Ranger Games (audiobook)

A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime

16.1 hrs • 13 CDs • Unabridged
Nonfiction/True Crime
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 09/12/17
Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 09/12/17 9780804166058
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Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

An Amazon Best Book of the Month

Intricate, heartrending, and morally urgent, Ranger Games is a crime story like no other.

Alex Blum was a good kid, a popular high school hockey star from a tight-knit Colorado family. He had one goal in life: endure a brutally difficult selection program, become a US Army Ranger, and fight terrorists for his country. He poured everything into achieving his dream. In the first hours of his final leave before deployment to Iraq, Alex was supposed to fly home to see his family and beloved girlfriend. Instead, he got into his car with two fellow soldiers and two strangers, drove to a local bank in Tacoma, and committed armed robbery.

The question that haunted the entire Blum family was: Why? Why would he ruin his life in such a spectacularly foolish way?

At first, Alex insisted he thought the robbery was just another exercise in the famously daunting Ranger program. His attorney presented a case based on the theory that the Ranger indoctrination mirrored that of a cult.

In the midst of his own personal crisis, and in the hopes of helping both Alex and his splintering family cope, Ben Blum, Alex’s first cousin, delved into these mysteries, growing closer to Alex in the process. As he probed further, Ben began to question not only Alex but also the influence of his superior, Luke Elliot Sommer, the man who planned the robbery. A charismatic combat veteran, Sommer’s manipulative tendencies combined with a magnetic personality pulled Ben into a relationship that put his loyalties to the test.

Review Quotes

“[In this] outstanding piece of personal journalism…narrator Johnathan McClain’s pacing is ideal. He carries the narrative briskly along, using more intensity when needed but without slipping into melodrama. He provides subtle vocal shifts for the various characters…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


“A riveting exploration of the codes of conduct by which men are meant to comport themselves, the lengths to which we go to forge identity, and how far the stories we tell can be stretched before they become prisons of our own making…[A] precise, exhaustive and sympathetic work.”

Wall Street Journal

“A thrilling, bumpy journey into the complexities of the mind, with its capacity to protect and betray.”

Washington Post

“A memorable, novelistic account.”

New York Times

Ranger Games is a rare and totally original work of nonfiction. The odd characters and dangerous situations live vibrantly in these pages and the stakes are always high. Ben Blum's search for truth leads him down many paths into an inner turmoil and boil about family, fidelity, identity, good and evil, and military service. Once you start reading you won't put it down. Anthony Swofford, New York Times bestselling author A sprawling American saga, Ranger Games will captivate, transport and madden readers all at once. Ben Blum uses the war on terror and clandestine Army Rangers as backdrop to explore something even more immense and arcane: a human heart in conflict with itself. This is a special story and a superb work of narrative nonfiction.
Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood