Bond fans are in a slump. Simple as that. We are stuck waiting for a new film, or a new book, and little progress seems to be being made on either front. New product collaborations from EON and the official 007 Store, and rough, politically motivated reads like Charlie Higson’s On His Majesty’s Secret Service are hardly enough to keep things cruising along, and while we have so much brilliant content to thrive on, so many are frustrated, tired and looking for something new to stimulate them in this time of uncertainty.
The difficult thing, of course, is finding an author or series that connects with us on a deep level like Fleming’s writing, and cinematography that excites like EON’s efforts. Over the 70 years of Bond’s history, there have been ample authors and screenwriters who have done their absolute best to capture that magic, but so often because their work is primarily meant to exist in that same vein, they often pale against Bond, or draw too many comparisons to be celebrated adequately on their own. That’s why as a passionate fan of Fleming and James Bond, I’ve found myself so immersed in the world of Jack Carr.
Who is Jack Carr?
“From the time I was a little kid I wanted to do two things – one was to become a Navy SEAL and the other was to write fiction. I knew that I wanted to become a SEAL and then when I got out, I wanted to explore writing. I didn’t want to be 90 years old and look back and wonder how it would have gone if I had given writing a shot.” – Jack Carr
Husband, father, former Navy SEAL, reader, author, and so much more. The son of a librarian, Carr spent his life reading every volume in front of him, with a specific passion for thrillers and military history. From a young age, he had two primary mountains he was determined to conquer – becoming a Navy SEAL, and spending his remaining years writing thrillers. With these driving focuses, Carr conquered both, spending 20 years in Naval Special Warfare, with a career spanning from an enlisted SEAL sniper, junior officer leading assault and sniper teams in the Middle East, to a platoon commander conducting counterinsurgency in the southern Philippines, to commanding a Special Operations Task Unit in one of the most Iranian influenced sections of Iraq during the very rocky drawdown of American forces in the region. Now, he is a New York Times Bestselling author, producer, and he’s just getting started on this new chapter.
Carr is a kind and great individual, and I genuinely can’t recommend his work enough to you. As 20 year veteran and family man who has spent his life a student of war, soaking up every paperback on the subject in sight, who is now taking that knowledge and producing thrillers, his writing is unmatched. It is powerful and resonates so well due to its timeliness and depth. You can feel the authenticity of knowledge oozing out of every paragraph, and if you’re like me, you’ll be buying nonfiction books in mass quantities to learn more. My library has nearly doubled over the last year of knowing him, spanning from finally reading Ayn Rand to Fred Burton’s Ghost. Carr himself is a massive fan of Bond, and I’m honored to call him a friend thanks to our mutual passions for all things 007. His kindness and genuine nature is unrivaled, which paired with his incredible story and writing, makes him one of the most exciting people in the public square today.
The Carr Novels, In Short
James Reece stands on his own – that much I want to make clear. He’s so different from Bond, a good man, a family man, someone wronged irrevocably by those in power, and pushed to become what he spent his life fighting, to avenge everyone who matters to him, and to rebalance the scales of justice.
Carr is pushing out novels at an incredible pace, with six completed already and number (00)7 well on the road to completion. Each book is thoughtfully curated and crafted around the moral question quietly posited by Carr, and ponders that theme powerfully. Nothing is heavy handed or forced, but everything is felt.
Because Reece is not a blunt instrument or a bastard as Fleming described him to be, but rather a good man who is pushed into action, he’s a hero that is easier to connect with on a more personal level. As the reader, it’s hard not to like Reece. The sadism found in Bond is the most striking difference, with Reece instead being a family man with deep connections to his friends and brothers in arms. Both operate in the shadows, finding themselves immersed in the dark world of espionage, but decades apart. Both are driven by duty, and make the decisions few can.
Reece is the American, 21st Century answer to James Bond – and his adventures are the perfect things to enjoy as we wait, and beyond, for a number of reasons.
Fleming to Carr – A Natural Transition in the Modern Era
What struck me immediately when reading Carr’s work was its innate similarities to what I loved most about Fleming. That’s not to say Carr is copying the stylistic choices or verbage of Fleming, far from it. Rather, his work resonates so well because of the authenticity behind every word. Like Fleming, Carr is drawing on a lifetime of experiences and a passion for realism to produce timely thrillers that we will still be reading decades from now, and will read as an immersive time capsule, instantly dropping us into the world as it is at the time of writing.
As a Bond fan, his writing connects so deeply to Fleming’s – from the emphasis on real life equipment and their detailed descriptions to his thoughtful understanding of the environment he is setting his character in. You are immediately immersed in the world, just as you are within a page of a Fleming novel. Additionally, Carr’s thoughtful employment of historical information spanning centuries and dialogue from the point of view of the villains, and the rich backstory provided to each of them, is reminiscent of the best of Fleming’s work – all while still having a voice entirely of his own.
We have ample time before we get more Bond, so while we savor what’s come before, join me in celebrating the work of a modern author whose background and dedication to his new craft deserves equal exaltation. Like Fleming, Carr is driving hard with relevant thrillers that are being released at the pace of Fleming in his prime. There’s six books waiting for you already, with another one to come next year – not to mention the hit Amazon Prime series starring Chris Pratt.
Join me and so many others in the incredible world of Jack Carr’s James Reece. You won’t be disappointed.