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Direct Action (A Deckard Novel) (Volume 3) Paperback – February 12, 2014
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About the Author
Jack Murphy is a Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Murphy is the New York Times Bestselling author of REFLEXIVE FIRE, TARGET DECK, and DIRECT ACTION. He also co-authored the non-fiction work, BENGHAZI: THE DEFINITIVE REPORT which exploded the true story behind what really happened when the US consulate in Libya came under attack. Having left the military in 2010 after serving three combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. He has penned numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, on national television, and on syndicated radio.
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EDIT: I also have to add that the sex scene is silly. If you're going to write a sex scene into the book at random, at least don't be silly about it. It sounded like how a frat boy blended with a high schooler would describe their sexual escapades - inflated, boisterous, and clearly delusional. Like I said this book is good, but there are some pretty glaring hiccups.
Liquid Sky is compelling on multiple levels. Through them, Murphy is able to touch on some of the darker aspects of the SOF community and especially the Navy SEALs who have gotten such limelight and publicity in recent years. Particularly notable is their brash, arrogant, and sometimes flippant behavior - not at all what you would expect from such hardcore fighters and something that normally doesn't appear in the headlines, except by way of the occasional leak here and there. As someone who prefers to emulate the "quiet professional" ideal of our own Special Forces, it was easy to dislike the former frogmen at first glance but yet, many of the things they say are thoughts that many of us in the military, even on the conventional side, have entertained in the midnight hours. To us, this work of fiction delivers a dire warning; we would do well to heed it lest we become an army of Liquid Skies. We only need to pick up one of a multitude of nonfiction books to read about the sordid consequences of that particular path.
The last standout in the book was a personal one. About 2/3rds of the way through the story, Murphy introduces a character known only by his nom-de-guerre, the Operator, a hyper-competent soldier that executes every task with a robotic precision that seems more akin to a video game protagonist than one of the multi-dimensional characters we've come to expect from Deckard novels. At the same time, the text hints at a more tragic past in which he was, perhaps, a good man crushed under the weight of s*** heaped upon s***. Though he was objectively one of the weaker characters in the book, I was personally intrigued by his story and I hope that Murphy will consider expanding upon the background of the Operator in a future story, perhaps a novella or short.
Overall, I loved Direct Action and would recommend it even as a standalone book. If the trend in quality continues, I'm sure that the next Deckard novel will be even better and I have a feeling that he and Samruk International still have plenty of adventures left in them.
The only aspect that lets Direct Action and Target Deck down is that the books were seemingly not proofread by a professional editor. Reflexive Fire was fine but these other two suffer from oddly placed words that sometimes require reading a passage multiple times to figure out what the author truly meant. Norm Crosby also visits from time to time; an example being a reference to stalking a query. I don't really hold this against the author as most of the errors are excusable for him; but not for the editor.
Despite, the proofreading issues, I find all of Murphy's books to be quite engaging and well worth the time spent reading them. I'm eager for the next Deckard novel to hit the shelves.
While I understand why the book didn't really start picking up until the last 25%, it still felt like I kept on reading just to get to the action. Not that this is a bad thing, but after the balls to the wall pace Reflexive Fire and Target Deck had I was expecting something at least close. Again, this is not a bad thing, and reading through the entire book was never boring. The reader is left with a much better grasp on the plot and characters' thoughts and motivations because of the slower pacing. My biggest gripe is the final resolution of the book. The impression I got from the epilogue of Target Deck led me to believe there would be a whole separate plot line after the main plot in this book was resolved. Possibly enough to take up an entire sequel. Instead the plot line I'm referring to remained completely irrelevant until the very end, and even then it only took up 10 pages, max. I completely understand writing professionally is exhausting, but to put it bluntly it just felt lazy. I would have been perfectly fine, even happy, if it was continued on to a separate book.
All in all this is a solid book that's vital to anyone who even slightly enjoyed Target Deck or Reflexive Fire. While it certainly is better written, I can't say I was as entertained with this book as I have been with Murphy's previous efforts.