CLEAR BY FIRE by Joshua Hood

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A Search and Destroy Thriller

Clearly a writer with Joshua Hood’s credentials should deliver a novel about men (and women) in war that brings the reader into the heat of battle with all the horror, killing and personal trauma that such experience entails. And Clear By Fire certainly does.

Hood is a five year combat veteran of the 82nd Airborne division and saw action in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a member of a full time SWAT team in Memphis, Tennessee. Clear By Fire is his first novel and reflects a background of exposure to being placed in harm’s way by his profession.

Hood brings in two protagonists with the obvious intention of keeping them together in future novels. The first is Mason Kane, who was a member of the army’s Anvil Team, a special ops group working in the shadows. He enters the book as a disgraced warrior as he had refused to kill an Afghan family when ordered to do so by his commanding officer. That order originated due to the officer having some twisted idea about prolonging the war in the Middle East.

The other protagonist is Renee Hart, a female special forces operative with the army who has chosen the military as a career and has an excellent reputation with her commanding officers. Kane and Hart find themselves in a fight against a conspiracy that leads all the way to the U.S. president’s inner circle. They must battle against rogue U.S. soldiers that are among the best in the world in order to stop them from completing their dangerous plan.

As expected action in the book is described, Hood has no problem in bringing the reader into it with apt descriptions of battle, the equipment used in fighting the battle and outcomes involving killing and being killed or wounded. It’s real – an author should concentrate on writing about what he is familiar with and Joshua Hood was there. The weakness I found was a tendency to move too rapidly from one scene to another. And most important since Kane and Renee will be placed together in future novels, there is no real character development.There is some insinuation that a love affair will develop between the two but who are they aside from being professional soldiers? These are factors that should be corrected as new books involving the duo are written.

The book is an adrenaline rush from the get go and certainly introduces situations that are real and well described. Looking forward to the next Joshua Hood novel.

10/15 Paul Lane

CLEAR BY FIRE by Joshua Hood. Touchstone (August 18, 2015). ISBN: 978-1501105715. 352p.


3 Responses to CLEAR BY FIRE by Joshua Hood

  1. clickclickmycat says:

    Great review. You always do such a good job. I know you are a Bravo Andy Cohen fan, as am I. I can’t wait for the OC reunion.

  2. Chelsea says:

    For the most part your review hits the mark. This book is exciting and edgy. I only disagree is in your assessment of how Hood wrote Renee and Mason and their relationship. The way I see it, they’ve only just met, and we have only just met them. Series characters aren’t completely developed in one book, a little is revealed in each book, and we grow to know them just as we do with people we meet in real life. I can only imagine there is much more to learn about these two, and while there was definitely some chemistry between the two, the author did a great job in keeping it at bay which keeps me hoping for more, but wondering if the nature of their jobs leaves any room for romance. Only time will tell, but don’t you just love Renee and how Hood didn’t “over-describe” her? I’m so glad he didn’t describe her like a “Victoria Secret model… with a gun — err, several guns– and the ability to use them all.” He made her real, and for that I thank him.

    Looking forward to reading more of your reviews.

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