This military adventure follows Alpha Team, a group of Navy Seals specializing in the covert capture of al-Qaida and Taliban leaders for interrogation, as they engage in military actions, deal with bureaucracy and relax at home with friends and family.
Alpha leader Patrick “Mac” McNamara—ostensibly the book’s author, although this too might be part of the fictive reality—tells this story, with a voice somewhere between the “just the facts” of Dragnet’s Sgt. Friday and a standup comedian’s deadpan. Like all the members of Alpha, his wit is the type of gallows humor found in men who face death on a daily basis. There are also plenty of elaborate practical jokes. Mac’s father is a Vietnam veteran who was a “tunnel rat,” part of a special unit that crawled through subterranean passageways dug by the Viet Cong. A number of other Alpha members also come from military families, and all seem to act like overgrown boys; hence the title. The various players are drawn well to a point, each with distinguishing tics and traits, but they’re all paragons of perfection. Some readers may grow tired of heavily muscled men with multiple masters’ degrees and coconut-crushing handshakes. However, the abundance of military acronyms, weapons specifications and the extensive glossary of military terms enhance the book’s realism and will no doubt be a treat for military buffs. After running down various bad guys, Alpha meets its chief adversary, Asa Ali, a weapons and explosives dealer who not only manages to elude them but also kills or wounds several members of Alpha and other covert teams. Even Mac is wounded on two occasions and captured and tortured on another. The pursuit begins in the Middle East and ultimately leads to the Philippines, where insertion becomes problematic due to that country’s diplomatic relationship with the United States. Though the characters are somewhat stereotypical, their overarching attitudes, along with the candid narration, open a window into the psychology of real-life warriors who live above and beyond the call of duty.
Intense adventures that make for an exciting, timely read.