Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2019
I never thought I'd enjoy a fictional series about a Navy SEAL but I must admit, Tier One is good. But maybe I was just exhausted and ready to tap out. Like most people who served in the "other services" (Army) and graduated from another elite combat school (Ranger), I've waded through them all at the local bookstore. You know what I am talking about. The last 15 Navy SEAL memoirs, 11 Navy SEAL self-help books, 8 Navy SEAL management guides, 21 Navy SEAL suspense-thrillers and 6 Navy SEAL inspirational books we had to sort through to get to something written by/about another elite group of operators. But after meeting one of the authors I felt intrigued to purchase something from this series. And of course, you want to read book one first, even if the absolutely lame title, Tier One, sounds like two-thirds of a title written by a Delta Force guy named Dalton Fury ("Tier One Wild").
Well, forgive my facetious tone, Tier One is a superb "origin" story and a fantastic introduction to the world of Jack Kemper. "Tier One" refers to classified special operations units that do not exist, as far as you know (despite there being about 350 books about a Tier One unit called SEAL Team 6 written by SEAL Team 6 guys who signed a non-disclosure agreement promising to never write a book. Or maybe they weren't real people after all, hunh?). The premise of the series is that the entire Tier One world of special operators has been compromised as the result of the ambush of every SEAL Team 6 platoon in a single coordinated action by Al Qaeda. As a result, the DOD has to rely on a brand new organization, with cover as a regular defense contractor, called "Ember Corporation" and operating outside all DOD parameters, to replace the capabilities of its Tier One SEAL Team 6 assets. Except Ember is more focused on clandestine operations rather than covert military ops. Kemper gets a new identity as John Dempsey and has to adjust to life outside his beloved SEAL culture. There are numerous dramas and personality conflicts to keep the story interesting and a tremendous climax which I won't spoil. Suffice to say the technical detail in this book (its two authors are Navy Vets who supported SEAL ops in combat) is superb. And the underlining plot depicting Iran's behind the scenes manipulations in the war on terror is spot on. My only complaint is that sometimes the book tells too much and is often burdened with needless detail (Jack has life insurance but we are told he has "USAA life insurance" - was that a product placement?). I think it's due to the publisher's lack of editing. Thomas and Mercer is actually an imprint of Amazon and churns out these sorts of books like crazy (so this isn't available at your local brick-and-mortar book shop either).
There is one completely unnecessary graphic sex scene (to showcase an evil-doer's sadistic nature) and a few F-bombs. But don't let those deter you from this otherwise great debut.
Tier One is good suspense-thriller stuff and highly recommended.
Now excuse me while I go search for the next Navy SEAL something to read... like maybe a Navy SEAL Amish-Romance... Yes! Fair winds, sailors... but Rangers Lead the Way!
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