Monday, June 29, 2020

#Review - All Out War by Sean Parnell #Fiction #Thriller

Series: Eric Steele #2
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
Genre: Fiction / Thrillers / Military

Special operative Eric Steele, introduced in Man of War, is on the hunt for a formidable Russian terrorist in this high-intensity tale of international intrigue from the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Outlaw Platoon.

Badly injured while stopping a rogue agent from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, elite warrior Eric Steele is drawn back into service before he’s ready when unknown assailants break into his home near Pittsburgh, injuring his mother and stealing his father’s pistol.

An Alpha—an elite soldier under the direct command of the president of the United States—Steele is hell-bent on finding the attackers and bringing them to justice. While tracking his foe, Steele discovers he’s become entangled in a far more sinister plan that’s already been set in motion.

A terrorist named Zakayev, once locked away in a maximum-security prison in Russia, has escaped and joined forces with Hassan Sitta, a man who’s shown his prowess and ingenuity with a spectacular bomb planted somewhere in the Middle East that hasn’t been ignited—and no one can find. But that is only the beginning of a horrifying plan that, if it succeeds, will shatter international alliances and bring the world to the brink of war.

Now, the hunted must turn the tables on the hunter—Steele must find a way to stay alive and stop Zakayev before innocent lives are lost.

All Out War, by author Sean Parnell, is the second installment in his Eric Steele series. This story picks up 6 months after the end of Man of War. Eric Steele is the kind of hero that fans love: a badass with brains, brawn, and tons of heart. If you haven't started reading this series yet, and you love characters like Jack Reacher and Mitch Rapp, you really should try it sometime. 6 months ago, Eric stopped a former mentor from detonating a nuclear bomb on US soil in an act of revenge on those who did him wrong. In the process, he was severely injured requiring some much needed down time at his home in Pennsylvania.

Trouble always seems to find Eric even when he's not looking for it. Upon coming back to active duty status as an Alpha, Eric must prove his skills and stamina are up to par to regain active status. Thankfully, his keeper and friend Demo is alongside. Demo in many ways is a comedy act as well as being serious when the action is hot and heavy. But, after Eric and his mother Susan are attacked by a well-oiled group of soldiers at his home, things change. Both Eric and Susan are critically injured so badly they need to be air lifted to a specialized treatment facility. What makes this attack so devastating, is that Eric's past was supposed to be expunged from all records when he joined the Program. 

Second, the attack leads to questions about Eric's father Hank Steele who was listed as presumed dead after a package arrives from Bo Nolan, another special op operator who was friends with Hank. The package leads to a very important secret which nobody is supposed to know about. Third, while recovering via experimental treatment, Eric learns that there is more at play; this isn’t only personal anymore, it’s a well-planned, backed with formidable opposition, global conspiracy that could threaten major world partnerships and bring All Out War. Fourth, the mission becomes all that more important when it becomes clear that someone is targeting the President, Israeli Prime Minister, and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in Jerusalem.

As a backdrop, Eric Steele in an clandestine operative known as an Alpha. At any given time, there are nine Alpha’s assigned their own geographical territory on the globe. An Alpha is “a Clandestine operative assigned to a unit known simply as ‘The Program’.” Its purpose is to give the United States President another option to use when diplomacy has failed and all out war is on the horizon. Much like The Orion Team Mitch Rapp was a part of early in his career. Again, if you like Mitch Rapp, you’ll love Eric Steele.

I was hoping for a return of Meg Harden to the series and I was happy to see my wish was granted. 6 months ago, Eric asked that Meg be added to the Program since her background is impressive and she got a firsthand look at what Eric does for a living and all the challenges he faces in stopping America's enemies. Now, Meg not only works for the President, but has super impressive gadgets she can use to track down the man responsible for the attacks on Eric and his mother. Steele goes on the offensive thanks to Meg's work. Aleksandr Zakayev is a former Chechen super soldier trained by Russians who led the attack on Eric's home as well as believing he killed Eric.

Zakayev, using funding from a man called Gabriel who is apparently someone within Saudi Intelligence, goes after his friend Hassan Sitta from one of the most secure prisons on the planet called Cold Storage. Sitta is a genius bomb builder with ties to Hezbollah who was caught by another Program Alpha operative planting bombs under Mecca. Parnell brings us a literal globetrotting thriller with our hero fighting bad guys in his home, then London, Budapest, Vienna, the middle of the Arctic Ocean, Norway, Egypt, and Israel. There is never any lack of action and putting this thriller down is a tall order. 

What makes me continue to read this series is the reality of what is possible in the world of cover operations and those who want to harm the US and its allies. I first started reading Mitch Rapp novels right before I began blogging and reviewing thanks to my Dad who was former Army. He and I could agree on things when we were talking about our time in the military as well as reading military centered novels like All Out War. Plus, Parnell is the real deal. He’s an actual American hero who put his life on the line for this country time and time again in Afghanistan. I said this previously, I’ll say it again, there is nothing political about this story. It’s not about Democrats vs Republicans, or Liberals vs Conservatives. It’s about a man dedicated to saving the country he loves from anyone who wants to harm it.

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