After finishing the first Spider Heist novel, which was the first ever Jason Kasper book that I’ve read (you can read my review of the first book here, and of the second here), I said that I would read his first series, American Mercenary. Jason warned me that it wouldn’t be like the “family friendly” book I had just devoured. OK, this here site/blog is currently containing more paranormal romance than anything else, but that’s only because I started it with the first Paranormal Women’s Fiction books releases. In fact, I read just about everything, so long as it is well-written and, yes, I am partial to thrillers. Very partial.
So I started reading David Rivers’ story, starting with the short story that Jason sent when I subscribed to his newsletter. I was conquered.
What is the series about?
Without spoiling anything (which will be difficult, since there are, after all, six books in the series), American Mercenary tells the story of David Rivers, first as a military, then as a veteran following his medical discharge from the U.S. forces. Struggling with PTSD, contemplating suicide, and having become addicted to liquor, Rivers loses a lot, including his most recent girlfriend, having previously broken up with his fiancée, who had cheated on him during his overseas deployment. That is also when he started BASE jumping, looking for the thrills and adrenaline boost that come with the practice.
Then, to get even more thrills, he joins a team of mercenaries, who hunt and kill for a mysterious employer called “The Handler” (whose name we will never know).
One of only two survivors of an ambush following the team’s last mission, Rivers vows to take his revenge on the Handler, a path which will take him to infiltrate, then join, his enemy’s team, which will take him to many parts of the world (including Somalia, Brazil, and Russia) on a tortuous path to redemption.
Do not get attached
If there is one thing to keep in mind while reading those books, it is never to get attached to any of the secondary characters. If you do, it will be at your own risks.
A bizarre love-hate relationship
Another thing that strikes as we move on into the series is the love-hate relationship between David Rivers and the man he vowed to kill: the Handler.
Indeed, there is a profound respect that develops between the two, which will culminate in the very last book in ways that, I admit, I did not expect.
Did you say “graphic”?
One thing which bears mentioning: all the books are extremely graphic in their depiction of the violence surrounding David and his team(s). In other words, if graphic violence is something that makes you cringe, those books are not for you.
Then again, on top of (or despite of, depending of your views) the violence, you can expect to be glued to the pages, especially during the action scenes, which are numerous and extremely exhilarating, especially when Rivers jumps off planes to reach one mission location or another.
Yes, to the point where you can’t put each book down until you reach its conclusion.
It might have taken me a while to read the whole series, but this is in no way because it isn’t good. All the contrary! I have to admit that, sometimes, I would stall after one of the books in order to, simply, catch my breath before moving on.
Jason Kasper’s first novels are complete, gripping, and David Rivers is a character that you can’t help but like and root for despite his chosen path, or maybe because of his chosen, atypical path.
Yes, to the point where I am looking much forward to reading Kasper’s new series, Shadow Strike, which features David Rivers and his team, taking on new missions away from the mercenary world, starting with The Enemies of my Country, which comes out on 15 January, 2021. Although “away” is quite a relative term, here. However, I recommend that you start with American Mercenary (and all books are available on Kindle Unlimited if you’re one to try before you buy) before jumping into the new series. In other words, get acquainted with David and learn about his path to redemption, then move on to The Night Stalker Rescue, a novella which lays the path for David Rivers’ next adventures.
I promise that you won’t regret it.
Six and a half times five stars! ✰✰✰✰✰