Review: The Terminal List by Jack Carr

the-terminal-list-9781982157111_lgYou are familiar with the premise of “The Terminal List” because you’ve seen a version of this story played out a million times before. But if you’re like me — you enjoy a dose of action-lit in their monthly reading — Jack Carr’s political / revenge thriller hybrid is a great recycling of familiar ingredients.

Navy SEAL Commander James Reece is the sole survivor of a mission gone wrong in Afghanistan. He had a bad feeling about the op from the start, and back home, his attempts to mollify his concerns and unearth the truth are stonewalled by the top brass.

Soon, during a routine CT scan, Reece learns he has a brain tumour. Alarmingly, so did other members of his team, which can’t be a coincidence. Then he discovers the bullet-riddled corpses of his pregnant wife and baby daughter at his house in Coronado, California. And Jack knows he has become unwittingly embroiled in the machinations of a secret cabal. But his enemies have made a fatal error. They’ve unleashed an apex predator; stripped a trained killer of the only things that kept him human and reigned in. And a man like that, with nothing to lose, wants only one thing: revenge.

The action comes thick and fast, and crackles with insider information, some of which has been redacted by the Department of Defence, leaving a trail of blacked-out sentences and words throughout the text, which prove more distracting than intriguing. Carr’s level of detail when it comes to weaponry and tech is almost Clancy-level, and his hero’s homicidal tunnel-vision delivers a high body count and ingenious methods of killing for readers who might think they’ve seen it all before.

“The Terminal List” is not a novel that delves into the morality of Reece’s kill spree. Revenge does not poison his soul. This is action-lit at its purest, for fans of Flynn, Hurwitz, Greaney, and Ludlum of yore: one crusading individual against an impossibly powerful adversary. It won’t turn you into a fan of the genre, but for stalwarts, there’s plenty to enjoy.

ISBN: 9781982157111
Format: Paperback / softback
Pages: 416
Imprint: Simon & Schuster
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: 8-Jul-2020
Country of Publication: United States

2 thoughts on “Review: The Terminal List by Jack Carr

  1. Pingback: Review: The Terminal List by Jack Carr — Simon McDonald | Thriller/Suspense Film and Writing Festival

  2. First, thank you to the author for his service and sacrifice to his country. I encourage him to keep writing, but I have to be honest about this first effort. I can’t believe I’m the only one who sees the many flaws in this narrative. The plot lines are hard to swallow, in that Generals and politicians can pull off killing dozens of soldiers thousands of miles from home with no blowback, the good guy can walk out of the munitions cage with all that firepower (not to mention C-4?). Emails left on a computer identifying all the bad guys and explaining the entire scheme? One of the bad guys threatens to kill the doctor’s family, and then leaves his business card? The suicide vest-how does Reece know the exact moment to call the General? Reece barely misses being killed in his home, yet resides there for several nights, apparently among all the bloodstains and bullet holes, sleeping soundly, not a worry in the world about another attack or the arrest from breaking the General’s nose. Ben, the best friend who turns out to be a traitor, has opportunities to kill Reece after Reece has assassinated most of his partners, but doesn’t? A three vehicle caravan can breeze through the US-Mexico border crossing without stopping? Too many unanswered questions on how Reece knows where everyone is, how he tracks down Leonard Howard almost overnight. I felt the characters were shallow, melodrama-evil, one dimensional. and the story lacked depth and clarity. I enjoyed the action sequences, but felt the dialogue was clumsy and amateurish at best. (A mystery, wrapped in an enigma?) I will read the next book, in hopes the editors can help him become more polished and believable in his storytelling by this new author.

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