Introducing Unit 416

Read an exclusive guest post from J. Leon Pridgen II, and make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win Unit 416!

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is J. Leon Pridgen II. I am the person who had the distinct privilege to pen the novel Unit 416; it is the brainchild of A. John Vinci. I am honored that he, the folks at Macmillian, and St. Martin’s Press found the words I put to paper worthy of this project.

Unit 416 is a work of fiction that, I must confess, has beaten me, challenged me, and given me moments of reflection and introspection. Above all else, this work has inspired me and rewarded me. I dare say that there are rewards that have not revealed themselves to me as yet. I say that because I know the men and women that you will find in the pages of Unit 416. They have spoken to me throughout this process. They dance in my head, eagerly anticipating their opportunity to speak to you again.

Speaking to you specifically about the men who make up the core of Unit 416, they are the unlikeliest of heroes. A group of men whom little was expected of by many around them, there were times when each of them expected very little of themselves. Their lives began in different places. Whether they were thrust onto the roughest streets of America, challenged with personal tragedies, or caught in a downward spiral of unfortunate circumstance, their trajectory in life was on a collision course with jails, institutions, or death. The military provided them a way of altering their course. Their past is the foundation they built on, and Unit 416 gave them the purpose and platform to discover the heroes they are destined to become.

By now, I trust you are curious about the men that make up this unit. They include:

  • Mike Winston: A man who has no respect or regard for authority but is a natural leader. 
  • Levern Smith “Big Lev”: A behemoth of a man who is capable of bringing death with his hands.
  • Darrell Jones: A crafty and quick-witted computer geek who has the ability to find trouble even quicker. 
  • Tyrin Turner: A man struggling with his allegiance to the gang that he bangs with and his faith that bangs with him. 
  • Jack Daisy: A withdrawn, stuttering individual with an uncanny ability and an affinity for firearms. 

We witness the evolution of these men from a rag-tag, eclectic group into a finely tuned, well-oiled, elite fighting unit. There is a man who leads this transformation named Miles Keeble—he is a decorated but damaged Army veteran fighting fiercely to hang onto the career that has given his life true purpose.

When they are assigned a mission infiltrating arms and drug cartels that carries them through Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, they quickly discover the only ones they can trust and rely on are themselves. I truly hope you enjoy the ride that these characters take with the Unit 416.

I believe that every one of us has a destiny to fulfill. It is one of greatness. The only thing that stops us from the pursuit of greatness that is our destiny is us.

If you will indulge me, I would like to share with you a little bit about myself. I was born into a military family in Aberdeen, Md. I served proudly in the military myself with the 82nd Airborne Division, where my older brother and I had the opportunity to make our father’s retirement jump with him. It still remains one of the highlights of my life.

I have been on a journey—a series of adventures that are still getting started. I have acted on stage, television, and film. I have penned two other novels, worked in different industries, and above all else, I have been blessed with a beautiful wife and two children that are amazing in their own right.

I am also a proud supporter and advocate for public education. It is the bedrock of our democracy! It is up to us to inspire and uplift.

I believe that every one of us has a destiny to fulfill. It is one of greatness. The only thing that stops us from the pursuit of greatness that is our destiny is us. Unit 416, for me, is an affirmation of that. It is a project that I did not intend to undertake, but we have found each other; it was our destiny. This work of fiction speaks to the hero that lays within us all, no matter how we start.

Every day, seek out that great person you are destined to be!

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Unit 416 by J. Leon Pridgen II!

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Unit 416 Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) June 16, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 12:59 p.m. ET June 27, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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J. Leon Pridgen II is originally from Aberdeen, Maryland, grew up at Ft. Bragg, NC, and resides in Mooresville, NC. Leon’s journey in life so far has taken him from the jungles of Panama with the 82nd Airborne Division to Hollywood film sets co-starring in movies like The Program and Careful What You Wish For. Along the way, he has authored the novels Color of Justice and Your Past Catches You.


  1. John Smith

    Published by St. Martins Griffin!

  2. lasvegasnv


  3. Kim Salmi

    this sounds like an intriguing read

  4. Kim Salmi

    this sounds like an intriguing read

  5. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read the book.

  6. samantha cox

    Sounds like my kind of book and am looking forward to reading it. Good luck everyone.

  7. Karen Mikusak

    Would love to win!

  8. pearl berger

    Captivating and memorable. Thanks.

  9. Pearl Berger

    Great post, brilliant man and novel.

  10. Jacquelyn Temple

    i cannot WAIT to read this book! It sounds like a very challenging, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, make-this-up-as-I-go-along story that will keep THIS reader engaged, from start to finish…and beyond!

  11. Esther Whatley

    Sounds like a great read. Would love to win.

  12. L

    I like hearing about an author who has come to know his characters intimitly, like they are old friends swapping stories. Such stories must be told.

  13. ellie lewis

    Great storyline and characters. Many thanks.

  14. Carl

    Another excellent looking thriller, thanks very much for the chance to win a copy.

  15. Beth Talmage

    This sounds like a book my brother would have loved. I’d like to read it.

  16. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a good one.

  17. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    A story by a military man! Yes!

  18. Janice Milliken

    I’d like to read how this group of misfits are unified.

  19. Janice Milliken

    I’d like to read how this group of misfits are unified.

  20. Polly Barlow

    I’m not sure that I want to read it but I know someone who really would like it. Thanks for your offering it to us.

  21. susan beamon

    This book needs to be in my library.

  22. Laurent Latulippe

    Reminds me of “the dirty dozen”, I want to check it out.

  23. Robin Weatherington

    [b]Looking forward to it![/b]

  24. Daniel Morrell

    looks like a fun one

  25. Susanne Troop

    Sounds interesting!

  26. Susanne Troop

    Sounds interesting!

  27. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like a good read.

  28. Barbara Lima

    Good to hear how they become a unit.

  29. Walt B

    Sounds like a book I definitley want to read!

  30. Walt Buchanan

    Sounds like a book I definitely want to read!

  31. Shaunterria Owens

    This sounds really good – I hope a copy makes it my way 🙂

  32. pat murphy

    Hope to win , sounds like a book I would like to read .

  33. Anastasia

    Sounds interesting 🙂

  34. vicki wurgler

    I would love to read this book thanks

  35. AmeK

    I don’t often read military books, but this sounds like a great read.

  36. AmeK

    I don’t often read military books, but this sounds like a great read.

  37. Marisa Young

    Both the book and the author sound interesting.

  38. April

    Very intrigued! I’m always looking for a good read.

  39. April

    Very intrigued! I’m always looking for a good read.

  40. Sally Schmidt

    Sounds like a great read, a current Dirty Dozen. Military family as well, would like to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.

  41. Theresa

    This sounds really good!! Adding it to my tbr list!
    thanks for this giveaway!

  42. Alyson Widen

    Thanks for giving a short description of the men in the unit as it will help keep the characters straight. I love when authors give a timeline, a map and a family or friend tree so I can go back and say, “Aha,” as the story blends and bends together. It looks like a tight unit with each man having the others back.

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