FOR MOST PEOPLE, when
they retire, life slows down.
They sleep in. Travel. Leave
their old jobs behind.
Not for Brad Taylor.
That would be too easy.
After an esteemed ;;-
plus-year career in the U.S.
Army, Taylor has gone from
Special Forces missions in the Middle East to
embarking on a challenge many would find just
as daunting: writing best-selling novels.
Despite an admitted lack of formal writing
training, commanding the attention of fervent
fans of military thrillers seems to come easy for
the erstwhile lieutenant colonel. To say the least,
Taylor has spent his time quite productively,
penning ;; novels and six e-book shorts in his
popular Pike Logan series since leaving the military in ;;;;.
As you’d expect, Taylor’s tomes are informed
and inspired by his tactical combat experience
and favor propulsive plot lines reflecting contemporary conflict, replete with international
intrigue. In his latest novel, Ghosts of War, the
action swirls around Taylor surrogate Pike Logan.
With his quasi-legal counterterrorist outfit, the
Taskforce, in shutdown, Logan and his partner
(professionally and romantically), Jennifer
Cahill, are left to their own special-ops devices.
Moonlighting on a mission in Poland in search of
a World War II Nazi “gold train” of ill-gotten
goods, their operation goes sideways, potentially
triggering World War III in the process.
Adroit at spinning fast-paced tales about
combatting radical unrest in the post-;/;;
world, Taylor shifts narrative gears in Ghosts,
tackling a present-day rekindling of classic
“This is my first book without a significant
terrorism component … but the fault lines of
the Cold War are a much bigger canvas,” the
;;-year-old Charleston, South Carolina–based
writer and Costco member explains during a
As if he weren’t busy enough, Taylor also
works as an in-demand security consultant. An
unabashed news junkie, he spends at least two
hours daily tracking media feeds around the
world in service to both his jobs. He enjoys the
challenge of trying to tell timely stories ripped
not from today’s headlines but from tomorrow’s.
The approach has its pitfalls, though.
“The problem with writing about current
events is when they become current,” he says. He
notes that a plot may mirror the news but not
play out exactly the same way on the page, which
drives his desire to make his novels as authentic
“Current events really do drive the plots and
the timelines of my books, but what I really enjoy
is history,” says Taylor. “There’s something about
history—the idea that the world didn’t start yesterday, the past-to-present link.” This is what he
feels enriches the series.
In a similar vein, Taylor is often asked how
Logan and his Taskforce stack up to actual
Special Forces activities.
“At the gunpoint level, yeah, it is as real as it
can be. But in the books, the Taskforce do so
many missions, so rapidly, it’s not real,” says
Taylor. To be true to life, he says, “there would be
;;; pages of PowerPoint presentations, with
only the last two pages about the operation.”
Considering his prolific output, the prospect
of burnout seems high, but Taylor doesn’t seem
likely to kill off Pike Logan any time soon to try
his hand at writing in another genre. Even
though he professes an affection for murder
mysteries—particularly those by Michael
Connelly, Robert Crais and John Sanford—he
finds the learning curve of tackling one himself
“The good thing about what I write now is I
don’t have to do a lot of research, at least opera-
tionally,” he says. “If I wanted to write a murder
mystery … I’d have to learn things like how a war-
rant is served and how an arrest goes for real.”
Taylor may have one person to thank for his
professional success in a trajectory that took
him from military officer to best-selling author:
his wife of ;; years, Elaine.
“On my first date with my wife, I had yet to
join the military. I told her over dinner that I was
going to be in the Special Forces and write a book,”
he laughs. “It was all just … to impress her.” C
Michael Evans is a Portland, Oregon, writer.
I REALIZE THAT my monthly
book picks aren’t usually political thrillers. This month’s pick,
Ghosts of War, by Brad Taylor,
is the exception. Taylor has
won me over with his insider
knowledge and his remarkable
skills as a writer.
While Pike Logan and
Jennifer Cahill are in Poland
looking for long-hidden artifacts, a Russian incursion into
Belarus is trumped by a horrific
attack against the United States.
On the brink of war, our heroes
discover a separate agenda
that will force a showdown
between NATO and Russia.
As always, Taylor excels at
writing fast-paced and believable prose.
Ghosts of War (Item
#1182048; 8/29) is available in
most Costco warehouses. For
more book picks, see page 85.
—Pennie Clark Ianniciello,
Costco has 50 copies of Brad Taylor’s Ghosts of
War with signed book plates to give away. To en-
ter, go to
NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR OPT-IN OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPS TAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Sweepstakes
is sponsored by Costco Wholesale, 1045 Lake Drive,
Issaquah, WA 98027. Open to legal residents of the U. S.
(except Puerto Rico) who are age 18 or older at the time
of entry. One entry per household. Entries must be received
before the October issue is available online, which will
happen around September 26, 2017. Winners will be
randomly selected and noti;ed by mail on or before
November 1, 2017. The value of the prize is $9.99. Void
where prohibited. Winners are responsible for all applicable
federal, state and local taxes. Odds of winning depend on
the number of eligible entries received. Employees of Costco
or Penguin Random House and their families are not eligible.
SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY
Ripped from the headlines
Brad Taylor searches the news for novel research