Thursday, June 2, 2011

Demo Dick

In Thriller Guy's last post, the joke was how much better, at least as far as getting the story out to the public, the raid on Osama's compound would have been if they had invited along Dick Marcinko and co-author Jim DeFelice to write down the main plot points and add the humorous details. For those of you who don't know Marcinko, (shame! shame!) he's the Navy man who many years ago designed and developed Red Team Six, the SEAL unit that killed Osama. Dick – aka The Rogue Warrior, Demo Dick, Shark Man of the Delta, The Geek -- led Red Team Six for three years, after which he was tasked with coming up with a unit that would test the vulnerability of US military forces around the world. This unit, known as Red Cell, succeeded in infiltrating naval bases, nuclear submarines, ships, airports, embassies, Air Force One and God knows what else. Marcinko claims that he and the boys stole nuclear devices complete with launch codes. And Thriller Guy believes him.

Marcinko was such a pain in the ass to his superiors they contrived to get him arrested and imprisoned for supposedly defrauding the government over contractor acquisition contracts for hand grenades. He did his time, and TG bets that no one ever attempted to make a little girl out of Dick Marcinko.

Dick published the autobiographical account of his career in 1992. Rogue Warrior became a big bestseller, and it deserved to be. Thriller Guy, under the name of his alter ego, Allen Appel, began publishing novels in 1985 with the first of the Alex Balfour time travel books, Time After Time. TG was several books into the series and thinking of branching out into military-type thrillers, which he did so in 1994 with Hellhound, written with Craig Roberts and TG's own son, Thriller Guy Jr. As research for this sort of writing, TG bought Marcinko's book and read it with pleasure. Marcinko's schtick, carried on through the thirteen or so of the following novels, is to tell the story of Dick Marcinko in his various adventures as a SEAL and later as the leader of his own military contractor agency, Red Cell, as the story of Dick Marcinko and his band of merry, deadly, warriors. In other words, Marcinko the author refers to himself as Marcinko the fictional warrior. It's a bit too tricky and self indulgent at times, but really, would a guy like TG who refers to himself in the third person have a leg to stand on if he decided to chastise Marcinko for this Point Of View? Of course not. Actually, TG thinks that Marcinko's authorial voice is spot on: funny, self-deprecating and perfect for telling his tales.

So way back in the day, when TG was just starting to write action thrillers, when it came time to write a big battle scene he would head for the bookshelf, let his copy of Rogue Warrior open to virtually any page, read along in one of Dick's action scenes for awhile then head to the computer and dive into his own battle scene. This is a method that TG still recommends to those who write him asking for tips and tricks in the thriller writing trade. TG is not telling you to steal from another writer, simply to use that writer to fire up your own physical and intellectual heat while writing your own scenes. TG doesn't really need this kind of kick-start these days, but he looks back with some nostalgia on those times when he was just entering the thriller field.

So imagine TG's surprise last week when he was assigned the latest Dick Marcinko/Jim DeFelice thriller, Domino Theory, for review. TG has reviewed many Marcinko thrillers over the years, and he feels that they just keep getting better and better. The early ones were co-authored with John Weisman, and they were fine, but TG feels that DeFelice “gets” Marcinko's voice better. TG has no way of knowing how much input Dick has in the books, but one would like to think that he at least comes up with the idea, gets together with Jim and the two of them slam down enough Bombay Gin (Dick's favorite) until they have the major plot points worked out so Jim can head off to his personal writing lair and put the book together.

And if not, if Marcinko doesn't do anything to write the book other than be the headliner and split the profits with DeFelice, if the drinking is all by himself in Rogue Manor where he strides the hallways in his smoking jacket, puffing on a Cuban cigar, where he laughs a little too loudly and flatters the fabulous babes who gather round, and where he dives into his money vault like Scrooge McDuck and gambols – paying little attention to his battle-scarred, aging body -- in his many millions earned from his storied military and writing career, well, fine, good for him. The guy has earned it.

The hard way.


  1. Congratulations on a fine blog entry but, most importantly, one of the longest sentences I've read in a long time.

  2. Whoa, it's the elusive Bo, who we haven't seen on the comment page in some time. The sentence Bo is referring to is the third from the end and TG agrees that it's a humdinger. He knew that the words were piling up and that he was approaching the legal and humanly physical limits of a written sentence when he decided, risk taker that he is, to toss in an independent clause surrounded by em dashes. Yes, there was some fear that a few readers' heads might explode upon reading the completed sentence, but TG felt the result was worth the danger.