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Steel Fear
Cover of Steel Fear
Steel Fear
A Thriller
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An aircraft carrier adrift with a crew the size of a small town. A killer in their midst. And the disgraced Navy SEAL who must track him down . . . The high-octane debut thriller from New York Times...
An aircraft carrier adrift with a crew the size of a small town. A killer in their midst. And the disgraced Navy SEAL who must track him down . . . The high-octane debut thriller from New York Times...
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  • An aircraft carrier adrift with a crew the size of a small town. A killer in their midst. And the disgraced Navy SEAL who must track him down . . . The high-octane debut thriller from New York Times bestselling writing team Webb & Mann—combat-decorated Navy SEAL Brandon Webb and award-winning author John David Mann.

    A BARRY AWARD NOMINEE“Sensationally good—an instant classic, maybe an instant legend.”—Lee Child
     
    The moment Navy SEAL sniper Finn sets foot on the USS Abraham Lincolnto hitch a ride home from the Persian Gulf, it’s clear something is deeply wrong. Leadership is weak. Morale is low. And when crew members start disappearing one by one, what at first seems like a random string of suicides soon reveals something far more sinister: There’s a serial killer on board. Suspicion falls on Finn, the newcomer to the ship. After all, he’s being sent home in disgrace, recalled from the field under the dark cloud of a mission gone horribly wrong. He’s also a lone wolf, haunted by gaps in his memory and the elusive sense that something he missed may have contributed to civilian deaths on his last assignment. Finding the killer offers a chance at redemption . . . if he can stay alive long enough to prove it isn’t him.
     
    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    1

    Shivers rippled over Monica Halsey’s naked skin as she peered into the steel mirror and splashed water on her face. Monica needed to be on her game tonight. She was close to earning her helicopter aircraft commander qualification, and tonight’s hop was a critical step in that process.

    Because Papa Doc was flying with her.

    She shivered again. Lord, why did they keep the AC up so high in this place? She pulled on a red­—
    squadron colors­—then fished out a tan flight suit, stepped into the legs, pulled up the suit, and slipped her arms into the sleeves.

    His name wasn’t really Papa Doc, of course, it was Nikos Papadakis, and he was a control freak and a bully. Which was unfortunate, because he was also her commanding officer.

    Papa Doc didn’t like her. She didn’t know why. Some security issue, probably; his daddy hit him or the big kids teased him or Lord knew what, but whatever the reason, it was a problem, because he held the keys to the kingdom­—the kingdom in this case being Monica’s HAC qual.

    Which Papa Doc had the power to quash.

    She zipped her flight suit up the front to mid-sternum, rolled up the sleeves to mid-forearm.

    Focused on her HAC, and on what lay beyond that.

    A tour at the Pentagon, some high-profile posting, maybe an admiral’s aide? Tough job to get, and well worth it. If she did an excellent job there (and she would) she’d have people in high places looking out for her. Proceed to O-5, commander, and then O-6: the promised land. As a captain all sorts of posts would open up to her. Command of a ship. A cruiser. Even a carrier. Why not? And after captain came admiral. There’d been plenty of female admirals in the navy by now, even one full-ranked female four-star. The admiral of their own strike group was a woman. Not impossible at all.

    Eyes on the prize.

    The most important event shaping Monica’s life occurred ten years before she was born. In 1983 a thirty-two-year-old astronaut named Sally Ride flew the space shuttle Challenger and became the first American woman in space. On a third-grade school trip to the Houston Space Center Monica learned all about Sally Ride, learned that girls could actually become astronauts, and at the age of eight she fell in love. From that day on she wanted to fly more than anything in the world.

    She bent down, slipped on her brown oxfords, and began lacing them tight.

    In junior high she learned about Kara Hultgreen, the first female navy combat aviator, and her ambition shifted from astronaut to fighter pilot. She also learned that the USS Abraham Lincoln became the first Pacific Fleet carrier to integrate female aviators into its crew in 1993, the year Monica was born. It was on the Lincoln’s flight deck that Hultgreen flew her F-14 Tomcat.

    Monica looked again at her reflection in the polished steel. “And here we are,” she whispered.

    The USS Abraham freaking Lincoln.

    She glanced around the dimly lit stateroom. Anne, one of her roommates, lay back on her rack, headphones on, murmuring incomprehensible phrases. Anne was sucking another foreign language (Mandarin, this time) into her voracious brain. Kris was on flight duty, gunning her F/A-18 somewhere up there through the Mesopotamian murk. The fourth rack, the one above Anne’s, was empty now. Monica forced herself not to look at it. The sight still put a knot in her stomach.

    She reached for her toothbrush and squeezed on a pearl of toothpaste.

    She’d learned a few more things in junior high, too. She learned about something called the “Tailhook...

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