Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Brad Taylor: One Rough Man

In his debut novel and first in a series, Brad Taylor shows what a man is capable of when he has nothing left to live for:

Pike Logan was one of the most successful leaders of specialized off the books black ops task force but he is about to embark on his last mission, as his instincts seemed to never be wrong and he was okay with asking forgiveness later in order to get the job done. Serving his country has always been important to Pike, often putting it before his family. He has promised his wife that this will be his last mission, but when unforeseen events up the timeline of when Pike needs to leave there are disastrous consequences. Pike is now a man with nothing to live for except for the first 30 seconds when he first wakes up in the day and the drinks he has at night. He doesn't care about himself or country, he just wants to be left alone. Although Pike to suffer just wants to waste away suffering in his own demons, there is a new terror that has been discovered that was centuries in the making. Pike is going to have save his country, world and maybe even himself one more time.

I have seen the name Brad Taylor many times at the book store, but this is my first read by him and I am extremely happy that I picked this book up. This is a great action adventure/thriller book that plays on the the fears of the USA and the war on terror. I also appreciated that while the main terrorists plot that they are aware of stems from the Middle East (very current events, even though the book is a few years old now) they were not the only bad guys that Pike and Jennifer had to deal with. There were some homegrown terrorists as well that would stop at nothing to have them both dead. I will say that the homegrown terrorists were far more scary that the Middle East ones, and what they were trying to accomplish. I think you can tell that Taylor may not have been impressed with the politics involved in the war on terror and military in general. And speaking of Taylor and the military, you can also tell the Taylor knows what he talking about when he has Pike planning and executing missions (though I'm sure it is stretched a bit at times) as he served for 21 years in the army and served in many places around the world. Always nice to read an author that has some sort of expertise in the field that they are writing about as it makes the story that much more real.

I really liked the desperation that Taylor forces on his characters; they are given a no win or only one option in order to survive many times in the book especially as they could only rely on each other and at times they question that partnership as well. This added to the overall suspense and there were times when you as a reader question who of the two main characters will survive as well as the secondary characters as well. There are 2-3 torture scenes that occur within the book, and while they are not described in great detail, they are pretty descriptive in the aftermath.

I questioned Pike's thought process to begin with in Part 2, it seemed to go against everything that he knows is smart. But the more I think about it the more I realize that this was just part of his downward spiral of not caring about his life or whether he died or not. Pike will not always be a character that you like, he's not really the anti-hero but there are times when he questions whether he should help Jennifer out or just leave her to her fate which would leave her dead. Pike has an amazing skill set that I think those who enjoy the action adventure genre will appreciate. I enjoyed that Taylor had Pike participate in mainly hand to hand combat in this book and had him rely less on guns, added to the danger and the suspense of the situations that he finds himself in. Plus Pike did not have any resources on this mission, did not always have access to guns and those that he does get his hands on he had to take someone out first.

Jennifer was an interesting character, that was fairly well developed (I was surprised that Taylor gave her as much book time as Pike) but there were times when I thought that Taylor just pulled an ability that she had out of no where when it was convenient for him. I liked that Jennifer was able to contribute something to the mission so she was not just the damsel in distress all the time but I though that Taylor could have introduced her "abilities" in a different way. I really liked that Jennifer was able to learn new skills as the book went on and Pike did not have to carry her throughout the plot.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and I loved Pike as a main character. I'm glad that this is the first book in what seems to be a fairly established series and I look forward to picking up the next book as this book satisfied all my needs in an action adventure novel.

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