I had been looking forward to reading Dalton Fury’s first novel, Black Site, since it was first announced because I knew as a former Army Special Operations guy, and a writer of military fiction myself, that someone with Fury’s background was set up for a grand slam. There are a lot of writers in this genre and some of them are very good, but I find that most of them just don’t understand SOF. I’m not just talking about the technical details, but they don’t get the mentality or the attitude. This was where Fury’s book really comes through for readers.

Black Site by Dalton Fury
Black Site, by Dalton Fury

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Fury was the Delta Force commander assigned to track down and eliminate Osama Bin Laden in the beginning of the Afghan campaign. He wrote a book about this experience in “Kill Bin Laden” before venturing into fiction with this novel.

Reading through the first third of Black Site was a somewhat creepy experience for me. The protagonist, Kolt Raynor, is a former Delta operator who got a little too aggressive and pushed things a little too far while on a cross border operation into Pakistan, with disastrous results. The reason why this was so creepy was because it all sounded so eerily familiar to me.

To be clear, I never participated in any cross-border missions into Pakistan and I never served in Fury’s unit. I was in the same neighborhood though. At one point, Kolt’s load out for the Pakistan mission is detailed, including a couple black mini-grenades made in Belgium. I carried a couple in my chest rig while up in the mountains. Wonder where we got those from…

After everything goes tits-up for Kolt, he gets washed out of Delta and takes up a new career as a functional alcoholic. Those who will still talk to him offer some contract work, which he promptly screws up, so mostly he’s just drinking and selling camping gear at REI. He even lives in a trailer in the same part of Fayetteville that I lived in during the Q-Course. Fury does a great job of fleshing out those details that will be familiar to those who served.

The main plot of the novel picks up when Kolt is brought to a secret meeting with his former commander from Delta. Some of Kolt’s team mates from the Pakistan mission were captured alive; Al Qaeda has sent proof of life and are using the prisoners as human shields to prevent US drone attacks. Delta wants their boys back but someone needs to get eyes on the hostages and bureaucratic bullshit is preventing that from happening.

It’s a suicide mission that has to be run outside of official channels. Luckily, Kolt is just the kind of guy they are looking for. He has the talent (if he can give up the booze) and the motivation, but more importantly, the brass knows that no one will miss him if he eats shit over in Pakistan.

Check out this audio preview: [haiku url=”http://cms.sofrep.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/black-site-audio-preview.mp3″ graphical=”true” title=”Black Site Audio Sampler”]

Like I said, this genre is over crowded. There are some good writers out there, some not so good, but Fury brings solid writing and credibility to the table. I highly recommend Black Site and am looking forward to the sequel, Tier One Wild. On the civvie side, Black Site might be your best bet on learning what kind of people and motivations you find in elite units outside of actually meeting them.