Review and highlights: The Terminal List, by Jack Carr

The Terminal List, by Jack Carr

First off: this book isn't for everyone. It's politically opinionated. It's graphically violent. It shows the author’s deep affiliation for gun craftsmanship.

The Terminal List is also an engrossing story.

The author, Jack Carr, has a remarkable story of his own, serving in Naval Special Warfare for over 20 years. Carr’s service included duty as a SEAL sniper, junior officer, platoon commander, and commanding a Special Operations Task Unit. He saw extensive fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Carr's firsthand experience shines through in his writing. The adage "write what you know" definitely applies here, and Carr is able to color his writing with details, emotions, and insider-military politics only someone who has lived the Seal experience could share. 

In an extensive interview with Joe Rogan, Carr reveals how he always believed he would serve his country first and become a writer afterwards, and that's exactly what he's done.

“I knew that after the military, I knew I would write.” 

Carr prepared by reading his favorite authors while growing up and then serving, and finally began writing late in his military career.

The main character, James Reece, is a Navy Seal who finds his platoon caught in an ambush. He's blamed for the death of his subordinates, but Reece’s experience tells him something wasn’t right about the tragic Slowly, Reece uncovers a very dark plot, and with his own world shattered, sets out to administer his own justice. 

The book includes a lot of what I can only describe as gun porn: deep descriptions of the materials, craftsmanship, and proper operation of guns. used in guns, and how they operate. Much of that was lost on me, and I found myself skimming over the descriptions. But I’m sure the deep dives will resonate with many in Carr’s core audience. 

Ultimately, Carr show us what happens when a Navy Seal takes his training, expertise, and rage and channels it into a Charles Bronson / Death Wish revenge vendetta.

I loved the story, and will read the next two books in the series: “True Believer” and “Savage Son.” The book series will become a series on Amazon Prime, produced by and starring Chris Pratt.

Jack Carr continues to serve us even after leaving the military, with compelling, interesting stories informed by his own service. The Terminal List is a great addition to the military action genre, and main character James Reece will be compelling in future books and Amazon Prime.

My favorite quotes and passages from The Terminal List

First lie, thought Reece as he nodded in acknowledgment. Reece knew that the inoperable video camera in the corner was a prop, as was the microcassette recorder on the table. The entire interview was being audio- and video-recorded by a microphone and camera hidden somewhere in the room. The prop camera was to put the subject psychologically at ease while the microcassette recorder would be used at certain times to go “off the record,” a provision that, of course, did not exist.

Find yourself a used iPhone, maybe from Craigslist, where you have no relationship with the seller. Pay cash for it, toss the SIM card, and restore it to factory settings. You’ll need to set up a burner email to get an anonymous iTunes account. Do that from a library computer or one not associated with you.

“Use cash to buy an iTunes gift card so you can download Signal. It’s a private messaging service from the app store. Make this your username.”

“It’s basically a texting app. You’ll need cell service to get Signal, so just use a prepaid SIM bought with cash. After that, don’t use cell again. Only use it over public Wi-Fi. Also download a VPN from Private Internet Access. Pay for it with a gift card you buy with cash. Keep Wi-Fi turned off when you are not actively using it. In fact, keep the phone turned off when you are not using it. Try to check it at least once a day. They can still get to you if they are specifically targeting you, but this will make it more difficult.”

The admiral was clearly more concerned with forced diversity and the push to open the SEAL Teams to females than he was with crushing America’s enemies. Whatever got him his next star.

He didn’t feel that the American public owed him anything in return for his service. He felt lucky to have had a job that he loved for so many years, working among some of the finest soldiers in the world.

Observe. Orient. Decide. Act. The whole world went into slow motion.

The first thing he did was retrieve a replacement Glock from his safe and load it. Two is one, one is none.

“In Judges, Gideon asks God how to choose his men for battle. The Lord told Gideon to take his men down to the river and drink. The men who flopped down on their bellies and drank like dogs were no good to him. Gideon watched as some of his men knelt down and drank with their heads watching the horizon, spears in hand. Though they were few, they were the men he needed. You’ve always been one of the few, James. Keep watching the horizon.”

You show me a member of Congress who’s part of the appropriations process and I’ll show you a wife, child, or brother-in-law with a company that benefits from federal dollars. Everybody does it.

That’s the SECDEF’s asset. I have no idea. Somebody they radicalize online in case they need some dirty work done that can be attributed to Islam.”

“They, they have this program where they radicalize at-risk individuals from target populations. They recruit them to what they think is a radical Islamic movement and then use them as expendable assets.

In combat units, sociopaths got good people killed and were weeded out as soon as possible.

Combat was also about discretion, and he never regretted not taking that shot. Sometimes the most important shots in battle are the ones not taken.

The system will protect the Hartleys, and they’ll keep getting richer and more powerful. She’ll be in the White House, and you’ll still be trying to get people to believe your crazy conspiracy theory. No, Reece, if you’re looking for someone to tell you you’re doing something sinful, you’ve come to the wrong place. You hunt down every one of these fuckers and do justice for your family and all of those warriors’ families.” She paused. “Kill them, Reece. Kill them all.”