Today’s the day! RECON, the third installment of the national bestselling RED OPS series, is now available. Follow this intimate tale as Red Harmon strives to eliminate the covert forces that have threatened his family and our nation for two novels. I thoroughly enjoyed writing all my books, but RECON is my personal favorite.
Below is a recent interview I had with International Thriller Writers. Enjoy!
Interview with David McCaleb, by International Thriller Writers
RECON, the novel
1) What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Many military operators describe the teams with which they serve in terms of family. “They’re my brothers,” we hear them say. Red Harmon, my protagonist, is a devoted operator and father. In RECON, he fights to defend his family from the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado all the way to Israel’s West Bank. Through the pages he is ambushed, shot, and beaten, nonetheless evading his pursuers, all while protecting his family from angry bear and a hungry cougar. He is conflicted internally as well, shunning doubts as evidence mounts against his wife being the true enemy.
But by the final chapter, readers will take away an appreciation for the lengths a father will go to protect his family and nation. They will enjoy a satisfying sense that the intimate conflict in which they’ve been enrolled was time well-spent. That the character overcame, and loyalties were proved. That military operators are heroes, but also humans.
2) How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
RECON’s contribution to the genre, in a single word, is humanity. It is an intimate look at an outstanding operator and explores whether he is still the same man when stripped of the usual entourage of equipment and the support of his unit. This story is unique in that opposition comes so heavily, externally and internally. He is challenged by man, nature, his own physical limitations, the family he is trying to save, doubt, and even betrayal by his most trusted team member – his wife.
3) Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?
RECON contains several scenes from the point of view of Red‘s ten-year-old daughter, Penny. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed crafting the story through her eyes, how she perceived trust, conflict, and danger. She emerges as one of the truest champions in this story, and many readers have told me she was their favorite.
4) No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
The novel includes two outstanding, unique, and disgracefully lovable characters. One is a blue-collar four-wheeling electric lineman and the other a backwoods, UFO believing, gun toting, conspiracy theorist. Both are sexist and bigoted, but can’t help doing the right thing despite themselves. The scary thing was that, growing up in rural America, I didn’t have to reach far back into my character storehouse to create these two. You’ll love them!
5) What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
The authors with the largest influence on my writing, by far, are Lenore Hart and David Poyer. This wife-and-husband team lead a writer’s workshop I’ve christened AA, for Author’s Anonymous. We gather, read each other’s work aloud, provide constructive criticism, and learn craft. I visited this workshop seven years ago with what I considered a novel ready to publish. It took years of tutelage and patience on the part of these two, and the entire work group, for me to learn how to write. I still attend today, each week taking away some worthwhile nugget of writing polish. I, and many others, are indebted to them both.