“A former Marine himself, Betley proves himself an able heir to the throne currently held by the likes of Brad Thor and the late, great Vince Flynn. But Betley also incorporates a quest for a historical artifact reminiscent of James Rollins and Steve Berry, resulting in a structurally flawless read, unafraid to tackle difficult issues like PTSD as well. Not to be missed.” —The Providence Journal
“Matthew Betley has proven he’s an accomplished writer. Overwatch is a brilliantly conceived thriller that surges from the first chapter through mounting deception to a powerful conclusion.” —Clive Cussler, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Overwatch is an exceptional read—a thoroughly engrossing thriller that reminds us of battles fought and threats we still face. We might have expected from Matthew Betley the gripping battlefield accounts that could only come from a seasoned warrior. But the humanity of its characters and the relentless drive of its narrative will make readers impatient for Betley’s next book.” —Stephen Hayes, The Weekly Standard
“As a former Marine, Betley really knows his stuff. Fans of nonstop, nail-biting action will love this one!” —Kyle Mills, #1 New York Times bestselling author
When Logan West impulsively answers a dead man’s ringing phone, he triggers a global race against the clock to track down an unknown organization searching for an Iraqi artifact that is central to a planned attack in the Middle East—one that will draw the United States into a major conflict with Iran.
Logan, a former Marine officer, is quickly contracted as a “consultant” to assist the FBI as part of a special task force bent on stopping the shadowy operatives, whatever the cost. The battles are nonstop, from the plains of the Midwest, to mansions in northern Mexico, to the war-torn Al-Anbar province, pitting an international team against trained mercenaries employed by the world’s largest private security contractor…whose owner has a personal vendetta against the US government. Meanwhile, Logan is battling his own demons, especially the trauma of the ambush that his Force Recon unit suffered at an insurgent torture compound in Fallujah in 2004, which threatens to destroy everything he holds dear.
With high-stakes and fully-realized characters, Overwatch is a thriller unlike any you’ve read before: deftly plotted, up-to-the-minute, and impossible to put down.
A Conversation between Christopher Reich and Matthew Betley
Photo Credit: Brian Schurman Photo Credit: Kahn Photography
Christopher Reich: What inspired you to become a writer, specifically, in the thriller genre?
Matthew Betley: I have zero formal training as a writer, no English literature background, and never once considered being an author while I was growing up. But one year, while my wife and I were on vacation, I was reading an international best seller in the thriller genre that had been recommended in a magazine by another world famous author. The problem – I kept thinking to myself, I can write a better novel than this. It was approximately a year later, now out of the Marine Corps, that I finally put digital ink to virtual paper, putting my money where my mind was after a year of talking and obsessing about it. It was really that simple – I had a vision, made a decision, and put it into action. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Considering how fortunate I am to be in this position today, it was definitely the right choice.
Christopher Reich: What was it like writing your first novel?
Matthew Betley: An emotionally brutal roller coaster. From the very first rough draft – which you saw and gave me great and harsh feedback on – to getting an agent, to receiving a book deal with Emily Bestler Books at Atria, it was nothing short of a series of highs and lows, with near deals, constant rejections, and a nomad-like journey wandering in the publishing wilderness, wondering if it would ever happen. I would tell anyone who wishes to become an author that no matter what, you have to have the thickest skin possible and get used to rejection. I remember reading that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a book published with a major publisher as an unknown author. But based on initial beta reader feedback, I persevered because I believed I had a product people would want to read.
Christopher Reich: What authors influenced you the most?
Matthew Betley: Easy – Matthew Reilly. I read Ice Station when I was a junior officer in the Marine Corps in 2000. His pacing, the intimacy of the action – especially in his first novel – and the scope of his settings were original, making it nearly impossible to put Ice Station down– or any of his books, for that matter. For me, it’s what the genre should be.
Christopher Reich: How much of Overwatch stems from your own personal experiences in the Marine Corps?
Matthew Betley: We have a saying – “You can take the man out of the Marine Corps, but you can never take the Marine Corps out of the man.” Like my main character, Logan West, I am a former Marine officer, and all-too-briefly commanded a scout sniper platoon as a young and inexperienced lieutenant. I’m also a recovering alcoholic, as well as extremely sarcastic. (You have to have a sense of humor in today’s age.) However, while I had a significant amount of tactical training as a junior officer, my deployments were in a staff support function. (Unfortunately, incoming rockets and mortars don’t care about your exact function.) The locations, settings, military units, and certain narrative components are all very real, but the overall story is completely my own.
Christopher Reich: How likely is something like this to happen?
Matthew Betley: The world is a much darker and more dangerous place than it was when I was getting out of the Marine Corps in 2009. These are strange times. So to answer your question – anything is possible. Less global stability creates more opportunities for bad guys of all backgrounds to wreak havoc, both here and abroad. Still, while I wanted to create a realistic setting and origin story for Logan West and friends, my universe is definitely distinct from reality in that my version of our leaders will always make the hard, right decisions when needed.
Christopher Reich: What are your plans for the future of Logan West?
Matthew Betley: When I started writing Overwatch, I had plans for three Logan West Thrillers. My intent was for each novel to be a self-contained story inside a larger story arc. I’ve actually just finished First Shot – book two of the series out in 2017 – which takes the overarching plot much further down the proverbial tracks. I’m about to start writing book three, which is outlined in my head, and I know where book four – and possibly five – is going. Beyond that, if the readers will have me, I’ll continue to write. In the end, it’s all about them.
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