Navy SEALS reside on the highest rung of our military pantheon. They are mythic warriors, the best of the best, perfect in body, mind, and morals. Or so they are perceived.
David Reid’s novel provides ordinary mortals with a no-holds-barred look inside the reality of SEAL training and the men who survive it. Suffer in Silence, though novelized, is really a nonfiction presentation of Hell Week—the culmination of the first phase of SEAL training, in which candidates are subjected to relentless physical and mental challenges to determine whether they have what it takes to pursue the dream of joining the elite team. The vulnerable, idealistic trainees are beaten into numbness by brutal conditioning and inhuman indoctrination. They are preparing for a job that allows no margin for error, where the slightest mistake could mean death for an entire team.
“SEALS are trained to take lives,” they are told. Marc Grey is among those determined to succeed, despite the multiple and creative torture methods doled out. A Stanford grad and athletically inclined, tall and tough, Grey represents the ideal. He is true to his girlfriend, respectful of his instructors, and a true believer in the program. But when one of his friends is murdered during the course of Hell Week, Grey is determined to bring the killer to justice—even though he knows that means bringing down one of the very instructors who is training him and others to become professional killers.
Reminiscent of the David Hunter novels in which reality wears a thin veneer of fiction in order to make it more believable, Suffer in Silence pulls no punches. This is not an idealized depiction of American hero-warriors. All the ugly truth is exposed: sadistic instructors who let personal opinions color their actions; the use of porn as bribery; and the rampant homophobia that is practically an obsession.
Author Reid is a graduate of Hell Week, so readers can assume that what he has written in this disturbing novel is accurate. While the mystery plot is thin and doesn’t provide a satisfying resolution, the details of training and the characterization of trainees are thorough, shocking, and a must-read for anyone with thoughts of one day becoming a SEAL.