 and stayed good for the remainder. It's as fast-paced as "24," but with more realism. Interspersed throughout various chapters are media quotes that relate to the events being fictionally portrayed in the book, giving the reader an education in addition to entertainment. At the end, there is even a section called "The Facts Behind the Fiction."

"Outsourced" is a great story overall; plenty of action, espionage, location changes, and even a little romance here and there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth J Feltes on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is rambunctious and clips along at a great pace, but didn't make me suspend disbelief. I found the quotations at the beginning of some chapters more interesting than the novel itself. Hillhouse writes and blogs on US security issues and she is more believable there.
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