Review: Dead Six
Admit it. Once upon a time you read Tom Clancy too. There’s no shame in that admission. Clancy had some awesome stuff…you know, before he just seemed to lose his touch. CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. WITHOUT REMORSE. Yeah. Awesome. But here’s the thing, there came a point where the story took a back seat to Clancy showing off how much he knew about the technical aspects of everything military related. If you go on for a full chapter talking about how a bullet works, and then don’t do anything with that chunk of pages, you’re doing it wrong in my opinion. It’s about the story. It’s about the characters.
Tom Clancy went away well before he wrote TEETH OF THE TIGER (I still shudder), and there wasn’t really anyone who captured my imagination the same way.
This is the part where a lesser reviewer would say, “Until now!” I refuse to say that.
DEAD SIX (Amazon) is Military Fiction. It is also Larry Correia‘s first published collaborative novel. DEAD SIX is co-written with Mike Kupari, a newcomer to the writing scene. Now, I’ve read a lot of Larry Corriea’s solo work. Typically it involves monsters get shot in the face with guns. Larry is unapologetically pulp. He writes for the fun factor, and he’s proud of it. But here’s the thing, he actually knows his stuff when it comes to weapons and the military.
When I read Military Fiction, I’ve noticed that if the author (or in this case, the co-author) is a guy who was/is actually in the military, the novel has some added “pop” to it. This is where Mike Kupari comes in. The guy, by definition, is a complete stud. Have you seen “The Hurt Locker”? It’s about those crazy guys that go defuse bombs that are set with the intention of killing, well, everyone. Kupari is one of those guys. Seriously. Writer, off duty. Bomb defusing guy filled with awesome when in the field. Credibility? Pssshh. He sweats out more credibility in an afternoon that most of us every gain in a lifetime. And as cliché as it sounds, you wouldn’t know by reading the novel that Kupari is new to the writing scene.
DEAD SIX is written from two First Person PoVs, each written by one of the authors. One PoV is Lorenzo, one of the best thieves and assassins in the world. His job is to kill the other PoV, Valentine. Valentine is a member of Dead Six, an elite military organization that is sent to the Persian Gulf nation of Zubara to perform counter-terror operations.
So how does DEAD SIX read? It reads like the good Clancy novels where the focus is on character and and story rather than textbook-like, useless details. There is a lot of action here. Kupari writes like a pro I never expected from a first-time author, and Correia writes like the pro author I’ve come to expect. This novel is actually pretty grim. The body-count is really high. Both Kupari and Correia manage to keep the tone dark and serious, all the while giving the reader enough humor to keep things from being too depressing.
Every little while I would stop an say, “Man, that was crazy over-the-top!” But then I would stop and think, “Nah, not really that over-the-top at all. Kinda scary. AND EVEN BETTER!!”
Here is what I like the most about this novel. I absolutely love the way the two PoVs contrast, yet have similarities. They are very much like opposite sides of the same coin. When they start having indirect interactions with each other, the enjoyment factor for the reader skyrockets. Then when they have direct interactions, it gets even better. This is the reason why I’ve always been a fan of collaborations. When both authors feed off of each other, the story’s quality is insanely awesome. This is truly a case where the novel is greater than the sum of its two fantastic parts.
DEAD SIX is awesome Military Fiction, the way the PoVs contrast, the story--and everything else. In for a penny, in for a pound, with this one.
I’m pretty much always impressed by the way Correia goes about his business. It’s why I like him, and why I will always read his novels. Not to take anything away from Correia (long-distance high-five, buddy), but I was seriously impressed by Kupari. I knew which author wrote each PoV (nope, not telling), and there was no drop-off in quality from one co-author to the other. I ran into Kupari at a local convention and told him as much. I don’t think he believed me. You all know me well enough by now to know that I always tell the truth (and that I’m the most humble guy in the entire universe…by far). When I say it, I mean it. Kupari could stop being Captain America today and become a successful author.
So did I like DEAD SIX? Nope. I friggin’ loved it. Every word of every page. I haven’t felt this taken by straight-up Military Fiction since I read CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER.
- Recommended Age: 17+
- Language: Military, assassins and crime lords. Yeah. A lot.
- Violence: I feel silly even discussing this in a Military Fiction novel. Tons.
- Sex: Nothing detailed
Series links: Dead Six
- # 1: Dead Six —This Review —Amazon —Audible
- # 2: Swords of Exodus —EBR Review —Amazon —Audible
- # 3: Alliance of Shadows —EBR Review —Amazon —Audible
so this is without the supernatural stuff correia includes in his books right ?
Right. Like I said in the review, this is a military thriller. No werewolves or vampires or monsters of supernatural origins.
No, if you read the whole thing you know some supernatural stuff is probably coming. They're not fighting monsters or anything, but there's some stuff that's clearly not natural.
Just because it is mysterious in the novel doesn't mean it is supernatural. There's a lot of conspiracy stuff, I'd lean towards explaining the mystery as science rather than supernatural. And some of my thoughts come from working in the same room with Larry Correia five days a week.
Unexplained and weird does not mean supernatural.
How well does the two-writers two-perspectives experiment work? I know you like the result, because that's what your review said. But I'm wondering, does the two-writer part of it add a layer or could it be done like this by just one author? I really like these kinds of literary experiments, as they often produce a book that is somehow different, unique, like the stream of consciousness narrative experiments by Henry James (brother of William James, who introduces/popularized the term stream of consciousness in psychology).
I would like to see your opinion on that (specifically the two-authors part).
I think it worked really well. There is a marked difference (for me at least) between the two PoVs that are written by different authors. While I think that one author MAY have been able to do it, I don't think it would have been near as effective. To me, it did add an extra layer.
While the two PoVs were very different, what I enjoyed was how the two played off each other. Again, I don't know that 1 author would have been able to so easily capture the back-and-forth of the two PoVs like Correia and Kupari did.
I'm going to pick up a copy for sure. Sometimes, I'm doing these kinds of experiments with some of my friends. Writing from two or more perspectives or writing independent parts that barely touch but give you a broad view of the fictional world the whole book is set in, without telling only one story. (As you would have probably guessed reading my posts, those stories aren't written in English.)
The whole two POV/author piece becomes even more interesting when find out story came into being in the first place. A rough (but still good read) version was written as an exercise in ad hoc writing at thehighroad.com (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=207390&highlight=corriea). You'll have to sift through all 53+ pages (as of last week) to catch all of it, though. It was a page turner in that rough form. I can't wait to snag a copy of the ebook this weekend.
Shamandin is right, that post is a great read with incredible insight into the process of the writing of the story. I've been following Larry from the beginning and this was an amazing read back then. Correia says the final, published version is even better and I believe him. Mine is on order.