Bestselling author Jack Carr releases new thriller, preps for pair of upcoming streaming series

Bestselling author Jack Carr releases new thriller, preps for pair of upcoming streaming series
Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 5:15 PM EDT
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PARK CITY, UT (WECT) - New York Times best-selling author Jack Carr has brought former Navy SEAL turned CIA operative James Reece back for a sixth adventure. In Only the Dead, Reece faces a high-level international conspiracy to weaken the United States by setting off a nuclear device, while trying to unravel the secrets his father chased decades ago. It is the longest thriller in the series for Carr, himself a former Navy SEAL and Special Operations Commander, and admittedly his most brutal.

“I didn’t start off to write the most brutal novel to date, nor did I start out to write my longest novel to date,” Carr said in an interview from his home in Utah. “It took 139,000 words to get there, which happens to be my longest novel, but I didn’t start out that way. Same way with the brutality. I didn’t start off seeing that, it just naturally happened as I wrote. For me, it’s all about the story. If you stay true to that story, you’re not wasting bandwidth anywhere else. People are trusting me with their time, and they’re never going to get that time back. So, for me, all my heart and soul has to go into the story.”

Carr has set each of his novels against a particular theme in James Reece’s life. In Only the Dead, the theme is truth and consequences. Reece spends a good deal of the time reflecting on an old letter from his father and seeking the answers that will lead to the truth behind the mystery Thomas Reece sought to solve. As for the consequences, anyone getting in the son’s way suffers them, even if they are doled out years later.

“Every book has a theme, and I find that really helps to keep me on track,” Carr said. “Every (book) has had this theme where either I have to directly tie it to that theme, or indirectly tie everything back to that theme. We’ve seen just a lack of accountability, really, from Vietnam onward in our senior levels of government and senior-level military leadership. And so all of that comes together throughout the novel, and then particularly at the end. I have some good as some good lines in there that relate to truth and consequences.”

Along with being a New York Times bestseller, Carr’s 2018 debut novel, The Terminal List, became a top-rated streaming series last year on Prime Video, with Hollywood A-lister Chris Pratt playing James Reece as part of a star-studded cast. The studio gave the green light to a second season, which will be based on Carr’s second thriller True Believer, along with a separate series centered around Reece’s former Navy SEAL teammate Ben Edwards, played by Taylor Kitsch. Carr had started working on the screenplay for that series when the writer’s strike forced things to a halt.

“It’s an origin story, and so we go back in time to show his journey from the SEAL teams to the CIA,” Carr says about the Ben Edwards spin-off. “We put pencils down a few days ago because of the writer’s strike. But once we pick those pencils back up, or start typing away again, I’m super excited to finish those up and then start filming. And then we roll right from that into the second novel, season two of The Terminal List, True Believer, and that one stars Chris Pratt. That one’s going to be interesting because, in the book, I have a threatened invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which is thwarted, of course, by the hero, James Reece. But now in the interim, Russia actually did invade Ukraine. So that’s going to have to change in the script. I love being able to get creative with those sorts of things. I don’t look at them as an obstacle or a problem. It’s more, ‘How do we creatively incorporate real-world events into the storyline in a way that is authentic and honest to the characters, to the story, to the reader?’, and keeps things grounded in this foundation of modern warfare and keeps exploring the mindset of a modern-day warrior.”

Carr’s second career is in high gear. He says he has ideas that can be incorporated into future James Reece thrillers, so fans can be assured of getting to enjoy more of his work. The Terminal List streaming series took his characters onto a new platform and, once the writer’s strike is settled, work will move forward on the second and third productions. He hosts the popular Danger Close podcast and recently launched his own collection of apparel and accessories.

“In my heart of hearts I’ve wanted to do these things since I was a little kid, both serve my country in uniform as a SEAL and write thrillers,” Carr said. “It’s kind of like the young kid who wants to be an astronaut and never thinks of anything else. My dreams have remained the same since I was a little kid. I never wavered. And I put in the work, that’s the other side of it. Reading all these thrillers growing up by guys like Tom Clancy, David Morrell, Nelson DeMille, Stephen Hunter, A.J. Quinnell, Jason Pollock, Mark Hogan, all these guys who laid the foundation for me from the fan perspective. Looking back, that was giving me an education, studying warfare, studying terrorism, insurgencies, counter-insurgencies, special operations. Then I joined the military, make it through SEAL training, go downrange in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, I have the practical application of warfare from those two locations. All that came together at the right time and place, and ended up being incorporated in my novels.”

You can click here to visit Jack Carr’s website and learn more about Only The Dead.