By DAVID BECKWITH Citizen Contributor
I recently received an advance copy of the seventh and latest book in the Pike Logan thriller series titled "No Fortunate Son." I was pleased to be on the distribution list since I had thoroughly enjoyed and had reviewed "Enemy Of Mine," a prior book in this series.
Brad Taylor, a University of Texas graduate, served more than 21 years in the Army, retiring as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He spent eight of those years commanding troops in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, commonly called Delta Force, during which time he conducted operations to support U.S. national interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and other classified locations. His final assignment was teaching ROTC at the Citadel. He now works as a security consultant to multiple agencies. In short, he knows first-hand the subject matter he has chosen to write about.
This book addresses a philosophical but still very personal question -- in the big global picture just how much is one life worth? In "No Fortunate Son," protagonists Pike Logan and his partner Jennifer Cahill are presented with this dilemma by deciphering a web of lies devised by U.S. enemies so our country and the families involved will not find out.
The book begins when Pike and Jennifer receive an infuriating and insulting letter from Blaisdell Consulting, the umbrella cover company for their true employer, a top-secret extralegal counterterrorist unit called the Taskforce.
They have been summarily fired because certain Washington bureaucrats consider Ryan to be a loose cannon after he disobeyed orders in "Days Of Rage." His actions had saved the lives of thousands of innocent people, but his insubordination had angered some of his Washington superiors and triggered revenge.
Then unexpectedly Col. Kurt Hale, their former commander, asks for the ultimate personal favor. He wants Pike to unofficially find his beloved niece, Kylie, who has not been seen or heard from for several days. Kylie is a University of Virginia student on exchange to Cambridge University. Pike and Jennifer agree to help despite being given no government resources to work with.
The stakes rise when the Taskforce learns that unknown to all involved; an unrecognized terrorist group has kidnapped Kylie, and she is being held with another group of hostages which includes the Vice President's son, a NATO intelligence officer in England. The U.S. is facing a terrible choice - cease counter-terrorist operations or watch these hostages die one by one.
The Taskforce is now unexpectedly facing a huge, complicated mission and must track down the terrorists who coordinated this monumental feat. But who has taken the hostages and how can you negotiate when official U.S. policy is that "we don't negotiate with terrorists"?
Unlike many books of this genre this is not a constant run-and-shoot plot. It will take both skill and brains to unravel the terrorists' plot which involves the "new" IRA, a group of ruthless Bosnian jewels thieves, and Somali terrorists, each with different agendas, who are trying to outwit a government secretly hyperventilating over high value hostages, red herrings, and both on and off-the-books government assets who are each pulling in different directions. The false paths, the clues leading in multiple directions and the overall complexity of the terrorists' plans leave Pike and Jennifer with little more than luck and instinct to guide them through this mission near impossible, knowing that one wrong guess could cause the hostages to be executed.
This book is a page-turner ,which is both timely and frighteningly plausible. For you movie buffs, it will somewhat remind you of the Liam Neeson movie Taken. The pacing is good. While the action is top-drawer, the storyline will also intrigue those who like intricate plotting. I highly recommend the book, and I am looking forward to The Insider Threat, the next novel in this series, which will involve the Islamic State.
Reviewed by David Beckwith, author of The Hurricane Conspiracy.