Direct Action, This Ain’t No Brad Thor (Or Tom Clancy)

Andrew Vachss is a crime writer and an attorney whose mission is to protect children.  He has worked tirelessly on this issue through his legal work and also through the many novels he has written over the years.  He writes stories from, “down in the zero” which is that place that you don’t ever see in the headlines.  Some people just don’t want to know, especially when it comes to sexual predators and those who would traffick children to them for profit.

While Vachss started his writing endeavors as a vehicle to tell the world about these crimes, my own work started out somewhat differently.  I had just gotten out of the Army in 2010 and had some experience working in Army Special Operations units.  I felt I had seen some things and witnessed some history that no one was talking about, or writing about, as of yet.  It was too soon to start writing a non-fiction book about the “Task Force” but I decided to write a novel.  I figured it would be cool to take my experience and training and then apply it to a completely fictional scenario to write the ultimate action-adventure novel.  This is what became Reflexive Fire.  In the next book, Target Deck, I took a lot of stories about modern Counter-Terrorism operations and disguised them within a fictional scenario taking place in Mexico.

The third novel took on a very different tone.  There are certain subjects that I’ve spent a long time researching.  These are things that I can’t write about as fact.  The court of public opinion would crucify me, even if I could probably prove these things in a court of law.  There are some narratives that the American public clings so tightly to that you will never be able to change their mind about.

One of the most frustrating comments I get is from people who read my books and then say, “this is nothing like Tom Clancy or Brad Thor.”  Yes, that is quite intentional on my part.  These guys are talented writers, but they are coming from a very different perspective than I am.  They may even be far better writers than I am, but they never walked the walk.

It was only after I finished Direct Action that I realized what I had done.  Like Vachss, I’d told a story from The Zero.  The plot of the novel is a work of fiction, a series of events I strung together for narrative purposes.  However, the individual scenarios, situations, and conversations in the book are very real.  The general thesis of the novel is that a Special Operations soldier was found mutilated by the enemy in Afghanistan after a contact with the enemy.  Those who recovered him swore that from then on it would be an eye for an eye and that it set a certain segment of the Special Operations community down a very dark path.  I wish that this wasn’t true.

The best comments about the books that I receive is when people tell me that they are creepy.  Sometimes they tell me that the events depicted in the books feel like something that is happening right now.  That’s a great observation.  There is a reason why they get that feeling.

Perhaps at some point the full story will be told.  I was warned by friends in the Special Operations and Intelligence world about what I was investigating when I wrote Direct Action.  “They won’t hesitate to kill you,” was one of the more blunt warnings.  There was no question as to who “they” are.

In the end, I have no doubt that people will absolutely hate me for writing about these things.  People like to talk about their desire for the truth but in my experience, it is the last thing that they actually want.

Why choose the hard right when you can choose the easy wrong?

DirectActionPreviewshotDirect Action will be released on February 21st in paperback and as a Kindle e-book.  Those who don’t own Kindles can still read it on their choice of mobile device or computer using the Kindle App.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “Direct Action, This Ain’t No Brad Thor (Or Tom Clancy)

  1. Jack, cannot wait to read! I was able to purchase the Kindle e-book today as it was available on Amazon.com as of this morning…getting ready to read now!!

  2. Gary

    I am pretty sure I actually met ‘Bill’.

    • Possible, but there are many who would fit his description. Far too many. What about “The Operator” who appears in the last third of the book?

      • Bob

        Props to you for actually writing about this.

        I’m sure you’ll have haters, but ignorance is bliss.

  3. Hey, I know exactly what you mean when you talk about writing “down in the zero”. After 13 years in the cops down here in Aus I’m still leery of trying my hand at writing crime fiction because it cuts a little close to the bone. This year I’m going to switch off writing horror and SF for a bit and try and write some crime fiction. Found your website while researching “scout snipers” for a SF novel manuscript. Nice website. I liked SOFREP too.

  4. Greg

    Jack,loved the book best one so far.Review is up on Amazon.
    “The Operator” was one scary dude liked him though.
    I agree with your forward and afterword.
    Hats available yet?

    Stay safe,sir

  5. Bob

    Sorry, can’t reply to your post.

    I would wholeheartedly agree with what you said.

    I’ve heard the stories through various friends of mine, so I would say I’m pretty familiar with what you’re referencing . Obviously the story I linked pales in comparison with other ‘activities’, but I thought it would be interesting none the less.

  6. BigB

    Keep up the good work, brother. Any chance you pull some audio books together and add some sound effects like Brandon dead on Red Circle? The commutes here in Atlanta make good audiobooks a must. Even for books I’ve read more than one time.
    The books are not only creepy, but they are fast paced and chock full of details and I can never put them down. Keep it burnin.

  7. Will

    Great idea with the Forward, a bit of insurance policy. Keeps you from ending up like Danny Cosolaro. The world is full of Octopuses. Stay safe and can’t wait to read the book.

  8. Bob

    Any chance I could drop you a line?

  9. Scott

    Looking forward to the hard copy Jack! Be easy.

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