Seal Team 666Seal Team 666
Weston Ochse

Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martins Press)
320 Pages, November, 2012
Review by Norman L Rubenstein

Those familiar with the written work of Weston Ochse; for example his HWA Bram Stoker Award® winning first novel, Scarecrow Gods, or his Pushcart Prize nominated short story, “Appalachian Galapagos,” his Bram Stoker Award® Finalist fiction collection, Multiplex Fandango, and/or his brilliant novella, Redemption Roadshow — also a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for Long Fiction — know that his genre-transcending fiction is always multifaceted and engrossing and can even be emotionally moving and poignant, even as it also freezes your blood. However while there are flashes of such to be found in his fiction up to this point, the author never before fully made use of his many years experience as a U.S Army intelligence officer and current intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency — until now, that is.

Ochse’s latest novel, Seal Team 666, demonstrates the author’s real and intimate knowledge of how real Seal Teams and Special Forces deploy and how the team members act and behave under the pressures inherent in their jobs. His descriptions have that evident ‘ring of truth’ to them and appear highly plausible. The concept behind the novel is as clever as it is simple: the author asks the readers to posit one, and only one, point of willing suspension of disbelief — that there exists a special Seal Team more top secret than even the “regular, functioning (real) Seal Teams — whose function is to meet and stop all supernatural and paranormal threats to the USA. It is the “special forces” equivalent of the supposed X-Files department of the FBI, only far more top-secret: Seal Team 666.

If one were to subtract the supernatural elements from this novel, you’d still be left with a scorching-hot, fast paced and utterly realistic action and espionage novel every bit as exciting as anything by Tom Clancy or Eric Lustbader. The depictions of the training, life and missions encountered by the USA’s Special Forces and Seal Teams have the clear, crystal ring of truth to them, no surprise considering the author’s real life experiences. The incorporation of the supernatural elements are also, to no surprise, handled very effectively and manage to add an extra element of action and tension to the narrative.

While trying to refrain from inadvertently revealing any “spoilers,” the novel follows a young trainee who has suffered and fought his way through the final training program to become a Navy Seal to find himself plucked from there just four weeks shy of graduation to become the newest member of the ultra-secret “special” Seal Team that is tasked with dealing with all potential supernatural threats to American security. The novel follows him and his new colleagues as they must react to a very mysterious, seemingly supernatural threat to national security and, along the way, answers the question as to why he, in particular, has been chosen to join the team.

In conclusion, Seal Team 666 is a truly addictive read – I finished the novel in two sittings, and that only because I eventually needed to grab a few hours sleep. Seal Team 666 reads like bottled and purified adrenaline. If any novel can be said to possess the requisite DNA to become a bestseller, this is surely one. Indeed, the recent news that MGM Studios has already purchased the film rights to the novel would seem to reinforce this. Seal Team 666 is highly recommended.

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