Two Navy SEALs survive a botched mission that may be part of a coverup to blame terrorists for a U.S.-sanctioned attack in Bunting’s (Welkin, 2012) thriller.
Following the successful capture of a terrorist, SEAL Erin “Scratch” Ryan is called away before he can enjoy Disney World with his family. His latest assignment, however, fails catastrophically—10 men die, and only Scratch and Kevin “Roach” Bond make it out alive. The two SEALs find evidence that the terrorists knew of the team’s mission and are planning an attack on American soil. Worst of all, the U.S. might be spearheading the strike, and Scratch’s family, on a plane to Orlando, may be in danger. Bunting’s action-crammed novel establishes its villain (or one of them) right away—a Somali pirate, who’s then taken down with ease by the proficient SEALs. A few searing action sequences highlight the SEALs, but it’s really the later scenes (forming the bulk of the story) with Scratch and Roach that stand out and not for the action, but the espionage. The two men are both intelligent and resourceful, tracking down a printing company that generated instructions for installing devices to sabotage 10 commercial jets. The SEAL duo, who, according to the news, were killed in action with the rest of the team, also contact a columnist, Robert Clemens, to ensure their version of events is heard. Tension builds when those hoping to keep the men quiet send helicopters and even other SEALs after Scratch and Roach. On the plus side, this allows Scratch to be reunited with his trained German shepherd, Striker, who becomes a pivotal character. The novel can sometimes be repetitive: Readers hear about the apparent double cross repeatedly as Scratch and Roach tell various people. Despite the “prequel” in the title, this is actually the first in a proposed series.
A slick spy novel and stealthy Navy SEAL thriller.