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Navy SEAL James Reece faces a devastating global conspiracy in this high-adrenaline thriller that is ripped from the headlines—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr.

In 1980, a freshman congressman was gunned down in Rhode Island, sending shockwaves through Washington that are still reverberating over four decades later.

Now, with the world on the brink of war and a weakened United States facing rampant inflation, political division, and shocking assassinations, a secret cabal of global elites is ready to assume control. And with the world’s most dangerous man locked in solitary confinement, the conspirators believe the final obstacle to complete domination has been eliminated. They’re wrong.

From the firms of Wall Street to the corridors of power in Washington, DC and Moscow, secrets from the past have the uncanny ability to rise to the surface in the present.

With the odds stacked against him, James Reece is on a mission generations in the making. Unfortunately for his enemies, the former SEAL is not concerned with odds. He is on the warpath. And when James Reece picks up his tomahawk and sniper rifle, no one is out of range.


Book Information

  • Title: Only the Dead
  • Series: The Terminal List
  • Author: Jack Carr
  • Page Count: 576
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Rating: 5.0/5.0
  • Date Read: May 13th, 2024

Opening Thoughts

I’ve steadily been getting caught up with the Terminal List series by Jack Carr. I had one book left to get under my belt before the latest installment gets released in June. I successfully devoured Only the Dead this past weekend in just 3 days (minus the 45 minutes I spent wrapping it up just this morning). This just might have been my favorite adventure of James Reece to date. I’ve really enjoyed all six of books from the series so far but this just resonated with me for some reason.


The pacing was fast in this one. It seemed like the story was non-stop! It wasn’t a blur of action though there is plenty of that to scratch that itch if it’s what your looking for. But even the moments where there isn’t a lot of action and fighting going on, the mood is still very entertaining with that thriller and suspense vibe. No issues with names as these stories are basically modern times in our own recognizable world. The audiobooks narrated by Ray Porter continue to breath even more life into these stories.

Another aspect I enjoy is the notes from the author both to start the book and wrap it up. The fact Jack Carr dangles the carrot in front of the reader eluding to letting us know at the end how much of this story is based on fact versus fiction got me thinking right away. Then the conclusion when he lays that information out for us at the end was interesting. I was a bit surprised on a couple of topics where I thought for sure they were going to be based on facts or real world locations yet they were just from the author’s imagination.

World Building

The world building continues to amaze me. I just mentioned the fact that so many of the places and events described in the series are believable whether they are based on fact or fiction. Jack Carr does a great job in making these all seem feasible and paints a detailed picture allowing me to feel like I’m right in the thick of these scenes. Whether it’s in a Bratva massage parlor or standing on the banks of a peaceful river having a discussion with someone fishing, I feel like I’m right there.

Character Development

The character development was also solid. I think the key take away for me as it relates to characters in Only the Dead is the natural thought process of trying to figure out who the mole is and how these characters connect both past and present. I’m happy to say I ultimately didn’t end up picking the correct character as the mole. I’m still suspicious of the character I had thought it was though. I think in the world of intelligence and spies it’s only natural to think any and everyone has such potential. As Thomas Reese said, trust no one!

Other than that, there are still several returning characters and new ones to be found in book six here. Some new characters from James Reece’s father and grandfather’s past were a lot of fun. I did feel there were some other potentials that were quickly lost to the reader since said character didn’t last long. But as with these mysterious plots constantly twisting and turning, who knows what or who may return that we though were deceased by this book.

Roundup & Recommendation

In closing I have to mention the fact that James Reese may not be invincible but man is this guy hard to kill! This far into the series it does seem a bit ridiculous if you think of it in a realistic light. However, if you take it at face value that this is basically just an entertaining action film in a different media (which I do) these reads are so much fun! The characters and plot continue to keep me guessing and the action scenes are top notch.

It’s always difficult for me to discuss recommendations when I’m several books into a series. I’m assuming if you’ve made it to book five, you’re going to continue onto this book. If you haven’t checked out this series and you like action packed thrillers set in the military, intelligence, espionage or spy world, do yourself a favor and give this a go!


World Building 4.75/5
Pacing 5/5
Character Development 4.75/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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