Brad Taylor’s latest Pike Logan thriller picks up just four months from where his last novel (The Forgotten Soldier) left off. Pike, Jennifer, and the rest of their team members are still in limbo as they await word about the Taskforce’s future.
Sanctioned by the president, the Taskforce, a group of highly trained super-soldiers, operates outside of the federal government’s authority. Technically speaking, their existence is illegal, and they answer only to the president and a small panel of individuals.
Colonel Kurt Hale’s official title is CEO of Blaisdell Consulting. Unofficially, he’s in charge of assigning the Taskforce operators their missions. It was one of his guys who went rogue just a few months prior, seeking revenge for the death of his brother by killing several members of the Qatar government.
That incident and all that followed put the president in a tough spot, which put the Taskforce in a tough spot. Until the smoke clears, they’re all laying low after a stand-down order from the commander-in-chief himself. They simply cannot risk being exposed, as that would lead to everyone, including the thirteen-person oversight committee, being prosecuted.
Without any Taskforce-assigned work, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill agree to a meeting with Israeli operatives–Aaron and Shoshana–who have a job proposal for them. The job in question would require the use of Pike and Jennifer’s company, Grolier Recovery Services.
Grolier Recovery Services was founded by Pike and Jennifer after Pike left active duty, and their funding comes primarily from the Taskforce. They use their business as a means for cover, allowing them to travel to and from various locations without raising suspicion while secretly running covert missions.
This time, though, it’s Aaron and Shoshana who want to use their business for cover. Rumor has it that a Torah, which may have belonged to David Ben-Gurion, was found in a fabled Nazi gold train in Poland. Obviously, Israel would love to confirm and then collect this priceless artifact, but the Polish government will not let them anywhere near it. Hence the need for Pike and Jennifer’s company, which has been linked to other archaeological discoveries in the past.
A deal is made, and Pike and Jennifer head to Poland with Aaron and Shoshana for what is supposed to be a simple, boring confirmation that the Torah is genuine. And that’s exactly what the trip is–boring, at least initially.
When the stakes are raised and the objective of the mission changes, Pike and Jennifer are suddenly needed in a big way. Soon the bullets are flyin’ in typical Brad Taylor fashion, as he continues to churn out some of the most realistic and adrenaline-pumping action sequences in print today.
Why I loved it
Several things jumped out at me while I read this book. For starters, Taylor has grown with each novel, but I knew going into this one that it would be hard for him to improve upon his last book. In fact, I didn’t think he could. I thought he had already peaked, and boy, was I wrong!
With Ghosts of War, Taylor really went for it–taking Pike and Jennifer away from their regular work in the Middle East and pitting them against a Russian antagonist. That was a brilliant move, and a refreshing change of pace for a series that has quickly grown to ten books in just five years.
The other thing I noticed is that Brad Taylor seems to be hitting his stride. That’s a scary thing for his competition, as all nine of his previous novels have been New York Times bestsellers. It seems silly to suggest that an author with nearly one million books in circulation could only now be showing his true potential, but I absolutely believe that to be true.
More than ever, I sense that Taylor’s finally, truly comfortable in his writing, as he mixes in humor and pop culture references with ease (I laughed when he mentioned a Russian billionaire who had everything but a midget giraffe, an obvious nod to the hilarious DirecTV commercial) while still delivering the nonstop action that he’s known for.
Remember, this is a guy who, just six years ago, was still a Special Forces Lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. After twenty-one years in the military, a career which included Taylor immediately slid into his next career and now stands King of the Hill on the military thriller genre.
The only remaining question is: Will Brad Taylor be able to top himself again next time?
I know I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m not betting against him.
Why you should read it
I don’t want to give anything else away, but the plotlines involving Russia are a real treat to read. Taylor obviously knows plenty about geopolitics, but now he’s mixing in historical fiction and flawlessly weaving past events into the fictional world the Taskforce operates in. The backstory about the Nazi gold trains was well-written and insightful, explaining how the Jewish people were stripped of everything valuable–gold, paintings, wedding rings, etc.–as they were loaded into cattle cars.
Additionally, Taylor provides insight into what’s currently happening in Russia, which is both frightening and compelling to read. And to top it all off, Pike Logan is still the brilliant technician of war that we’ve all come to know and love.
With no signs of slowing down, and every reason to believe his best is still yet to come, Brad Taylor remains one of today’s most exciting thriller authors. Ghosts of War isn’t just a home run–it’s a game-winning grand slam!
Author: Brad Taylor
Pages: 447 (Hardcover)
Release Date: June 28, 2016 (Order now!)