The Insider Threat
A Pike Logan thriller by Brad Taylor
Book review by Jules Brenner
Dutton, released 6/30/15, 432 pp., $26.95
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In crime books these days, authors of covert ops action thrillers are so up to date that they're using the ISIS threat in the middle east and elsewhere for setting and for new depths of villainy -- making for a contemporary mix of fiction and realism. Taylor is no exception. Good in both departments, he presents here his hero Pike Logan, leader of the top, top secret anti-terrorist team known only to a few at the highest levels of government. The Taskforce.

As his readers know, the secrecy is about having an off-the-books unit of ex-military commandos taking extreme measures when a threat from anywhere demands it, and keeping it out of the headlines where complicated reasons for certain actions would subject them to censure and the sharp edge of political enemies and correctness accusers.

The tactically awesome and formidable Pike Logan had a new challenge when his handpicked team of highly trained operatives were obliged to consider the addition of a woman. Much was made (a couple of books ago) of adding a femme to the club in which assignments put them in contact with the worst psychopaths on the planet. Trust and reliability were not open to compromise for any reason. But after the author put Jennifer Cahill through hell and had her show her gifts both physical and mental. She was in.

Now, in the eighth Taskforce novel, Shoshana and Aaron, whom Pike & Co. met and clashed with in the last op are now detached from the legendary Israeli agency Mossad. But, Shoshana being a she-devil dynamo in combat, Pike hires the pair to assist in the new counter-terrorist mission that shows Taylor upping his game.

In the area of terror, a case involving a rich Saudi funding ISIS becomes an impending multi-threat of coordinated attack plans being formulated. Clues lead to a confusing array of defense measures that Pike & Co. will have to deal with against propagating enemies. Jennifer is the first to pick up the true meaning of two mysterious phrases in the terrorist ether: "The Lost Boys" and their hatred of the "white house."

By this time in the epic series, Pike and Jennifer have become a romantic item, and with Shoshana being gay though attracted to Pike, the gender action remains a compositional feature that simmers and provides emotional tension on top of the gruesome cells of evil bent on destroying U.S. interests.

Taylor, with 21 years in uniform, commendably retired as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel, has put a lot of thought into a saga that combines a great deal of motivational depth as much for the thought processes of a multi-branched jihadist enemy as for the members of his brave team. Exacting, his depiction of inhuman fanaticism sets up several live-or-die action set pieces with a great semblance of accuracy. These moments of high drama will suspend any other concern in your life.

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