THE KNIFE by Ross Ritchell – BOOK REVIEW

By: Ross Ritchell

Genre: Fiction, Military Fiction, Action Thriller

Length: 272 pages

Published by: Blue Rider Press, a division of Penguin Group USA

Publication Date: February 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free paperback ARC of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

Dutch Shaw had been raised by his grandparents since toddlerhood. Shaw’s grandfather has been gone for eight years but he still had his grandmother. Unfortunately his last living relative, his beloved grandmother has recently died. She was his sole link to the civilian world; a world not defined by war.

Shaw is the leader of a team of U.S. Special Ops forces. They are deployed to what they refer to as “Afghanipakiraqistan.” A U.S. squadron has just lost two helicopters full of soldiers so Shaw’s team has been sent to replace them.

A new terror threat has emerged. A group calling themselves al-Ayeelaa have been attacking U.S. forces with alarming regularity and with devastating consequences. It is up to Shaw’s team to hunt them down and eliminate this very deadly group of insurgents.

The author of this book, “Ross Ritchell, is a former soldier in a United States Special Operations Command direct action team conducting classified operations in the Middle East.” Because of his unique and very real war experience his writing comes across as terrifyingly realistic and incredibly vivid. This former soldier may have had a gift for war, but as readers will inevitably discover, he also has a gift for storytelling.

In typical modern day war thrillers authors tend to focus on one man who single-handedly is able to save the world. In ‘The Knife’ the author instead focuses on the team. This is much more realistic. Modern day military operations are complex and involve many different people all working together towards a single objective.

This book clearly illustrates how it is that men who have little or nothing in common and who come from different cities and states can become closer than brothers. The bonds these men form are unique and are forged from shared experiences, patriotism and shared objectives that the men would be unable and unwilling to share with their civilian counterparts.

This book brings to life the reality that Special Ops forces have faced in their war on terror. These Special Operations soldiers are considered THE KNIFE of the U.S. Military.

THE KNIFE is a MUST READ for everyone. Not only is it an interesting and thrilling military tale, it is an intriguing look into human nature, both the dark side and the lighter side.

There are incidents that occur in the book that have the distinct ring of authenticity. Incidents that may be portrayed in the media one way are described from the soldier’s viewpoint. This may very well change the perspective of how the reader views and reacts to future media reports.

The glossary included at the back of the book will prove interesting and informative for readers who may not necessarily speak “military”.

The fact that this is Ross Ritchell’s debut novel is surprising due to the novel’s depth and it’s vivid and realistic characters. Readers will find themselves both riveted and invested in Shaw and his team. Readers will root for them even though they are flawed and all too human. The ability to portray characters as flawed yet still have them come across as unique and compelling takes a talented author. Ross Ritchell has done just that.

Readers may find that some of the scenes in this book disturb them. If this were a television show or a movie it would come with the label “Viewer Discretion Advised.” But these scenes are important and will force the reader to question what they thought they knew about the war on terror. They may even change the reader’s perspective. THE KNIFE allows the reader to see military operations from the point of view of the soldiers with their boots on the ground.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars and I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future.

To learn more about this author visit: or


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