Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad
Author: Stephen Phillips
Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (2007)
Binding: Paperback, 272 pages
EOD-"It's a lot like brain surgery, except if we screw up the patient detonates....Oh yeah, and we do it underwater."
- A Navy EOD Technician
The Sailors of the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community "perform under pressure" in the hazardous job of bomb disposal, often deep beneath the sea...alone.
An EOD Technician must have the brains of an engineer, the hands of a surgeon, and the courage of a martyr. In the U.S. Navy, carrier flight operations only occur under the watchful eye of EOD Techs ready to respond to ordnance accidents. U.S. Marines assault enemy beachheads only after EOD Techs clear the littoral seas and landing zones of mines. The U.S. Secret Service even relies on military bomb squads to protect the President and visiting foreign dignitaries. Perhaps the best testimony of their value is that when the Navy needs to place a limpet mine under an enemy ship it tasks the Navy SEALs, but to respond to such an attack - the Navy summons EOD.
Proximity highlights the exciting work of one EOD detachment as they become enmeshed in the efforts of a terrorist coalition operating both in Europe and the United States. Lieutenant "Jazz" Jascinski and the men of Detachment Four become the key to helping the FBI apprehend these terrorists - until their unique skills place them under suspicion. To protect themselves, the Techs must race to find the culprits before they become the next victims...
MWSA 2008 Gold Medal for Fiction, Military, Navy
If you see these guys running, try to keep up! Author Stephen Phillips takes you on a wild ride with one of the Navy's elite Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams as they do their part in the Global War on Terror. The main character, LT Jascinski, gave up a promising career as a surface warrior because he wanted to pursue the high-speed low drag world of Navy EOD. In his first billet out of EOD school, he gets all he can handle as he and his team end up in the middle of a world-wide terrorist ring that may just have someone on the inside. Who will have the steady hand, and who will end up as a "big pink mist?"
Phillips writes from experience, and obviously knows what he's talking about. While the story is fiction, the author draws from his years as a Navy EOD Officer-in-Charge to develop the story and provide the technological balance all good military stories need in order to be believable. He also does an excellent job of developing the personal relationships between the LT and his men, the LT and his Chief Petty Officers, and finally the LT and his wife. The result is a fast moving, completely believable action story that's a great read for those who enjoy military fiction, especially Special Operations.
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister (2008)