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Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad Paperback – June 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Advance Praise for Proximity:

"Stephen Phillips is the real deal; a Navy EOD Officer and front line operator in the war against terrorism. Proximity is a well crafted thriller-- enthralling, realistic and frightening. Move over Tom Clancy."

- CHUCK PFARRER, author of Warrior Soul and Killing Che

"Steve Phillips is a member of a select group who live by the creed `Initial success or total failure.' EOD Technicians are the special operations community's unsung heroes...until now. Proximity is a great read and hopefully one of many more books by Phillips."

- STEVE WATERMAN, author of Just a Sailor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

About the author: Stephen Phillips served in the United States Navy as a Special Operations Officer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician at EOD Mobile Units Six, Ten, and Eight. During his naval career he deployed to Haiti, Somalia, the Arabian Gulf, the Balkans, and the Global War on Terrorism.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425751563
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425751562
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James W. on October 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As an active duty Navy EOD Tech, I was very entertained. Although the author necessarily kept some procedures vague, he did an outstanding job in capturing the flavor of what being a Navy EOD Tech is all about, as only someone that lived it can. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
Author Stephen Phillips takes you on a wild ride with one of the Navy's elite Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams as they do their part in the Global War on Terror. The main character, LT Jascinski, gave up a promising career as a surface warrior because he wanted to pursue the high-speed low drag world of Navy EOD. In his first billet out of EOD school, he gets all he can handle as he and his team end up in the middle of a world-wide terrorist ring that may just have someone on the inside. Who will have the steady hand, and who will end up as a "big pink mist?"
Phillips writes from experience, and obviously knows what he's talking about. While the story is fiction, the author draws from his years as a Navy EOD Officer-in-Charge to develop the story and provide the technological balance all good military stories need in order to be believable. He also does an excellent job of developing the personal relationships between the LT and his men, the LT and his Chief Petty Officers, and finally the LT and his wife. The result is a fast moving, completely believable action story that's a great read for those who enjoy military fiction, especially Special Operations.
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Format: Paperback
While everyone is familiar with the Navy SEALS, few are aware of the much smaller EOD community. Stephen Phillips brings his first-hand experience to bear in this exciting tale of one EOD unit's role in defeating terrorism. Proximity provides a thorough background on EOD training and assignments, while the descriptions of places and technology are dead center accurate. The whole package is wrapped up in a thriller plot that gives Clancy and Coonts a run for their money. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this novel while in the Navy EOD training pipeline and it strongly reinforced my desire to be a part of such an amazing, intense, and one-of-a-kind community. Stephen Phillips tells the story of the Navy EOD teams from many different character perspectives, giving the reader an in-depth view as to what it takes to be, and become a Navy Tech. He also does a great job in differentiating Navy EOD from other branches by illustrating the Special Operations aspect of Navy EOD and the many tools a Navy Tech has in their "bag of tricks". What I also really liked about this novel is the way Stephen Phillips "tells" the story. You don't have to be an actual EOD tech to get a good idea as to what is happening or understand the technical aspect of the job. He makes it easy to visualize what is happening in your "mind's eye". The story is action packed, with well developed characters and a strong back story to accompany the already exciting EOD based storyline. I compare this to any Tom Clancy or Andy McNabb novel for the Special Operations enthusiast, or your average novel reader. Now, after becoming a Navy EOD tech, and having met Steve at the EOD Memorial in Florida, (who is humble, down to earth, and a shining example of a Naval Officer) I am even more proud to say that I have joined the ranks of these elite and professional warriors. I completely and wholly recommend this novel to anyone looking for an "edge of your seat" thrill ride and anxiously await any sequels in the future. Hooyah Navy EOD.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting premise but falls down badly in execution. As a military vet I have read a great many books from this genre and this is a feeble one. Atrocious lack of attention to spelling and quality of writing. Clumsy and ineptly done.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With _Proximity_, Stephen Phillips has followed the best advice ever given to a beginning novelist: he has written about what he knows.

This insider knowledge, as well as the author's clear love for his subject, carries the reader through some of _Proximity_'s rough spots. The book is full of anecdotes and quips that feel culled Phillips's personal experience, and they serve to give the reader a feel for life inside an EOD unit. However, Phillips sometimes gets lost in the details, serving up episodes that may fascinate other EOD technicians but move the lay reader to skip ahead. Further, the the book feels less like an organic story than a well-fleshed-out outline. Its conflicts resolve themselves too tidily. Its characters, with the exception of the protagonist, feel more like wind-up toys in service to the story than actual people. Its climax feels rushed and unearned.

And yet, the reader can see Phillips develop his voice over the course of the novel. His protagonist is engaging and interesting enough to merit a sequel, and the book really does tell the reader a lot about EOD: I learned more in a few hours of reading it than I did in four years of kicking those lunatics out of the back of my helicopter.

In short, this is a First Novel, with all the awkwardness that implies. Nevertheless, it's an engaging first Novel, written by a guy whose storytelling chops improve before your eyes. I look forward to reading Phillips's second.
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