cover image Red Cell

Red Cell

Richard Marcinko. Pocket Books, $22 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-671-79956-4

According to Marcinko, following the publication of his bestselling autobiography Rogue Warrior , he was forbidden to reveal any more secrets about SEAL or other defense activities; so he has taken to fiction to continue his story. The novel's cynical, coarse, egotistical, irreverent and bloody hero (also named Dick Marcinko) is involuntarily recalled to his old rank as Navy Captain and ordered to assemble a team of Red Cell SEALs--mavericks in a service known for irregular practices--to stop the sale of American nuclear devices to North Korea and to test the defenses of various military installations. The resulting action boasts high-tech equipment, gory hand-to-hand combat and various forms of mayhem, climaxing in Red Cell's attack on a contraband-filled tanker in the Pacific Ocean. The atmosphere is electric with real weapons and locations, and Marcinko provides copious details of training and planning and accounts of previous missions. The guilty parties here include not only mercenaries of various countries but also high ranking corrupt American politicians; paranoid military conspiracy buffs will find plenty to worry about here. A surefire bet for wannabe soldiers of fortune, this is also a frighteningly plausible scenario of political and military power gone astray. (Mar.)