I just finished reading Task Force Desperate last night and thoroughly enjoyed the book! As a combat veteran myself I could immediately relate to the scenes that Peter Nealen paints in his book about Private Military Contractors in a not-so-distant future where the US economy is in shambles and mercenaries are the go-to option for resolving an international crisis. You can relate to the details in this book, the smell of gun smoke hanging in the air, the taste of sweat running down your face, even things like how much it hurts to pull security on a perimeter while down on a knee for long periods of time. Peter served in Recon and in Force Recon so he knows what it is like to hump a ruck and does a great job at bringing the reader inside this world.
TFD involves a small group of military contractors who are hired by the CIA to locate American hostages in the wake of an attack on a US military facility in North Africa by jihadists. Amazingly, Peter predicted the future in some ways as he wrote all this well before the events of 9/11/12 in Benghazi, Libya. Our heroes are called in to locate the hostages so that JSOC can come in and stage a rescue but in a time where the US dollar has collapsed and the military is severely under funded, they end up doing most of the heavy lifting themselves. The fact that the CIA and the State Dept. have their heads up their fourth point of contact doesn’t help matters.
Peter throws a lot of balls in the air in this book and the contractors have their work cut out for them as they tear through Djibouti, Somalia, and Yemen. Another area where Peter really excels is in his geo-political research of the Horn of Africa region. A lot of authors can’t hack this kind of thing and end up writing some silly partisan type analysis of international politics but Peter manages to avoid all that and come up with an accurate and interesting portrayal of a future that hasn’t quite happened just yet.
Highly recommended for fans of the new wave of military fiction coming from GWOT veterans!
19 responses to “Book Review: Task Force Desperate”
The review I wrote for my PMP blog and Amazon touched quite a bit on the upswell of solid, indie military/paramilitary fiction coming from GWOT vets such as you, Peter, JSilk and others. A really great debut novel, and I recommend, in a good way, that readers bone up a little on their African/Middle Eastern geo-politics a bit before diving in, because that stuff gets complicated…
Thanks dude, I thought Peter did a great job with it. Too many of the “others” talk down to their audience.
Man, Jack. I had never considered “talking down” to the audience… Geez. I hope I don’t do that. You know, it’s such a fine line between educating/keeping the readers on the same page and leaving them lost.
Are there some examples that stick out in your mind of talking down to the audience? (And maybe this might make a future blog post if it’s too long to answer; and hell, I know you’re super busy, so if you don’t have time to answer, totally understand.)
Most of the big names. They will spent ten pages talking about how military ranks for instance…
Oh, yeah. I’m an idiot. I should have known what you were talking about, and thankfully, I most certainly don’t do that!
I do always get a kick out of it when an author starts using the military handbook description to describe a weapon they know nothing about… Like, “John Smith picked up his weapon. It was an M4, or 5.56 mm, standard-issue, shoulder-fired…”
And you’re like sheesh… Get out on the range some, man…
Tom Clancy is the worst…
It’s almost like he takes pride in it…
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He makes a lot of money off it, and since everybody looks to the name Tom Clancy as the end-all and be-all of all things military and intelligence related, or they did until 9/11, he phones it in when he bothers to do any of the work himself.
Its unreal how you can franchise your name out and cash in for serious money. I’ve spoken with writers to ghost write for some big names or do tie in novels and they say the money is wild.
Not sure I could do it. Sure, the money might be great, but then my work would be attached to that know-nothing hack’s name.
Tom Clancy got hammered for this. They finally got Mark Greaney on board who is actually a great writer but his fans were tearing him up for getting all these ghost writers.
This is an exceptional book…thanks.
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Told ya it was a good one! I like the way the plot unfolded according to mission creep, too, rather than contrived plot devices.
Hey Stan, go for it–it might make a great blog post. I still struggle with how much detail to give. I don’t want to preach to the choir, but then I don’t want to have others scratching their heads, either. I cringe after the fact, wondering whether I went too far one way or the other.
I’m excited to read your book as well Hank. I have it “sitting” on my Kindle.
Cool. I’m revising again but hopefully you’ll still like it without all the latest edits.
Should I get the new edition?
I can send it to you when it’s done, if you like. Nothing major–I FUBARed the chapter numbers, and am tweaking a couple scenes. I may have gone just a touch overboard making my vilains vilainous. Stuff like that.
Occupational hazard Hank…remember the bad guys in Reflexive Fire? I wish the bad guys in Target Deck were over done but I’m afraid that is an accurate depiction of reality.