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Publisher's Summary

With the immediacy and force of a sniper's strike, Cold Zero is a blistering first-person account of life inside the FBI and its elite Hostage Rescue Team.

Of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. law enforcement officers, only 200 have ever been in Christopher Whitcomb's highly trained and specialized branch of the FBI. Equivalent to the Navy's SEALs and Army's Delta Force, the Hostage Rescue Team is charged with terrorist capture, hostage release, and other large-scale emergencies in the United States and around the world. Whitcomb is the first HRT member ever to write about his extraordinary experience.

With breathtaking clarity, Whitcomb describes his journey from civilian to FBI agent and from field agent into the highly competitive HRT - the brutal training, the weapons and tactics, and the unbreakable camaraderie of the HRT. In short order, after joining the HRT in 1991, Whitcomb was sent on missions to Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Kosovo.

Cold Zero is not just a story of missions, weapons, and tactics, though. It is the story of the human being behind the sniper's scope, the people who put on badges and strap on guns to represent the law of the United States. It is a book of rare action and emotion, and one that introduces a remarkable new writer to the world.

©2001 by Christopher Whitcomb; (P)2001 by Time Warner AudioBooks

Critic Reviews

"Whitcomb is that rare treasure, a man who has led a life of incredible adventure and danger and who can deliver every mesmerizing detail with the skill and wit of a seasoned novelist." (David Baldacci, author of Wish You Well)

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  • Rob
  • Hagerstown, MD, USA
  • 12-18-06

Fact check

I was a little confused by how the author's math was off when he talked about his age.

The bigger things are things like his mention of Edwards Air Force base in Ontario California. Edwards is in Palmdale/Lancaster. This is difference of 80 miles and a different interstate than mentioned (I-10 vs. I-15). This may seem minor but it makes me question what else the editor missed as far as what I'm sure were unintentional inaccuracies. All this said I thought this was a great listen / read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • 02-16-03

Viewpoint from the Small End of the Sniper Scope

The author tells his history in the HRT well. Clearly he has his own spin on things as you would expect. A couple of things don't make sense such as why a team with so much practice has so many missions that go awry. Also when he speaks of Waco he says no charges were filed against the FBI - but he also says one FBI official served 'Jail Time', I don't understand that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jessica
  • Levittown, PA, United States
  • 09-01-15

Just ok

I had a hard time staying interested in this book. While I know this is not the case, this gave me the impression that the HRT is just a bunch of macho, brainless gun-slingers whose entire existence bases around busting down doors or waiting indefinitely on a hillside looking through a scope. This is my exact opposite impression of the FBI. It made me feel like they only worked once every few months and were a waste of resources because I don't even remember hearing a real heroic story or even one whose outcome had anything to do with the HRT. If there was one I may have slept through it. The reader also has a way of pronouncing his L's from the back of his throat that went right through me and I would end up listening for it instead of hearing the story.
I guess I was looking for something that gave me more of a feel for the FBI. It made the "normal" special agent work seem boring but I don't think it did the HRT unit any justice either.

  • Overall
  • Bryan
  • Visalia, CA, USA
  • 01-13-05

Cop or not, get this book!

I liked the fact that the author of the book did the actual reading for the audio book. To me that was the first indication of his dedication and commitment to whatever task is at hand. He sounds alot like Denis Waitley (The Psycology of Winning) and has a similar sense of humor.
I bought the hardcover book cheap on Ebay but knew I wouldn't take the time to read it so I got the audio book here. The back cover of the hardcopy has his picture on it. He looks nothing like he sounds.
I recommend this not only to other law enforcement personnel, but to their spouses as well. It gives good insight to the world specialized cops live and work in and the things they endure chasing the "love of the job".
I would also recommend it to Joe Citizen. This is not Andy and Barney locking up the town drunk. This is about men and women with college degrees that instead of having a 30th floor window office on Wall St., they are kissing their families goodbye to kick doors, crawl through mud, get shot at, and when necessary take a human life to protect all of the Joe Citizens in this country.
Christopher Whitcomb is "just a guy". Yeah, just a guy who has done it all.

  • Overall
  • William
  • Windham, NH, USA
  • 11-24-03

Would like to hear it unabridged

Overall a great book. Interesting to hear some of the high profile FBI cases (Waco, Ruby Ridge) from the point of view of an FBI specialist in the trenches. Problem was that many of those things seemed cut short. I am assuming it is because it was abridged. Overall though..still a great listen. The author is a little dry on the reading side and the inserted "mood" music can be a little silly...but still 4 stars.

  • Overall
  • John
  • Rocky River, OH, USA
  • 02-28-03

Good book, very interesting.

This book is a really good look at the FBI life and being a sniper/tactical response agent. The Ruby Ridge and Waco parts are very interesting. It gives you a great look at the politics behind a tough job.

  • Overall
  • LM
  • 02-25-03

Inspiring book

If you ever thought you couldn't do something cause it's too difficult than you need to read this book. The author's relay of his experiences in boot camp and as a Sniper will sure to make YOU feel 'dead' in comparison. For all those times when you couldn't make yourself go to the gym, push that extra 5lbs off your chest, or go an extra minute on the treadmill - this book will make you think twice about your capabilities. It is an inspiring book that will urge you to remember to push for that extra mile when you mind says you can't. It reminds you that whatever task you're struggling with, there are other tasks that are more difficult yet are being conquered by someone else more determined than you. Great book.

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 02-15-03

larger than life

In these times of terrorism and war, Whitcomb gives the listener an insiders view of what it is like to be a sniper with the FBI. From sniper school to Ruby Ridge, it's like you are there.

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  • Mr. A. P. T. Day
  • 01-29-14

HRT : A Whole lot of Guns

Would you listen to Cold Zero again? Why?

Having read the book and now listened to the audio I liked the fact the author read it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Obviously the main character is the author and you feel for his struggle. This is the whole of his FBI career he is retelling and he has lived through some amazing missions.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The Waco siege was outstanding, enjoyed the view from someone who was the end of a sniper scope.