Overall, One Rough Man is one terrific book. While there’s very little situationally new leading up to our protagonist’s epiphanous moment, that’s where the entire book changes. So a word of warning; Once you’ve reached page 175 or so, take a break. Eat a good meal, use the bathroom, do any chores you’ve put off, because once you resume reading, you won’t get any of these things done before you turn the final page! From around page 175 you need to fasten your seat belts 'cuz you’re in for one helluva ride!
Pike, the protagonist in this first book by Brad Taylor, is a member of a little-known military unit called The Taskforce. Their specialty? Impossible, high-risk situations. As the saying goes, “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while.” It’s a familiar scene with most GIs: the long hours, the days or weeks at a time away from the family; the discord, the difficult conversations; the broken promises — not for one’s own benefit, but ‘for the greater good.’
It’s a familiar mantra with any GI who’s tried to balance family and the job. It’s especially difficult for anybody in a job in which you’re not permitted to tell the family where you’re going or how long you’ll be away. In Pike’s case, all that was multiplied by the fact that his wife and daughter were killed while he was on a mission, a mission he’d told his wife he wouldn’t go on, a mission about which he’d said he’d rather hang up his spurs first.
A typical GI, especially one in a high-risk job, a job where fatalities are a given most of the time, adapts. He adapts by putting a friend’s death out of his mind, by talking about any subject in the world but his own vulnerability. Or sometimes he doesn’t say anything at all. But when tragedy hits home the equation changes. You lose a spouse, a child, you try to tough it out and a few lucky ones manage to do so. Most of us, however, fall off the tightrope somewhere along the way. A misstep, an ever-so-slight zephyr of wind blowing the exact wrong way, and we’re on the way to perdition, the most common symptoms of which include drink, drugs, and/or erratic and irresponsible behavior — the polar opposite of what we trained thousands of hours to be.