Category Archives: Reviews

Alpha Brain Cognitive Supplement Review

Alphabrain2 (2)

Alpha Brain

So something I’ve always had a passing interest in is improving the human system.  I’ve never used steroids before as I got scared off by seeing how they effected some of my Army buddies.  From ‘roid rage to dude’s growing permanent “bitch tits” because they weren’t cycling properly.  It is too bad the FDA over regulates this stuff because if it were not illegal than doctors could professionalize steroid use so that soldiers, athletes, and regular people could use them safely.

But more interesting to me personally is improving the cognitive process.  There are many ways to do this of course, if you never stop learning we can supposedly tack on an additional 10 IQ points to our score every decade.  There are other ways to achieve balance and clarity such as Yoga and meditation.  I was interested when I heard about a supplement called Alpha Brain which claims to increase focus, clarity, increase creativity, and also induce lucid dreams.

I ordered the smaller 30 tablet bottle and began taking two pills a day for two weeks.  The first day I noticed a clear difference.  The two Alpha Brain pills mellowed me out big time.  Not like I was lazy and sitting around all day, but as I was going around doing things I felt very laid back.  I can see how this effect would be helpful when you have a task at hand that requires you to focus in and not be scatter brained.  However, I only experienced this the first day I used Alpha Brain.  These results were never repeated again.

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Akira?

One other effect that Alpha Brain had was inducing lucid dreams.  In this sense the product lived up to the advertising.  One night I popped two pills just before bed.  I had some insane dreams.  I was a spy and had to pass off a secret message that was hidden in one of those red Netflix envelops.  Bob Barker was my handler and I spent a lot of time hanging out on the set of The Price is Right.  Betty White was one of my targets.  I had to retrieve critical information from her but had a difficult time sorting through all her Cosco cards to find it.  That dream was pretty funny, but I found that when I took the pills during the day I would still have some lucid dreams at night.  To tell you the truth, it got to the point where it made it uncomfortable for me to sleep.  I don’t remember those dreams very well but they were unsettling enough to wake me up.  One that I do remember was a guy getting his face cut off and he continued to scrambling around looking for help.

I won’t be ordering Alpha Brain again.  It was interesting to try out but the day time effects wore off very quickly, perhaps because my body chemically adjusted to the contents of the pills but I’m not a doctor…  Taking a couple before bed in an interesting experience but otherwise the dreams they induce prevented me from getting a full night’s sleep.  It seems my quest for cognitive enhancement will continue.  Right now I feel like the dude in the Bourne Legacy who’s Army recruiter tacked ten IQ points onto his test so that he could make his quota.

Derp...full retard without my green pills.

Derp…full retard without my green pills.

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Filed under Pictures, Reviews

The Three Best Novels About Assassins

The professional assassin is a different animal than the professional soldier.  For one thing, the assassin is almost always working outside of the law while the soldier works within it…mostly anyhow.  The professional assassin isn’t some amateur going off half assed like some kind of gangland thug.  He is a meticulous planner who games specific situations and specific targets, coming up with a specialized operation which applies to that target’s routines and patterns of life.  Take for instance, Teddy Medina an NPA assassin in the Philippines.  He trained for about ten minutes a day, every day, on drawing his .45 caliber handgun from concealment and executing his target.  To that end, he became very adept at planning his hits.  On the other hand you have professional soldiers, let’s take one from the same era: Jerry “Mad Dog” Shriver who served in MACV-SOG in Vietnam.  Jerry was a soldier and like other SOG troops, would train with a variety of weapons, not just a .45.  These guys had to know how to use CAR-15’s, M79 grenade launchers, hand grenades, pistols, and even technical induction based eavesdropping equipment.  The skill sets they had to master were more general because of the number of threats and situations they faced in the jungles of South East Asia.  Still, there is something that has always held the popular imagination about the assassin, including the realm of fiction.  Let’s take a minute to look at a couple of my favorite fictional and semi-fictional assassins.

Wesley

bomb_trade

A Bomb Built in Hell is one of the best books I’ve ever read.  Aside from the relevant social commentary, Andrew Vachss’ first novel pulls no punches, a style he became well known for years later.  Wesley is a small time con who gets recruited by a mobster in prison who begins to teach him assassin trade craft so that he can kill the man who betrayed him once Wesley gets out of prison, as the mafioso is in for life.  The techniques Wesley learns are chilling but effective as you see when he gets out of the joint and starts plying his trade.  Well ahead of its time, A Bomb Built in Hell was way too hardcore for polite society, forcing Vachss to shelve it for years.  It was only recently that it finally made it to print.

Court Gentry

Thegrayman

Court Gentry is another mysterious assassin who is right up there with Wesley.  Court also started off as a criminal until he got recruited into a CIA initiative to conduct covert operations.  After 9/11 shit got real, maybe a little too real and Court got burned by the Agency.  Now he works as a freelance singleton operator.  The first in the series, The Gray Man, is one of the best action-adventure books out there these days.  Court pisses off some very powerful people who put out a high end contract on him, a contract that the world’s intelligence services and Special Operations forces respond too.  Maybe the most interesting of Court’s opposition is an equally mysterious operative from South Korea, another singleton operator who does missions in North Korea.  This is must read book.

The Clinic

The Feather Men

I have mixed feelings about The Clinic as portrayed in The Feathermen, later made into a “okay” film called Killer Elite.  The Clinic is actually a bunch of low life sociopathic assassins who square off with another non-official group called The Feathermen.  The Feathermen act like guardian angels for British SAS soldiers, protecting them from the likes of the IRA and others.  I’ve been told that such groups really exist, for both the SAS and SBS.  The Clinic consists of a former US Marine as team leader with two others, including a technician who knows how to sabotage cars and helicopters.  The Clinic specializes in making their assassinations look like accidents, or at least something other than what they are.  The book is about a tribal leader in Oman who hires the Clinic to go and kill the SAS men who were behind killing his family members year prior.  But The Feathermen is also problematic, the author wrote the book with the byline “fact or fiction?” and openly concedes that he blended fact and fiction, that the groups and people in it are real but that much of the book was fictionalized, leaving the reader to determine which is which.  I would say that the reader is best off regarding the entire book as a work of clever fiction and nothing more.

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Filed under Military Fiction, Reviews, Writing

Target Deck Makes the Grade with Peter Nealen and Jack Silkstone!

I was hoping to get a review of Jack’s first novel, Reflexive Fire, up before this, but it’ll have to wait.  Suffice it to say that it’s awesome, but Jack has ratcheted things up a little in this latest installment of the Deckard novels.

The aftermath of the bloodletting in Reflexive Fire has Deckard’s PMC, Samruk International, pared down to little more than two platoons.  Those two platoons open the book with a successful strike on a south Mexico cartel leader, followed by signing a contract with the surviving police chief in the area to take care of the cartel problem.  It’s sort of a “sign this, now,” sort of arrangement, but she doesn’t seem to mind later on, as Deckard and his boys start savaging the cartels in southern Mexico.

A lot of what is happening as background for the book will be familiar to anyone who has kept an eye on the deteriorating situation in Mexico.  While Deckard’s operation is in the south, in what is presently disputed territory near Guatemala, the Zetas and Sinaloa cartel are featured prominently in the background.  The Zapatista rebels in Chiapas even make several appearances.  Jack even brings Fast and Furious into the mix, along with questionable black operations being run by shadowy individuals in the corridors of power.

Read the rest on American Praetorians!

So recently I’ve been copping a bit of heat regarding PRIMAL Fury. Fans have been messaging, emailing, tweeting, Facebooking… I’m surprised I haven’t had a damn carrier pigeon arrive at my house. The crux of it is this, you guys want PRIMAL Fury and you want it now. I’ve got some sad news for you team, it ain’t ready. It will be ready soon but clearly that’s no good to those of you wanting to read now. So in the meantime you can check out a few of my buddies who have new books out that are ready to go. These guys are independent, ex-military and pumping out some hard core action.

Jack Murphy’s latest is Target Deck. It’s high speed low drag violence. I recently caught up with Jack in Vegas and spent some time swapping stories over beers. This guy’s got his finger on the pulse.

Read the rest on the PRIMAL blog!

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No Easy Op, SOFREP Exclusive E-book About “No Easy Day”

Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb and I (former Ranger and Special Forces guy that I am) teamed up to write a e-book that covers the ins and outs of the controversy surrounding former SEAL Team Six member Matt Bissonnette and his decision to write a first hand account about the Bin Laden raid.  SEAL Team Six operators, a Recon Marine, a fellow Ranger, and many others were consulted in the writing on this e-book.  We examined why former Special Operations members decide to write books, give some behind the scenes insight, talk about the controversy surrounding Matt’s book “No Easy Day”, dissect the interaction between SOF and the media, and provide insight into the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid.  Also revealed is key information about how and why the White House decided to initiate high level leaks of military secrets to the media.

As I wrote in the book, the intersection where Special Operations meets with Facebook, Twitter, television, and publishing is a labyrinth of lies and deceit.   We hope this e-book helps the reader cut through the BS and begin to discern what is really going on.

Buy it on Amazon!

PS: The publisher of “No Easy Day” is plenty pissed at us for writing this book!

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Filed under Action Adventure, Afghanistan, News, Reviews, Writing

Negative Book Reviews

I try not to comment (much) when my books get negative reviews.  The review is the prerogative of the reader and it really isn’t my place to judge them for it.  Good, bad, indifferent, every reader is entitled to their opinion.  That said, some reviews just leave me scratching my head…

“If you like to waste time reading about incredible actions performed by supermen succeding against overwhelming odds, then this is the book for you. The plot is contrived and stunted with plenty of bad people, thankfully exterminated by our all-American hero.”

Dude, if that isn’t what you are looking for in a novel then why in the world would you read a book with this product description?

Reflexive Fire Military Thriller

An assassin who is in over his head.
A cabal that wants him to lead a secret army.
A conspiracy decades in the making.

“The hero is everything you could hope for in an action-adventure–intelligent, charismatic, honorable, a combat veteran from an elite unit, and just slopping over with badassity.” -Hank Brown, author of Hell and Gone.

As a freelance assassin, Deckard is no stranger to the shadow world of covert operations, but when he is summoned to Bohemian Grove and hired to train and lead a battalion of Kazakh mercenaries, he soon discovers his employer’s real agenda: a doomsday plot decades in the making.

“If you’re the kind of guy who loves action movies, but grimaces with every technical and tactical fail… you NEED to buy this book.” -a combat veteran from a NATO nation.

Now, free humanity’s only chance for survival rests with Deckard’s renegade Private Military Company. From Afghanistan, to Burma, and beyond, the clock is ticking down to global extinction.

“A military novel, written by a true expert on the subject, just takes the story to another, higher level, compared to books made up by ‘civilian’ authors with vivid imaginations.” -Frank Jones, 15-year military veteran and private security contractor.

“Fiction has a new star in the making. This awesome work of fiction (is it really..?) will rank right up there with ‘Dogs of War’ and ‘The Forever War’ in defining a new era in action/adventure novels or genre.” -JG Scott

“With Jack Murphy, you know he’s been there and done that, so you wonder where the line is between the made up stuff and where he’s drawing upon his real-life experiences.” -Dan Eldredge

I wrote this book for those of you who are ready for this genre to go to the next level, beyond superficial political messages and stereotypical terrorists wearing turbans on their heads, I hope this book connects with a different breed of reader and action-adventure fan. -Jack Murphy, author, Special Forces veteran.”

Sometimes the problem is that it just isn’t the right book for the right person.  I can’t appeal to readers who want to hear about gay vampires anymore than the authors of Twilight or Harry Potter can appeal to military veterans like me.  Thems the breaks I guess!

Oh, I almost forgot…BUY MY BOOK!

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Filed under Action Adventure, Military Fiction, Reviews, Writing

Book Review: Classified Woman, The Sibel Edmonds Story

As someone who has worked extensively with translators overseas, I know how important their role is and how critical they are to the mission. When I read Sibel Edmonds’ story I was shocked but not necessarily surprised. I wasn’t surprised at the lack of professionalism that she witnessed among the staff of translators at the FBI’s counter-intelligence office, but I was shocked at how over the top, brazen, and corrupt it was. One of my Arabic teachers at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School told us that he carried a book full of the names of Palestinian martyrs so I didn’t think I was naive about this subject. He would get a kick out of showing us Special Forces students propaganda clips from Memri TV of a Rabbi making Matzo ball soap with the blood of a young Christian boy.

Sibel Edmonds was a naturalized US citizen who got a call shortly after 9/11 to come work at the FBI and help them translate documents and catch up on their backlog, hopefully to turn up clues that would help unravel the plot behind the attacks. We don’t know for sure what language Sibel was translating into English, the title of her book isn’t just a gimmick. The courts have ruled that where she was born, when she was born, and the languages she is fluent in are all classified as state secrets. Government officials have said she is the most Classified Woman in US history. However, we can surmise that Sibel is fluent in Turkish and probably Farsi as well having grown up in Turkey and Iran.

While simultaneously working towards a college degree, Sibel begins working as a translator at the FBI `s counter-intelligence office. Her hard work is quickly recognized and she gets picked up for multiple field assignments, helping exhausted FBI agents in their investigations in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

It is back at the FBI headquarters building in Washington, DC that she begins to realize that something is amiss. Classified documents are mishandled, some translators are not qualified and can barely speak English, and documents of critical importance are non-nonchalantly being stamped as being not relevant to FBI investigations.

It gets much worse when a co-worker and her husband (a Major at the Pentagon) come to visit Sibel and her husband Matthew at their home. They then proceed to “pitch” them. They want Sibel to join several Turkish-American Associations. These are the same organizations that Sibel and her co-worker are targeting everyday at their job as translators for FBI counter-intelligence. The FBI has been investigating a dangerous group that is involved in drug trafficking and nuclear espionage with connections to Israel and worse connections to US politicians on both sides of the aisle.

It sounds very much like the plot of a dime store novel, but these are events that bring down the whole house of cards for Sibel, as they would for any honest American. A criminal network has penetrated the FBI and is actively sabotaging investigations that could threaten their operations.

Read the rest at SOFREP.com

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Must Hear Interview with Keith Nell of the Rhodesian SAS!

My interview with Rhodesian SAS veteran, Keith Nell. Want to know how to kill terrorists effectively? Have you ever heard of Rhodesia’s 9/11? Want to hear about stealing ammunition from your own forces in order to wage an under the radar mission to track down the killers of 107 innocent people? It sounds like fiction but Keith hits us with the real deal.

http://chairbornecommandos.com/blog/2012/08/viscount-down-keith-nell-sas/

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Filed under Reviews, Special Forces, Weapons and Tactics, Writing