HUNTER KILLER by Brad Taylor

January 7, 2020

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Pike Logan tracks highly-trained Russian assassins to Brazil in this blistering, action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former Special Forces Officer Brad Taylor.

Pike Logan and the Taskforce were once the apex predators, an unrivaled hunting machine that decimated those out to harm the United States, but they may have met their match. While Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill prepare to join their team on a counter-terrorist mission in the triple frontier—the lawless tri-border region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet—they are targeted in Charleston, South Carolina. A vicious explosion kills a friend, and the perpetrators have set it up to look like an accident. While the authorities believe this was not foul play, Pike knows the attack was meant for him.

When he loses contact with the team in South America, Pike is convinced he and the Taskforce are under assault. His men are the closest thing to family that Pike has, which means he will do anything, even ignore direct orders to stand down, to find them. Pike and Jennifer head to Brazil to investigate their disappearance and run headlong into a crew of Russian assassins. Within days they are entangled in a byzantine scheme involving Brazilian politics and a cut-throat battle for control of offshore oil fields.

Forged in combat, the Russians are the equal of anything the Taskforce has encountered before, but they make a mistake in attacking Pike’s team, because Pike has a couple of elite Israeli assassins of his own. And Pike will stop at nothing to protect his family.


Those who already addicted to ex-army Delta Force operative Brad Taylor’s novels involving Pike Logan and his Task Force team will find that the newest book in the series follows suit. The Task Force is a group of military operatives that was set up by the United States president to hunt down and neutralize enemies of the country in any way they see fit. Pike Logan is a leader of one of the teams and has spearheaded many successful ventures with them. And they report directly to the president with no affiliation to other clandestine organizations.

The novel opens as two of Pike’s men are in Brazil on assignment acting as the lead in a planned counter-terrorism operation when the Task Force is suddenly ordered to stand down from all activity pending investigation of whether or not they are acting legally. Pike’s immediate supervisor brings him the news directly but in an accident obviously aimed at killing Pike is murdered in Pike’s car when it blows up when the motor is turned on. Findings seem to indicate that it was a freak accident but Pike is of the opinion that it was a planned hit against him.

At the same time, word is received that the Task Force men in Brazil are aboard a ferry stopped by terrorists that then wired it with explosives. With no direct contact with the men in Brazil, Pike makes the logical assumption that he and his squad are under attack. Against orders he and his girlfriend and fellow Task Force member Jennifer Cahill along with several other men anxious to help those in Brazil fly down to South America. The area is actually the triple frontier between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay and is basically a lawless zone.

Once arrived the group finds that they are right in the middle of the activities of a team of highly skilled Russian agents whose goal is to gain control of a lucrative Brazilian offshore oil field. Without backing and against orders Pike and his team begin the action they deem suitable to save their men on the Ferry and rectify the entire situation. The action is constant, the planning and execution of their plans well done and we have another mesmerizing novel by Brad Taylor to keep us awake until finished.

1/2020 Paul Lane

HUNTER KILLER by Brad Taylor. William Morrow (January 7, 2020). ISBN 978-0062886026. 432p.

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TASK FORCE BAUM by James D. Shipman

November 30, 2019

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The novel is a war story and a very good one. It has all the action, movement, and planning of other great war novels. One big exception is the fact that it is a true incident occurring in the month prior to the cessation of hostilities with Germany.

General George Patton commanding the troops in the area described makes a determination that his army is within striking distance of a POW internment camp. For reasons known only to him, Patton sends a small armored force to take the camp, free the prisoners and bring them back to the American side. The general is under the impression that the camp is a relatively small one holding about 300 prisoners and they can be liberated by sending a force of about 500 men with several tanks to work their way about 50 miles into German-held territory and accomplish the mission.

The captain commanding the force, Abraham Baum, tries to argue that it would be easier and faster to send a division size force with accompanying tanks to make the raid. General Patton disagrees, stating that he has intelligence that the camp is held by only a few troops and sends off the raiding party as originally planned. Baum’s group immediately runs into trouble when the German force turns out to be much larger and better equipped than thought.

Shipman paints a well thought out and researched story of the actual fighting around the expedition and the German troops both stationed in the area as well as those guarding the camp. There is bravery and a willingness to sacrifice on both sides. Soldiers are killed and wounded. There is a maniacal sargeant involved in guarding the prisoners. The anguish felt by men that cannot leave the front to return home to face an emergency there is well described. And, of course, the constant fear of death or devastating wounds is always with the soldiers on both sides.

The question of what Patton had in mind when he ordered an undersized force into a situation that becomes almost impossible is brought out as well as the reactions of the Americans when they realize that they are in over their heads, but cannot give up and turn back. There are no heroes but certainly many people just willing to do their duty. Task Force Baum is a novel that you cannot leave until finished, and certainly the work of an author whose books should be sought out as he writes them.

11/19 Paul Lane

TASK FORCE BAUM by James D. Shipman. Kensington (November 26, 2019). ISBN 978-1496723864. 304p.

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THE NUGGET by P.T. Deutermann

October 16, 2019

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World War II Navy Series, Book 6

is a retired Captain of the U.S. Navy who has found a brilliant second career as an accomplished author. Many of the books he has had published concern action by the Navy in different areas and also various periods. He also has a set of equally well written novels that do not concern the military, which are just as engrossing as the military novels. All in all, a man with a superb background and obviously a gift for telling a story, keeping his readers pinned to the book, and assuring his place as a writer in constant demand.

The Nugget is a story set during a period beginning with the outbreak of World War II for the United States. Bobby Steele is a graduate of Annapolis, the U.S. naval academy.  He has had a two-year assignment, after which he is sent to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii where he is assigned to an aircraft carrier. We meet him as he is awakened from a sleep aboard a ship by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and with this is run full tilt into high action.

Deutermann describes the first days of the war in the Pacific against the Japanese and the first victory against them at Midway. Bobby Steele plays his role in much of the action that actually took place during the first several years of the war. He is shot down twice, rescued each time, but eventually ends up in the Philippines. It is there that Bobby and the copilot that flew with him unable to return to U.S. forces work with the Philippine resistance forces against their Japanese invaders.

The Nugget is a book that successfully keeps the reader glued to a plot involving plenty of hair raising action with the incredible dangers of war, making sure that the reader must finish the book before attempting to go to sleep. A definite five star novel for an author who has plenty of them to his credit, with the certainty that more will follow.

 

10/19 Paul Lane

THE NUGGET by P.T. Deutermann. St. Martin’s Press (October 8, 2019). ISBN 978-1250205889. 320p.

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NOTTINGHAM by Nathan Makaryk

August 19, 2019

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Not surprisingly, Nottingham is a novel about Robin Hood and his merry men. But not your ordinary tale of Robin, Little John,Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck and the chaste and beautiful Maid Marion and their struggle against the evil that permeated the county they live in. The author has written quite an interesting version of the legend of Robin.

Instead of complete evil being faced by overwhelming good, Makaryk postulates a story involving people with real motives and why their actions could have led to the tale of Robin being what it is.

In the first place, there is no evidence that Robin Hood and his band ever really existed although the author has done research into the mid 1100’s in England, the period ascribed to Robin Hood and used some of the facts he unearthed in the story.

The story begins at a point where Robin of Locksley and his friend William are serving in the army of king Richard during his crusade in the holy land. They are taking part at the siege of the city of Acre, and planning a near future attack on Jerusalem against the forces of Saladin. During the fight at Acre, it is discovered that a shipment of new weapons needed by Richard if he is to continue to fight has been lost in transit. Robin and William are sent back by Richard to find these weapons and deliver them to the army.

The men detached, on the temporary assignment, find themselves in the midst of problems in and around Nottingham with the current Sheriff unwilling to do anything about it. He is too nice and does not want to offend anyone. Robin and William decide that they have to take care of the problem and dive right in. Robin meets up with his long time lady love Marion and as before they talk about marriage when there is time. William also meets a young lady whose family has become destitute and she must take a servant’s position at Locksley castle. Robin attracts a group of citizens that want to help solving the problems facing Nottingham and follow him into Sherwood forest where they begin robbing rich people riding through. Since Marion is there the author comes up with the basis for the term merry men in relation to Robin’s band. Since Marion had a hand in organizing them they became known as Marion’s men. This is one of the examples of possible fact turning into the source of glorified fiction and creating the legend. There are many other instances where what did happen turns into what is thought to have happened.

Nottingham is a novel that will keep the reader interested and is appropriate for anyone that has read the books and seen the movies dealing with the Robin Hood legend. The length of the book keeps it from being an all nighter and there is a bit too much description of the events that could have turned real life into legend.

Recommendation – read the book, it is different enough in its presentation to the legend making it an interesting read.

8/19 Paul Lane

NOTTINGHAM by Nathan Makaryk. Forge Books (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1250195609. 496p.

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THE WHITE FEATHER KILLER by R. N. Morris

August 2, 2019

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A Silas Quinn Mystery, Book 5

This is the fifth Silas Quinn novel written by the author. While much of the fleshing out of Detective Quinn was done in the previous books it will not deter the reader to come across the character as he appears here. Quinn is picked up just after his previous assignment in which he was required to go under cover in a lunatic asylum in order to solve a case. He arrives back at his headquarters just at the time that England has entered the first World War. The country was in turmoil gearing up for the war with thousands of men volunteering for the army. Quinn’s previous assignment has been changed and he is put under the supervision of another detective who is depicted as incompetent for the job.

Making use of the plot of the book “The Four Feathers” by A.E.W. Mason, Morris sets up the handing out of white feathers to men not in the uniform of their country and deemed cowards during the opening period of WWI. A young girl is found murdered and a white feather is found set into her mouth. Quinn’s new supervisor is shown to be incompetent when he arrests a butcher, innocent of the crime but having a German parent. The man is placed in prison and subject to extremely harsh conditions until Quinn manages to get himself involved as supervisor to the case.

The novel becomes involved with the solving of the crime working within the turmoil of the first two months of WWI. The description of the period shows a great deal of research with several factors built into the novel. There is first, the use of taking fingerprints, a science only a few years old. There is also the introduction of Vernon Kell who is credited with the founding of MI6. Kell notes the fine detective work by Silas Quinn and will probably take a more active role in future novels featuring him.

The writing style does not lend itself to grabbing on and finishing it in one read, but is sufficiently interesting to make it an attractive draw and a well done portrait of detective work in a setting 100 years before our time.

8/19 Paul Lane

THE WHITE FEATHER KILLER by R. N. Morris. Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (August 1, 2019). ISBN 978-0727888853. 288p.

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RED METAL by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV

July 22, 2019

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The authors, one whom is an experienced combat officer, have combined to present a picture of what real war is like. There are no descriptions of computers fighting one another, but of real men and women doing battle with modern weapons with many casualties as a consequence.

Several years prior to the opening of the book Russia was driven from possession of three Rare Earth Mineral mines located in Africa in the country of Kenya. The Russian prime minister now feels that it is time to retake those mines and orders two troop movements. The first is an attack across Poland and into Germany drawing the United States and NATO allies into defending those countries. Using this assault as a means of taking attention away from her real target the Russian military will than utilize a second assault into Kenya in order to capture the mines.

The authors utilize back and forth reactions by both sides on the two fronts to tell a masterful story of war. First, the Russian attack driving through Poland brings reactions from a poorly outfitted Polish army, but than occasions the decision by armed citizenry to fight the invaders. A young Polish girl whose normal occupation is as a barista in a coffee shop becomes a hero as she begins to lead other citizens into the defense of their country. The Russian side is depicted by military officers who are in tune with the war and want to make sure that they stand out for recognition for their efforts.

The second phase is a defense by American forces of the mines in Kenya. At the point of undertaking this defense the U.S. navy is engaged in a “show the flag” contest with the Chinese and are forced to sail across the world to take part in the defense of the mines in Africa. Individual, and realistically described moments of courage are described on the part of both sides during the battles. A U.S.submarine commander manages to destroy a crucial part of the Russian fuel supply by brave movements against the Russian invasion fleet. An American aviator manages to do a good deal of damage to Russian air support, while brave men and women move into precarious positions in order to maximize their efforts against Russia’s tanks.

The book is an all nighter due mainly to it’s use of personal experiences encountered by characters that are fleshed out sufficiently enough to be believed as active participants in the horrors of a shooting war. Very well done indeed.

7/19 Paul Lane

RED METAL by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV. Berkley (July 16, 2019). ISBN 978-0451490414. 656p.

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THE COMMODORE by P.T. Deutermann

August 7, 2016
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Ex-Naval Captain Peter Deutermann spent his career as an officer with the United States Navy. Upon retirement he commenced an equally successful career as an author of adventure novels, including several based on events during wartime.

The Commodore is his latest book and is based upon the sea battles surrounding the invasion of Guadalcanal by the Marines. Harmon Wolf is a naval officer born on a Minnesota Indian reservation. He has never been thought of as an acceptable career officer since he does not fit into the traditional image of a by the book sailor.

The navy has been taking a pounding by the Japanese fleet and admiral “Bull” Halsey, a maverick in his own right, is looking for non-traditional answers to that problem.

Wolf is appointed commander of a destroyer and immediately demonstrates an ability to bring aggressive solutions to problems. He quickly earns promotion by Halsey as Commodore of an entire destroyer squadron. Applying original answers to questions about naval tactics gains a much sought after victory over a Japanese fleet bringing reinforcements to Guadalcanal.

As always, Deutermann’s descriptions of naval engagements, military tactics, weapons and armament are couched in easy to understand language for the reader. His gift for language keeps his audience glued to the book, and easily picturing the situations populating the novel. When Wolf is injured during the battles and cannot be safely sent to sea, a unique solution to continuing making use of him is set up.

Very well done indeed.

8/16 Paul Lane

THE COMMODORE by P.T. Deutermann. St. Martin’s Press (August 2, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250078070.  304p.

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WARNING ORDER by Joshua Hood

June 28, 2016
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Search and Destroy Thriller

Second in what should become a popular and successful set of novels about the US army in battle with elements of radical Islam, Hood’s book is nothing short of an adrenaline rush. Combat is present from start to finish keeping the reader glued to the pages and mesmerized by the action.

Mason Cane, on the US government’s Black List, strikes a deal with the CIA to clear his name and throws himself back into action. He finds that he is up against a radical cell of terrorists with possible roots within the US president’s inner circle.

Moving against the cell, Cane is joined by a group including Renee Hart, a DOD operative, and Special Forces soldiers. Action is constant with no let up. Renee was apparently set to become a love interest for Mason Cane in the first book by Hood, Clear by Fire, but there is no time in this novel for any private contact for the two.

The ending finds Cane wounded in action and taking a leave in order to recuperate from his wounds.  He is contacted by the individual that guides his actions, and the book ends as Mason is ordered into his next action.

The book is for any reader that appreciates combat action written by a veteran of war who has the knack to describe military action and the weapons used in the fighting. This is a well done novel of war.

6/16 Paul Lane

WARNING ORDER by Joshua Hood. Touchstone (June 28, 2016).  ISBN 978-1501108280.  352p.