The Terminal List by Jack Carr

I mentioned to a friend that I was entering the Dad Books/Daddington Island* phase of my reading life (thrillers, history, etc.). A few days later, that friend handed me a stack of Jack Carr books. You may be remember the Amazon Prime series based on the book – a Navy SEAL named Jack Reece comes comes home from a bad mission, bad stuff happens, and he has some vengeance to attend to. That’s the gist of the plot. No surprise – the book is better than the movie (show, in this case)!

Specifically, the book is better because the reader gets to be more inside the protagonist’s mind. Since Carr was a SEAL himself, he has a pretty interesting view on all of those things. He takes the opportunity share those views via protagonist Jack Reece’s internal dialogue. Reece thinks often bout the military, world events, violence, and many related things. Like in the non-fiction book Inside Delta Force by Eric L. Haney, Carr details a more nuanced view than an average civilian might expect from someone who chose to dedicate most of his working life to the U.S. military.

Carr doesn’t think highly of bureaucracy highly. While this is a very different book than Kafka’s The Castle, or Tolstoy’s The Spirit of God is Within You, one of his main concerns is the way that humans get lost in “government.” Are humans within a system morally culpable for the organizations/bureaucracies they take part in? That kind of thing. Carr also doesn’t wish the military life on anyone, but given, well, all of human history, he doesn’t think there is a generation on earth that can escape the realities of war or violence.

This book is violent. It’s unsettling in many places because the book is so realistic. I’d put it between The Punisher and The Bourne Identity in terms of what real violence does to people. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. But it is for those of us lounging on Daddington Island.

*For the unitiated, Daddington Island is term coined by show-runner/critic Andy Greenwald to describe the entertainment and hobbies that become of interest when a dude reaches middle age.

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