Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds
A powerful, dark, and morally provocative debut novel about a U.S. Special Forces unit operating in the Middle East, written by a former soldier—No Easy Day meets Redeployment…

It’s hot and getting hotter this summer in Afghanipakiraqistan—the preferred name for the ambiguous stretch of the world where the U.S. Special Forces operate with little outside attention. Team Leader Dutch Shaw is missing his late grandmother. She was the last link he had to civilian life, to any kind of world of innocence.

But there’s no time to mourn. After two helicopters in a sister squadron are shot down, Shaw and his team know that they’re going to be spun up and sent back in, deep into insurgent territory, where a mysterious new organization called Al Ayeelaa has been attracting high-value targets from across the region. As Shaw and his men fight their way closer to the source, mission by mission, they begin to realize that their way may have been prepared for them in advance, and not by a welcoming host.

The Knife is a debut novel of intense authenticity by a former soldier in a United States Special Operations Command direct-action team. As scenes of horseshoes and horseplay cut to dim Ambien-soaked trips in helicopters and beyond, Ritchell’s story takes us deep beneath the testosterone-laced patter into the lonelier, more ambivalent world of military life in the Middle East. The result is a fast-paced journey into darkness; a quintessential novel of the American wars of the twenty-first century.
Praise for the book:
"Raw, authentic and deeply moving, this is a stunning debut." ~Rene Denfeld, author of The Enchanted

"The most gripping and thought-provoking novel I've read this year, The Knife will enchant, move, and haunt its readers. Ross Ritchell's gritty prose is stunning, and his painfully human characters linger in the mind. The Knife is a powerful meditation on war and man, told by a remarkably gifted novelist." ~Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author

"Former Army Ranger and combat veteran Ritchell delivers a war story about the mind-numbing periods of waiting, the stress of battle fatigue, the ingeniously idiotic ideas that fill downtime and the spine-tingling moments when life is ever so fragile...Ritchell describes night operations, 'snatch and grab's' and the elimination of HVTs (High Value Targets) without false bravado, while still broadcasting the immense skill possessed by these soldiers. He draws the high drama and moral complexity of the Rangers' life on the front lines from a place of narrative distance, allowing the reader to fill in the unstated emotions of Shaw and his team, giving their story great poignancy. A beautiful book about the soldiers who sit on the front lines of the U.S. military machine." ~Kirkus
"The Knife is intimate immersion in a squad of soldiers in a war zone. It is funny, disgusting, warm and terrifying, by turns or all at once. It is beautiful. Honest. Heart breaking." ~Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love 

"Ross Ritchell has written a compellingly authentic debut novel. It’s uniquely haunting effect arises in part from a dissonance between the clarity of both its action and the immediacy of its telegraphic prose, and yet, at the same time there’s a convincing sense of disassociation, a shadow of shocked, repressed emotion." ~Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago

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