On the day that changed everything, Sept. 11, 2001, Brad Taylor’s wife was nine months pregnant. Within days, she gave birth to their daughter. Four days after that, Taylor headed to Afghanistan with the image of his crying wife holding their new baby permanently etched in his mind. During his twenty-one years in the U.S. Army, Taylor’s job assignment was with special operations and ultimately as a commander in the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment — better known as Delta Force.
He’s the real deal.
This is what makes his debut novel, One Rough Man, so fascinating — Brad Taylor has actually navigated the deep currents of the complex and dangerous waters he writes about. He takes the reader beyond Delta Forces and into the realm of the secretive — out of the box and off the grid. His vehicle is called Taskforce and his hero is a guy named Pike Logan. Think Jack Bauer and Mitch Rapp on steroids, or Jason Bourne — only taller, tougher, and totally unlike Matt Damon.
As Americans watch events unfold throughout the Middle East, first in Egypt and now with unrest spreading like a contagion to other states in the region, we have a fresh reminder of just how quickly geo-political reality changes. And always nearby there is the threat of Islamism.
It is an ideology that feeds on instability, whether exploiting the rage and frustration in American prisons, or manipulating the hopes and dreams of naïve protestors in public squares, Islamism is a political poison that deceives and destroys. We’d do well to bear in mind that the various tales spun by novelists — stories of intrigue and suspense — are not really all that far from reality. Not far at all.
The title of Brad Taylor’s new book, One Rough Man, comes from a quote attributed to George Orwell (with a nod to Rudyard Kipling): “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Some who spend too much time missing the point might debate the authenticity of the quote, but its essential truth is beyond dispute. And Pike Logan is the roughest of the rough men.
Is there some Brad Taylor in Pike Logan? He insists that there isn’t, though he acknowledges his great sense of pride in having served with many “Pike Logan’s” over the years. There is no doubt, however, that Taylor’s literary creation is informed by his real-life experiences. Although unlike the author, Logan endures — and not all that gracefully — a severe personal trauma, one that puts his life and career on a downward spiral. It’s a well-worn path of self-destructive behavior born of despair.