The setting: Puerto Rico, in the heart of hurricane season. Finn X (no last name), a traumatized Navy SEAL with memory issues, is hiding from the authorities and scouring the dark web, hunting for the rogue officer responsible for the war crimes he is accused of committing. But Finn’s world is about to be turned upside-down when his employer’s two grandchildren go missing. To find them, he’ll have to infiltrate the island’s dangerous criminal underbelly and expose a shadowy crime network known as La Empresa—even if it means risking everything in the process.
“Webb & Mann have done it again. Blind Fear has it all: great characters, an amazing plot, and an incredible setting. This novel moves like a hurricane!” — Connor Sullivan, acclaimed author of Wolf Trap
“Blind Fear takes off at a breakneck pace and never lets up—you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough!” —Lisa Black, New York Times bestselling author of That Darkness
“[Steel Fear, the first Finn book] is sensationally good—an instant classic, maybe an instant legend.” — Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“The enigmatic and mysterious Finn is the next big thriller superstar.” — Robert Crais, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Brandon Webb & John David Mann recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing their latest thriller, BLIND FEAR.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
The first two Finn books both took place in unusual environments (an aircraft carrier and Iceland). We thought setting the third in the midst of a tropical hurricane would be fascinating. One day on the phone Brandon said he had a thought, inspired by having gone scuba diving with his two kids: what if we opened with a young boy and girl swimming off the coast of Vieques? As I sat on the phone I looked up at my wall at a painting my wife and I had *just* bought: a young boy and young girl swimming in tropical waters. The hair went up on the back of my neck. We had our opening.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
Finn fascinates me. Everything about him. The fact that he is virtually the opposite of most people’s picture of a military hero — an anti-GI Joe. The fact that there is so much about himself he doesn’t know, remember, or understand — so that we get to understand him scrap b y scrap even as he is doing the same thing.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Three: Shakespear’s THE TEMPEST (I stole a handful of character names from the play), and ISAAC’S STORM, by Erik Larson, my favorite narrative nonfiction author. Finally, THE LORD OF THE FLIES — the 1963 film version was shot right on the Vieques beach where my two children characters open the story.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
Definitely — though their reputation has been tarnished in the past few years, SEALs are I the minds of most Americans (and in actual fact) the epitome of the military superhero. But the reality is that these guys are a fascinating, diverse, intellectually rich bunch of people, far from the muscle-bound mercenaries some imagine. I wanted to see a SEAL who wrestled with questions of his own role as killer/rescuer, who was socially dysfunctional and professionally adrift, whose astonishing skills were mirrored by great gaps in his memory and understanding of the facts of his own history. I wanted to see his sense of self and sense of moral code start assembling, very gradually, over a series of books, out of the mists of his own bewilderment.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
The first Finn book put readers in an aircraft carrier for 400 pages. The second steeped them in the history, sociology, geology and geography of Iceland. I love delving into a foreign environment and putting it on like a set of wellworn old clothes. This book, BLIND FEAR, will give readers a deep grasp of the history, beauty, and struggles of Puerto Rico. “Island of Enchantment,” as Finn muses at one point, “– Island of Abandonment.”
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
Of course there’s another Finn story in the works. All I can say about that is that Malta may be on Finn’s map, and a very deep dungeon is involved. For myself, I’ve also begun work on a new series, featuring a young FBI profiler who returns to her hometown in Western Massachusetts to investigate a series of murders old and new.
Brandon Webb is a combat-decorated Navy SEAL sniper turned entrepreneur who has built two brands into an eight-figure business. As a U.S. Navy chief he was head instructor at the Navy SEAL sniper school, which produced some of America’s most legendary snipers.
John David Mann is coauthor of more than thirty books, including four New York Times bestsellers and five national bestsellers. His writing has won multiple awards, including the Living Now Book Awards Evergreen Medal for its “contributions to positive global change.”
WEBB & MANN have been writing together for over a decade, starting with their New York Times bestselling memoir The Red Circle. Blind Fear is the third in their celebrated Chief Finn series.
To learn more about the author and their work, please visit their website.