A Book Spy Review: ‘The Ruins’ by Brad Taylor


The Ruins_CoverTo hold readers over until his next full-length novel hits bookstores in January, New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor goes back in time to explain the origins of how Grolier Recovery Services got their start in his all-new short story, The Ruins

Set between his first (One Rough Man) and second novel (All Necessary Force), The Ruins answers questions that fans of Taylor’s series have long been asking. Back in early October, the author explained via his newsletter that “When my first novel, One Rough Man, was released, I caught a lot of flack over the ending because Pike asks Jennifer to help him find the temple her uncle had given his life trying to locate.”

“In truth,” explained Taylor, who noted that reviewers had basically written that he set up his second book with that plot thread, “by the time One Rough Man was published, I was halfway through All Necessary Force, and the search for the temple was nowhere to be found.  I had no intention of writing about the temple in my second novel and just liked ending One Rough Man with the temple quip.  Since then, I’ve been asked on multiple occasions what Pike and Jennifer had done to find the temple.”

Now, nearly eight years after One Rough Man (2011), was first published, those questions are finally being answered. 

Here, Pike Logan is newly reinstated and officially back with the Taskforce. He’s also in possession of the grid location of the mythical Temple of Priests, originally located by Jennifer Cahill’s uncle, who was killed before he could relay the coordinates. Newly graduated, Pike wants Cahill to put her freshly-printed anthropology degree to good use and help him navigate through the northern Guatemala rainforest to find the ruins. Eventually, she agrees, and the two set off to the Maya Biosphere Reserve, only to discover that they aren’t the only ones following her uncle’s footsteps . . . 

Taylor seamlessly transitions back in time, which is no easy feat, considering just how much Pike Logan has changed over the years and how far he’s come since One Rough Man.

Longtime fans of the series may recall a more violent, darker, and broken Pike in the earlier books, back when the elite operator was still reeling from the loss of his wife and daughter. Now, of course, in the present day (and current books), Pike is with Jennifer, romantically speaking, and Koko has played a large role in him once again finding peace and happiness. Not only is it fun to go back and see them before they were a couple and re-explore them as characters early on, but Taylor focuses heavily on Jennifer in The Ruins, offering more backstory and insight into how she was able to transition from a normal college grad to the G.I. Jennifer we see in later books. 

All in all, the expert character development, along with finally seeing the formation of Grolier Recovery Services, which plays a major role in more recent books, is worth the price of admission all by itself . . . and that’s before even touching on the action, which Taylor’s fans know is his calling card. That’s no exception here, as Pike and Jennifer mix it up with a dangerous group of men working for a Canadian mining company, who will stop at nothing to locate the temple–and what’s rumored to be hidden inside it–first. 

Coming in right around a quarter of the length of one of his novels, Brad Taylor treats readers to one hell of a fun, action-packed short story that’s rich in character development and full of suspense. At $1.99, The Ruins is a no-brainer and the perfect way for Taskforce fans to keep themselves busy until Daughter of War (read my spoiler-free review here) comes out on January 8th.

Book Details

Author: Brad Taylor
Series: A Pike Logan Short Story
Format: E-book
ISBN: 1101984848
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: November 20, 2018




Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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