Welcome to today’s TeaserTuesday interview and review! Please give a warm welcome to author Don Bentley, former FBI Special Agent and Army Apache pilot.
The Outside Man by Don Bentley – Review
The Outside Man by Don Bentley is the second book of the Matt Drake series. As with Nelson DeMille’s books it has action, suspense, humor, and especially sarcasm. Fans who miss reading a DeMille book every year should try a Bentley novel.
The book opens with an intense action scene as a bunch of Jihadist terrorists attempt to assassinate Matt Drake, a former DIA operative in broad daylight on an Austin Texas street. With the help from his partner and best friend Frodo, Matt finds out who is behind the attempt. It seems that a powerful Washington swamp bureaucrat has teamed up with a ruthless terrorist known as “The Devil.” They deal in everything from drugs to sex trafficking. Both have crossed paths with Drake in the last book, Without Sanction. Drake fights for his and his family’s life, knowing that he must take them down now.
Bentley is a thriller author that can compared to the best, Mark Greaney and Nelson DeMille. This novel starts out literally with a bang and never lets up from there.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Don Bentley: I have a multi-layered background from being an Army Apache helicopter pilot, a troop commander in Afghanistan, to an FBI Special Agent, and a member of the Dallas Office Special Weapons (SWAT) team. I got to meet some very interesting people. Some of them have done jobs I had Matt Drake do. For instance, those that worked overseas did it under a false name. One of those folks I spoke with said after setting foot on US soil they felt safe. I thought about that and wondered what would be interesting if that did not happen. After returning to US soil the enemies found a way to follow them back home and threatened everything they held dear. This is where The Outside Man plot comes from.
EC: Did any of your work experiences influence the story?
DB: It was influenced when I left the army. I felt I was serving a noble and higher purpose. Then I went to “normal” jobs. I felt in the army what I did was special and mattered and now I was just a “normal Joe.” I was not happy and could not articulate why. I wanted Matt to be in that same position as he left DIA.
EC: Your first line in the book, “Austin in February is paradise.” Really?
DB: I have taken no small amount of pushback for that line. 99% of the time in February it is Paradise here, but not this year. I got that wrong this year; thank you very much. At a book signing I did take some pictures of my wife and myself in a convertible with the top down. I signed books outside to be given to those who signed up. It is back to being paradise here.
EC: There is a shout out to police in the book?
DB: You must be referring to this line, “Good cops are absolutely fearless… and run toward the sound of gunfire.” Being a police officer or someone in law enforcement always has to worry about something going wrong. It is a dangerous job. Police officers must react to the situation around them. Remember during the tragedy of 9/11 it was the police and firefighters that were running into the building while everyone else was running away. They are always expected to have their best day. I have incredible respect for the men and women who do that amazing job.
EC: Does Drake have PTSD?
DB: He has the shakes. I wanted something to define Drake’s life. His best friend, Frodo, has physical scars he carries with him. Matt carries mental drama that comes out in the shakes.
EC: The plot emphasizes it is not what you know, but who you know?
DB: Politics and senior service jobs give an importance on who you know, which becomes very valuable. Politicians enrich themselves because of the relationship they have. Sometimes people are corrupt even when working in places we should be able to trust them. Think about how people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are influenced by being given large suitcases of money. This is an opportunity for being corrupt. It isn’t hard for a novelist to imagine that people are surrounded by tons of money floating around.
EC: There is also scenes about who is an ally?
DB: At the end, countries will do what is in their own best interests. It is easy to forget from a nation level and a personal level there are not true allies, but just shared interests. The scenes in the book with the Mossad agent shows this. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. I think the US and Israel see things eye to eye on many things. But no one should forget we are two nations that might have divergent views.
EC: The way you write banter reminds me of Nelson DeMille?
DB: Nelson DeMille is a huge influence on me. I had written three novels that did not sell before the first book in this series. Mark Greaney writes incredible books, but I am not Mark Greaney, and will never write as good as he does. So, I thought about what voice could I give Matt. Then I thought how Nelson can write a scene with his main character John Corey going grocery shopping that is really funny. He has an engaging voice. After reading him, I decided to write in the first person with a witty self-depreciating protagonist. DeMille is a huge influence on me and my writing style. My goal is to have a main character that is a little quirky and maybe make the reader chuckle.
EC: Not everything turns out fine for Matt?
DB: I do not want to have the Superman Syndrome where nothing can hurt my character. For me, it means nobody close to Matt is safe. I want to have the reader think, ‘I know in my head Matt will live through this, but not in my heart.’ Nobody is safe.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book(s)?
DB: Out in June will be a Jack Ryan Jr. book titled Tom Clancy Target Acquired. I am currently working on the next Matt Drake book. It will come out next July after the Tom Clancy book.
If you liked this article
Hello book lovers, welcome back to our Tuesday blog hopping post. This includes #TeaserTuesday, #BookBeginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. Enjoy!
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Yvonne @ Socrates Book Reviews now hosts “First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros”, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
The Outside Man by Don Bentley (UK and US links)
Austin in February is paradise.The Outside Man by Don Bentley
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday, Book Beginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros are this week! Luv Sassy x