But, One Rough Man is every bit as much a story of redemption as it is of retribution. And of course — but far from clichéd — the way back involves a woman in need. Her name is Jennifer Cahill, the niece of a celebrated anthropologist who is murdered after finding what turns out to be an ancient WMD — yep, a good old fashioned weapon of mass destruction — in a remote Mayan jungle. As the story moves forward, Logan and Cahill find themselves racing against the clock to thwart what could potentially be an Islamist terrorist act of historic proportions. And they themselves are being tracked and targeted, as well.
This is a familiar formula for fans of the “thriller” genre, but Taylor’s background and clear flair for research give the book the feel of something different from a predictable first novel. It is also clear at times that the author finds himself unable to let the reader in on details that are very real and very classified.
Taylor is currently finishing work on a second book in an ultimate series involving Pike Logan. It is likely that this new character will take his place among that elite group of near super-heroes who give us a glimpse of hope that there might, in fact, be such people who make the world safer for the rest of us. Sometimes they make us uncomfortable. And certainly we all acknowledge the tension between our love for freedom and the occasional need for things to happen in the name of security that seem to momentarily trump, or at least suspend, a basic value here or there. I suspect, however, that more people than care to admit it secretly hope there are such operatives “ready to do violence on their behalf.”
Brad Taylor has wanted to write a novel for a long time, but it was as he approached retirement from the army, after a final teaching assignment at the Citadel, that he decided to give it a try. One Rough Man is a great first book and leaves the reader with a hunger for more.
We may as well make room in our hearts and on our shelves for some great Pike Logan adventures to come.