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Jack Carr’s Only The Dead — This Summer’s Best Thriller

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Twitter Screenshot, @JackCarrUSA

Jack Carr isn’t just writing political thrillers, he’s deciphering historical realpolitik and translating it into a pure theory of statesmanship, attaining a level of finesse known only to Kissinger at the height of his cold war prowess. It’s prosaic gold. 


Carr does all this while utterly convincing you that you’re former Navy Seal James Reece, cooly exploiting movement, cover, and tactical marksmanship while copper jacketed bullets crack the sound barrier a few inches from your ear. When the guns go dry, Reece wields his trademark Winkler tomahawk, its whistling war cry a peon to a thirst for blood and brain matter. And, you’re front row for all of it.  

Your favorite reading chair will forever be haunted with the smell of gun powder as you white knuckle through Only The Dead — chapters blurring into the frenetic tempo of “whites of the eyes” warfare between a man obsessed with the truth and the seemingly irresistible powers of nation states.  

Carr delivers a graduate level course in geopolitical politics while delivering the raucous good time that thriller fans have come to expect from the apex warlocks of combat storytelling. 

Reece begins this latest Homeric saga stripped naked, locked away in a super max where he’s confronted with the prison’s most diabolical weapon — utter darkness, palpable, blinding, a purple-black abysm of strangulating despair. Carr begins his life lessons here, charting a course for his warrior protagonist through the battle space of the mind. As James Reece masters himself, you get a real world view into the combatant mindset — the key to any victory on or off the field of honor. 

Back is one of Carr’s most clever and prescient characters— Alice. An artificial intelligence that’s escaped into a quantum cloud, imbuing her with autonomy, the most human of qualities. She exists at the atomic level, manipulating events and providing top cover for Reece, at least for the time being. Alice is a digital metahuman, a singularity who’s crystal clear about her pronouns. 


This AI is one of the most interesting developments in the political thriller genre, and Jack Carr demonstrates his ever burgeoning talent as a thriller savant. He’s trailblazing into a dark continent. Other talented thriller novelists are sure to follow…if they’re smart. 

Only The Dead comes at just the right time. Somehow Carr instinctively sculpts his novels in perfect mimicry of the complex geo-political issues of the day. Carr is sure to be praised for engaging with thorny issues like America’s involvement in Ukraine. He brings a brilliant and cogent analysis to bear. 

Carr’s is a “boots on the ground” perspective, where the truth is most likely to be found — like a priceless pearl enshrouded in a desiccated dune. The slow motion waves of sand have long since lapped the blood of American men and women who nobly bore arms. Politics goes to die in those ancient seas of mirage and powdered stone. Carr has been there, done that, and gained the clarity offered by those pearls of experience.

There are real treasures in Only The Dead and you don’t have to experience combat in the Middle East to glean them. Just read Jack Carr from the safety of your over stuffed reading chair.

Truth is a major theme in Carr’s latest thriller. Reece confronts himself with Pilate’s ancient question: What is the truth? Any thinking person has had to come to grips with this question. And, Carr is a man of thought. 


Carr recently granted an interview to Townhall about Only The Dead and had this to say about the profundity of Reece’s internal monologue. For Carr, truth isn’t a thing of convenience, or subject to whim. Carr said, recently we’ve seen “a lot of debate about things that have been factual for most of human history.” 

Not surprisingly, Carr is an avid student of history, and is well abreast of how the present is shaping the future. He’s thought deeply about the impact of artificial intelligence.

"It [AI] has grown in importance and influence a lot faster than many other things we thought were in the science fiction realm…it shouldn’t be a shock if there are some negative consequences…associated with AI…we can’t even be trusted with social media, to not weaponize that..and to become a weapon to divide," Carr told Townhall. "I’ll be exploring these things in the pages of my novels. And, I do worry specifically for our kids and future generations, and the kind of world they’ll grow up in."

Carr’s ethos hasn’t changed one iota from when he led men on the battlefield, he’s just as committed to adding value to every aspect of his relationship with readers, podcast listeners, or in his work with the Rescue 22 Foundation

The foundation provides fully trained service and support dogs to veterans of the armed forces suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and the physical and emotional trauma of the battlefield. The number “22” denotes the number of veterans who take their own lives each day in the United States. 


Only The Dead puts you behind the trigger with James Reece. It plants the maple grip of a Winkler tomahawk in your hands and teleports you through the magic of high story telling into the deadly world of international politics — a world only dimly communicated in today’s headlines or cable news broadcasts. 

It does all this, but most importantly, Only The Dead is true to Jack Carr’s ethos — it’s a work of fiction that speaks truth and adds real value to your most valuable asset. This is a book that’s actually worth your time. 

Don’t miss the finest thriller of the summer. It’s available for preorder now, and will be available in stores and online May 16th! 

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