By: Rick Campbell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Retired submarine commander Rick Campbell’s naval thriller series have been repeatedly compared to Tom Clancy, and for good reason. Campbell’s fourth installment, Blackmail, is a thrilling story pulled straight from the headlines.

In Blackmail, we find America’s navy struggling after a prolonged war with China. While America’s navy is rebuilding, Russian President Yuri Kalinin sees an opportunity for Russia to continue to grow their dominance both by sea and by land. A Russian submarine fires on an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific ocean and claims it was an accident from a training exercise. America accepts Russia’s apologies for the attack. Seeing that America is still weakened by previous wars, Russia greenlights their master plan to gain power. America knows from the start that Russia is up to something, and that becomes clearer when Russia invades Ukraine.

America tries to get NATO to come to the aid of Ukraine and react to Russia’s effort to annex Ukraine. Russia successfully blackmails the NATO countries by threatening to blow up gas and oil pipelines throughout the world. If successfully detonated, countries would be devastated and economies would come to a crashing halt. With the blackmail in place, NATO votes not to start a conflict with Russia, so America goes in alone. To stop an all out attack from the stronger Russian navy, America must attack with all their might all at one time.

Christine O’Connor, the national security advisor, serves as the fantastic tough-as-nails lead character in the series. Along with O’Connor, Campbell composes an ensemble cast that includes something for every reader. O’Connor and the President are great characters for those who love political thrillers. The Navy commanders and SEAL team operatives are perfect for readers who love a little more military action.

The realism portrayed in these books comes from real life experiences. Campbell’s life-long career makes these books shine. He is at his prime with Blackmail, and his thrillers are a must read for those who enjoy political and military thrillers. He uses modern day politics to set the stage in his books, and that’s what makes his books so appealing. You will finish his books and think, “Could this happen in the next few years?”

I finished all four of his books in just a few months, and I would highly suggest you start with the first book in the series. You’ll be hooked right away.

Like A to Z Book Reviews on Facebook to stay up to date on reviews and other book news. You can also subscribe to the blog on the right.