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TARGET DECK > THE FIRE RISES

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message 1: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 19, 2015 02:03AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Clear by Fire (Search and Destroy, #1) by Joshua Hood
Joshua Hood

Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration, a military thriller written by one of our own group members, Joshua Hood, which has been hailed by genre enthusiasts, best selling authors and critics as one of the best debut novels of "2015".
Clear By Fire. You can buy it now on Amazon.
Or wherever good books like it are sold.

http://www.amazon.com/Clear-Fire-Sear...


message 2: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 18, 2015 08:25PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Recent interview the author did on his writing. Very insightful. Goes into the themes, character motivations and other fascinating details.
http://m.memphisflyer.com/BookBlog/ar...


message 3: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Yah I have been supporting him too. He has made a fine showing.


message 4: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "Yah I have been supporting him too. He has made a fine showing."

Indeed.


message 5: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Second by interview conducted by Ryan, one of our group members. Also has a very interesting discussion about the creator of the counter-terrorist sub-genre of spy fiction Vince Flynn.
http://mitchrappfan.com/2015/08/14/my...


message 6: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Thank you guys very much. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. I loved the interview with Ryan on Mr. Flynn. You may or may not know that Mr. Flynn had a huge impact on me, both as a soldier, and a fan of the genre.


The Real Book Spy (therealbookspy) | 34 comments Thanks for posting all of this Samuel. I hope you'll all check out Josh's book!


message 8: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Josh, you should verify that the promo I arrange in my group is up-to-date for whenever your Simon/Schuster event is. I've lost track.


message 9: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 24, 2015 12:45PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Managed to complete chapter 3. The book started slightly slow, but Chapter 3 was a supernova. An excellent establishing character moment for Renee. She lives up to all the praise I've seen from the reviews.


message 10: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Clear by Fire (Search and Destroy, #1) by Joshua Hood
As I reach the final home stretch of the book, I will say this. Thematically, Clear By Fire has been very surprising. Two central themes which make the story distinguish itself. With the first, Joshua has put a very unique twist on it and turned it into a very powerful running thread which gives the character interaction a lot of depth that few first books achieve so soon.
Regarding the second theme....it's a surprisingly rare topic in Post 9/11 military fiction due to its delicate nature. I applaud Mr Hood for tackling it head on.


message 11: by Danield (new)

Danield | 33 comments Double applaud I bet a luxembourg Riesling white wine with Josh that his second book can't be as good as his debut novel,Josh said it will so I put the wine already cold
Daniel


message 12: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments I'm glad you like it so far


message 13: by Feliks (last edited Sep 06, 2015 09:13PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) didn't know this was a Josh Hood thread; hadn't yet poked my head in here

(I tend NOT TO ENTER threads with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, as a rule cough cough Samuel ole son cough cough)


Anyway, Good luck Josh!


message 14: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Almost done.


message 15: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Looking good!


message 16: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
When you don't have a confirmed visual on the corpse, it's likely the target is still alive, yes?
A colonel just performed a Houdini.
He's a clever guy. Off his rocker, but a clever guy all the same. But currently he's only got the clothes on his back and maybe one gun. So it will be interesting to see how he gets out of his situation.


message 17: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Hmmmmmm


message 18: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Joshua wrote: "Hmmmmmm"

Oh....The game is still afoot then ;)
Well the colonel has been a blast. Top contender for my antagonist of the year ranking.


message 19: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Samuel wrote: "Joshua wrote: "Hmmmmmm"

Oh....The game is still afoot then ;)
Well the colonel has been a blast. Top contender for my antagonist of the year ranking."


The game is definitely afoot, but one must wait until the perfect time to move an important piece.


message 20: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Samuel wrote: "Clear by Fire (Search and Destroy, #1) by Joshua Hood
As I reach the final home stretch of the book, I will say this. Thematically, Clear By Fire has been very surprising. Two central themes which make the story dist..."


I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the themes and plots. Discussions like these make me a better writer


message 21: by Samuel , Director (last edited Sep 10, 2015 12:54AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Well. I'm Done.
The actual review can come later. But for now I'll leave my initial verdict.

Clear By Fire? The biggest surprise I've encountered with my 2015 fiction reading. One heck of a military thriller which achieves a lot more than most debut novels. For starters:

1) The plotting is perfectly executed. It aims higher than most first novels, with a sweeping narrative and a scope that few other first novels I've read have matched.

2) The setting is a fascinating blend of real world fact/events, interesting "what if" situations and features a level of genuinely tense atmosphere that few Post 9/11 thriller writers manage to cultivate. From the first chapter, you'll know something is not quite right, and by the time you've completed the third, you'll be looking over your shoulder. In terms of world building, Mr Hood has worked wonders. From North Africa's back streets, to South Asia's mountains and a visceral gunfight through a Damascus suburb, the fictional universe he's created takes upon a life of its own and is almost another character, something which few authors, especially in the military thriller genre pull off.

3) For a first novel, Clear By Fire is pretty deep and focuses on many relevant topics. Two however stand out and are central to the story.

First, the theme of family. It's a running theme which gives the character interaction a lot more weight than usual and Mr Hood found some pretty interesting ways to explore it. Like "what if the people you considered family turn on you? And what would you do if they did?"

Second, ending the war on terror. To what lengths would you go in carrying out such an undertaking?
I only know of one other author who explored this topic, due to its somewhat delicate nature. Clear By Fire however explores this pretty deeply through the its antagonists and a few questions if poses to the reader. Like "If the only way to further a agreeable cause is to throw your morals and humanity out the window, would you make that choice?" With war weariness among the general public setting in as we speak and the threat of Islamic terrorism continuing to grow, it's a hard, relevant question that needs to be considered and answered before its too late. I applaud Mr Hood for featuring it in his first book and taking a good solid crack at something which other writers seem to have avoided.


4) The characters of Clear By Fire are very impressive. A colorful bunch to say the least who forcefully distinguish themselves very well among their fellow Post 9/11 fiction protagonists. Kane, Hart, Zeus and their benefactor Ahmed are established and characterized to perfection.

They also get worthy opposition, the highlight being the arrogant, off-his-rocker well intentioned extremist Barnes who drives the conflict with a scheme to rewrite the geopolitics of the Post 9/11 world, and kill millions in the process.


So Clear By Fire? I'll have a full review soon enough, along with maybe a brief look on the few minor "quibbles". In the mean time my fellow group members, enjoy this fine military thriller novel which will captivate you as it takes you into the Post 9/11 world's heart of darkness.

Mr Hood has created the foundation of something great, something that is bursting with potential. When the next book comes out, I'll be waiting. And so will you.


message 22: by Samuel , Director (last edited Sep 19, 2015 01:50AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Phew! Took a while but I've managed to complete a full review on the book.
Hope I didn't screw up too badly. Need to edit a bit more next time. The length, that is. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 23: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Well, that was fun. Next stop I hear for the second book is Daesh! More shenanigans and a well deserving target for Ms Hart and Mr Kane to shoot at.


message 24: by Samuel , Director (last edited Sep 19, 2015 01:50AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Clarification. Is Zeus a call-sign/code name or is that the man's actual name? Small detail I'm slightly confused with.


message 25: by Samuel , Director (last edited Sep 19, 2015 02:25AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Favorite scene. Chapter 26. Brilliant execution. Took my breath away. Catalyst for the future motivation of Ms. Hart.


message 26: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Favorite character? It's a toss up between the cynically affable Ahmed and my new favorite fictional female operative Renee Hart. Zeus and Mr Kane fight it out for second place, while Barnes is a decisive third.


message 27: by Samuel , Director (last edited Sep 19, 2015 03:21AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Characters who might need a bit more "page-time" in the sequels?

Ahmed, Mr David, Mr Cage and (maybe) the good Colonel.


message 28: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Interview by the publisher.
http://authors.simonandschuster.com/J...


message 29: by Samuel , Director (new)


message 30: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Influences? Some Vince Flynn, a dash of Robert Ludlum, some Joseph Conrad and I detected a bit of a Chris Ryan vibe. Joshua however is a much better writer than Mr Ryan.


message 31: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Thanks for the review and kind words. Zeus is his real name and I'm trying to get to the point where I can unpack him more as a character.
Like I've said before book two-Warning Order deals with ISIL/Daesh and gives the reader a better understanding of Mr David as well as Renee. I hope to have a chance to use you as a Beta reader.
As for Barnes, well.....


message 32: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Loved the length of the review


message 33: by Samuel , Director (last edited Oct 07, 2015 12:20PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
I heard you're considering making a graphic novel. That's an extremely good idea.

It will bring extra exposure to potential customers who might not usually be book readers, and it allows you to stand out and distinguish yourself to other authors who don't have something like that.

One thing though. Only release it once you've reached a certain book. Perhaps at number 3 or 4. That way, you've got extra source material available to make sequel comics.

Ian Fleming made James Bond a newspaper comic character before he signed the film deal which made him immortal. Comic book writer Greg Rucka created Queen and Country, a series which proved that spy fiction in graphic novel form could be just as good as a thriller novel if not more so. And then we have that masterpiece known as The Activity.

There's been too few spy/military fiction comics. I think your book would be excellent source material. Perhaps an opportunity to fill in a few gaps. Add an extra flashback or two. That sort of thing. What I'm trying to say is, seize the opportunity.


message 34: by Samuel , Director (last edited Oct 07, 2015 02:01AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Although another thing you could do is start writing some short stories. A twitter acquaintance and group member named Stephen England has successfully uses them to fill in the gaps of his sprawling spy fiction saga and explore events alluded to in his full length novels.

NIGHTSHADE A Shadow Warriors Short Story by Stephen England
TALISMAN A Shadow Warriors Short Story by Stephen England
LODESTONE A Shadow Warriors Novella by Stephen England


message 35: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Thank you Samuel


message 36: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Great advice


The Real Book Spy (therealbookspy) | 34 comments Samuel, I know Mr. England and have been keeping an eye on his books and career - and plan to do so into the future. Thanks for linking him here.


The Real Book Spy (therealbookspy) | 34 comments Also, great advice on the other front. I think Josh has created a vast universe with many rich characters and elements. He can do a number on things, but at this point it's all about increasing exposure. There's still SO MANY readers of this genre that haven't found him or his work, and I'd love to find a way to keep making that happen!


message 39: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Ryan The Rappologist wrote: "Also, great advice on the other front. I think Josh has created a vast universe with many rich characters and elements. He can do a number on things, but at this point it's all about increasing exp..."

My sentiments exactly. A graphic novel is a unique way to make him stand out from other authors who have had a "head start" so to speak. And it could capture new customers who aren't regular readers, increasing exposure.


message 40: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments I'm still working on the graphic novel idea, it is not as easy as I first imagined. However, the ARCs for Warning Order should be ready in the next few months, and I'm plodding along on book 3.
Getting exposure, for a debut author, in a genre packed with powerhouses is very difficult. It is hard to get your name out there, no matter how many people like the book.


message 41: by Samuel , Director (last edited Oct 24, 2015 09:52PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Indeed. But keep trying. I'm sure you'll succeed as long as you don't let that particular opportunity out of that grasp.

A small question. Eventually, will we get to see the incident that broke the camel's back?
Specifically that crime in the Wardak province, committed by Colonel Barnes which caused all the growing rifts between Mason Kane and his unit to break open.

And if so, would it be either in:
1) flashback in one of your full length novels
2) a standalone short story
3) The graphic novel


message 42: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments I think it would be in a full length prequal


message 43: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Dang- that is a great question Samuel


message 44: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Product description is out...


"In the next adventure in the explosive Search and Destroy thriller series, American hero Mason Kane must join forces with the CIA to neutralize a Syrian spy and his band of jihadists and dismantle a conspiracy that reaches the upper echelons of the White House.

After foiling a terror plot from within the US military, American soldier Mason Kane has struck a deal with the CIA to take him off the government’s blacklist in exchange for leading off-the-books counter-espionage raids.

But when an old friend is led into a trap by a supposed Syrian ally, Mason seeks revenge, only to uncover a greater plot involving a tyrannical Middle Eastern despot and a group of rogue American soldiers with a dubious agenda—who seem to be taking orders directly from the President’s inner circle. With the help of Special Operations operative Renee Hart and a team of elite special ops soldiers, Mason must discover the traitors and neutralize the target before time runs out."

Set in the shadows of the War on Terror and inspired by Joshua Hood’s own military experience, Warning Order is an action-packed thriller full of shocking twists and nonstop adventure that takes you straight into the world of special ops, military intelligence, and espionage.


message 45: by Samuel , Director (last edited Nov 22, 2015 02:31PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
The product description has me completely hooked. So they're going to get to command their own team and go back into Syria? Awesome! Can't wait to see what the "evil scheme" you've got planned for Warning Order is going to be and how the "despot" factors into it along with Daesh.

I will also be very interested to see the character interactions between Mason, Renee, Zeus and the new blood who will be joining them. I presume there will be a lot of fireworks initially, perhaps at the surprise of the three people who will be commanding them ;).


message 46: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments We shall see


message 47: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments In the second book of the explosive Search and Destroy thriller series, Mason Kane- a special ops hero with a questionable past, joins forces with the CIA to neutralize a radical off shoot of ISIS and unravel a conspiracy emanating from the White House’s inner sanctum.

After almost losing his life, foiling a terror plot that threated to draw the United States into another war- Mason Kane, disgraced American soldier, and special operations legend is still on the governments blacklist. To finally clear his name, Mason strikes a deal with the CIA- throwing himself back into the deadly world of black ops.

But when an asset tied to ISIS leads an old friend into a trap, Mason goes off the grid, and finds himself trapped in the middle of a plot involving an extremely violent, and highly capable terror cell- with ties to the President’s inner circle. With the help of Renee Hart, a DOD operative, and a team of elite special ops soldiers, Mason is determined to stop an attack aimed at crippling the US military before time runs out.

Set in the shadows of the war on terror, and inspired by experiences of 82nd Airborne Paratrooper Joshua Hood, Warning Order is an action packed thriller full of shocking twists, and non-stop action that throws the reader into the murky world of clandestine operations.


message 48: by Samuel , Director (last edited Dec 24, 2015 03:27PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Rereading clear by fire I can't help but make comparisons between Rahm Emanuel and Winston Cage....the difference being Winston's military career and the fact he can back up his bark with a positively lethal bite and also has much more noble, grand intentions.


message 49: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Warning Order (Search and Destroy, #2) by Joshua Hood

I am quite proud to announce, that I've just finished group member Joshua Hood's second book, "Warning Order". It is set to be released in June this year. My verdict? Buy it.

With writing as sharp as a blood soaked combat knife slicing through the air, plotting that brings to life the visuals and stench of death and war in a way that few authors can hope to achieve if they're lucky, and captivating characters whose epic struggle across a modern day heart of darkness will hold you right on the edge, Mr Hood has decisively planted his flag in a highly competitive sub-genre of thriller novels, by crafting a book that leaves the competition, literally dead tired, six feet under.

So anyway, a warning order. Be ready for it when it's released in June ;))


message 50: by Samuel , Director (last edited Feb 14, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Four things I liked.

One, the plotting. Subverted my expectations considerably. And unlike certain other authors who turn back the clock after each adventure, Mr Hood makes the right decision to have certain "repercussions" from the last job make their appearance. Mr Kane and Ms. Hart are competent individuals, but they're not invulnerable to busted kneecaps, and they don't have friends in the top brass.
How they try deal with those little problems is what enriches the story considerably.

Not to mention the themes. I detected three running threads throughout the novel, the limits of trust, the cost of being outsiders, and the readiness of the civilized world in the face of threats to their existence.

So, the first theme. It's explored by all of the characters, who are driven to do drastic things to accomplish their missions, dragging along those around them, who are forced in some ways, to trust that their friends aren't leading them to destruction.

Regarding the second, it's continually explored by the main characters and the few allies they pick up.
Mason's been slandered as a traitor, Zeus is a remnant of a dictatorship loathed by both the west and Islamic extremists, and Renee can never fit in due to her gender, despite her abilities and competence. In the cruel world they operate in, they only have each other, and throughout the story, their bonds and tested to breaking point.

Second, the readiness of the civilized world against threats to its existence. This one is explored by the villains. Both are devils in plain sight (although the second is miles more well meaning).

Regarding the first guy, he highlights the fact, we in the West have an occasionally nasty habit of underestimating the sharper tools in the Islamic Extremist's shed. They're out there, with the brains, guts and soon, the resources to continue making our lives hell.

Regarding the second, he gives one heck of a motive rant about how the problem continues to fester, when the civilized world does have the the ability to cut things short. Whether you agree with is another matter, but he does point out the costs of not being ready to face the security threats of the 21st century.


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