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 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.
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.
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