“An absolutely amazing thriller! Steel Fear comes in hot and never slows down. Exciting, action-packed, and twisty from stem to stern. This will be one of the hottest books of the summer!” – Brad Thor #1 New York Times bestselling author of Black Ice.

Editor’s Note: The following is an interview of Brandon Webb and John Mann about their new book Steel Fear. It was originally published in Publishers Weekly.

Steel Fear a Thriller

Bestsellers Webb and Mann (Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide) effortlessly transition into fiction with this nail-biter set aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, which is about to leave the Persian Gulf and return to the States. Since a deadly helicopter accident, morale has been low aboard the aircraft carrier. Then a crew member apparently commits suicide by jumping off the ship, followed by a second similar death six days later. Both left typed notes, raising the possibility that a murderer is responsible. Attention focuses on Finn, a Navy SEAL who arrived shortly before the first fatality. Suspecting foul play, Finn investigates, but he’s unsettled by his loss of memory around the times of the fatalities, as well as by his last operation, in which his team failed to stop a terror cell from massacring civilians in Yemen. The authors effectively integrate former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb’s military experiences into the plot, making every detail ring true. That more thrillers are to come from these authors will be welcome news to readers who appreciate carefully plotted and intelligent suspense.

Is that a factor of the branch of the military that would be involved in dealing with such a crime, or mostly the isolated setting?

JDM: Both. By the nature of the beast, the navy is a spit-and-polish operation and discipline on a ship is necessarily high. I’m guessing this kind of incident would be somewhat less of a complete surprise in, say, the army. And the isolated setting is definitely a factor: there’s no NCIS or other investigative body on board; if this had happened portside it’d be a different story.

BTW: The isolated setting and inability to quickly involve the right authorities to help is a major factor that makes it unique to the US Navy. 

Note: This interview was originally conducted for Publishers Weekly with Lenny Picker. These were the unused Q&A that John and I picked up from the cutting room floor. They have been published for the first time here for the SOFREP community. Enjoy. You can read Lenny’s interview here

The initial plot idea came to Mr. Webb about 25 years ago – to what extent has the story changed from the original concept?