Sniper Elite: One Way Trip by Scott McEwen and Thomas Koloniar

I do not normally read contemporary fiction. However, Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip caught my attention because of its writer. McEwen is the coauthor of American Sniper the biography of America’s deadliest sniper Chris Kyle.

In direct defiance of the president’s orders, Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon, one of America’s most lethal SEAL snipers, launches a bold mission comprised of SEAL Team Six and Delta Force fighters to free a captured female helicopter pilot being held by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The president is afraid a botched rescue could jeopardize US foreign policy as well as end his presidency. But once the special ops community learns that one of their own—the first female helicopter pilot of the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR)—is being held and brutally mistreated, there is no executive order strong enough to stop them from attempting to rescue her.

This fast-paced, action-packed thriller with incredibly realistic and blistering battles introduces a new American hero, Gil Shannon, whose iron will and expertise with the .308 Remington Modular sniper rifle will spell the difference between freedom and an ignoble death for America’s female POW.

The book is a fast-paced adrenaline rush. McEwen seems to capture the esprit de corps of the elite units of the United States military. This esprit is captured by the lengths – some legal and others not so much – that they will go to in order to protect each other. The less than legal means brings forth the debate that surrounded the movie Zero Dark Thirty – is it ok to torture someone in order to save the life or lives of others?

The characters are well-developed. It is easy to despise those who have evil intentions – these intentions are not limited to the United States’ enemies. For example, McEwen does not portray the politicians in a positive light because of their lack of concern for the individual members of the military. The politicians are more concerned with covering their own backsides. McEwen’s portrayal of American military personnel as good and American politicians as bad may be a bit too simplified.

One word of caution – the book is heavy on profanity. Although the book is littered with profanity, I think it accurately portrays the language used in the American military. Most of our warriors are not angels, but they try to take the moral high road when it is presented to them.

In short, the book is action-packed and a great story.

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