The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.
Overwatch by Matthew Betley has an action plot with non-stop shootouts, exploding bombs, home invasions, drug cartels, and terrorists. Having served in Iraq Betley uses his experiences to create a gripping plot.
He commented to blackfive.net, “As a Marine junior officer I commanded a scout sniper platoon. Although I had a lot of tactical training my deployments were in a staff support function. Unfortunately, mortars and rockets don’t care about what capacity someone is in. When I was in Iraq US forces took the most missile fire during the war. The locations, settings, military units, and certain narrative components are all very real, but the overall story is completely my own. I decided to write this story because I read some bestsellers that bored me. I wanted to write something I would personally want to read, an action packed thriller. I created a modern day action hero who had some issues going back to the origins set in Iraq.”
The story begins when former Marine Recon Commander Logan West attempts to get his life back on track and reconnect with his wife before the divorce is finalized. As a relapsing alcoholic and someone suffering from PTSD he must deal with his demons. West has nightmares about the ambush that his Force Recon unit suffered in Iraq during an insurgent attack on a compound in Fallujah in 2004. But that is all put on hold when someone tries to kill him and his wife. After answering the dead killer’s phone West begins to connect the dots, realizing that a terrorist attack is imminent. The key appears to be an Iraqi flag that is currently owned by his friend and fellow Marine, John Quick. The FBI hires both ex-Marines as consultants to help thwart the attack that will draw the US into a war with Iran. It becomes clear they must battle ex-US military, now hired as mercenaries, by Calin Frost, a private security consultant out for revenge.
Readers might be a bit skeptical how West can conduct himself while still having re-occurring blackouts and alcoholic binges. West’s withdrawal symptoms could have created problems even if he seems to have a superhuman ability to lock into the mission.
Because Betley is a recovering alcoholic, sober for seven years, he told blackfive.net, he made those scenes very realistic. He noted, “I was a highly functioning weekend alcoholic. I would get hammered on the weekends. I thought about what would happen if I were in a bender. I basically would not stop drinking until I was hammered.”
Overwatch has the action taking place all over the globe, from Mexico, to America, specifically the Alamo, to the war torn Iraq Al-Anbar province. This debut novel has non-stop action that has readers feeling the realities of combat.