The American Terrorist (American Terrorist Series Book 1) by Jeffrey Sabins takes us deep inside the Iraqi conflict, with Marine Gunnery Sergeant Jared Tremble. Jared joined the army straight out of high-school and is now a veteran of numerous campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and even the Horn of Africa. He is well respected and extremely good at his role as part of a marine corps unit. Jared, however, has had enough. He feels the government and the army top brass have been lying consistently to the troops and that they should not even be there, fighting in some foreign land against an enemy that is simply trying to live its purpose and faith. The crunch time has come for Jared and he has decided on an audacious plan to try to gain some meaning in his life. Jared will walk out of camp one night and join the Army of Islam, to fight against his former brothers-in-arms – Jared will become a traitor. Bereft and lost he sees this as the only way to spark some meaning back into his existence. He is tired of fighting for cowards and liars who use the troops on the ground as their proxies to gain power and influence over the region. Gunnery Sergeant Jared Tremble is about to go rogue!
This book, The American Terrorist (American Terrorist Series Book 1) is the first in a planned trilogy of books involving the characters introduced in this novel. Author Jeffrey Sabins, as a marine himself, clearly has a deep understanding and empathy for the characters in the story. His development of his main character Jared Tremble and the attempt to understand his state of mind at the time of his desertion is well written. I did find the narrative a little choppy and truncated at times – perhaps that is the way of the marines (short, sharp, and to the point). The author raises valid questions about the purpose of the war in the Middle-East and the general response of the “grunts” on the ground that are required to prosecute it. The action scenes (of which there are plenty) are clearly written from the perspective of one who has seen action himself and this lends a realism and veracity to the carnage that is war, especially war waged close up against a determined and driven foe. As a debut novel and as one that sets the scene for future iterations, I felt the author had achieved his objective of the reader investing in his main character and wanting to follow more of his adventures in future. I look forward to seeing the style and scope of this author’s work, develop, in future books in the series. A good, solid effort for a debut novel in this reviewer’s opinion.