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ONE ROUGH MAN by Brad Taylor


by Brad Taylor

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-525-95213-8
Publisher: Dutton

A fallen-from-grace former antiterrorist operative and his lady friend chase terrorists armed with a horrifying weapon halfway around the world.

As a member of a clandestine group called the Taskforce, set up to eliminate terrorist threats before they materialize, Pike Logan was used to being where he needed to be to save the day…until the time he was away on an operation when his wife and daughter were murdered. He started making mistakes in the field, and before long he was unemployed, living on a sailboat, drinking too much and picking fights at dive bars. It is after such a drunken brawl that Pike meets Jennifer Cahill, a college student whose uncle, unbeknownst to her, has been kidnapped and killed in Guatemala by a smuggler named El Machete while looking for a lost Mayan temple fabled to house an ancient secret weapon. After he saves her from a few of the smuggler’s flunkies, Jennifer convinces Pike to head down to Guatemala with her to clear things up. Meanwhile, two al-Qaeda operatives making arrangements with El Machete overhear some loose talk and hatch a plan to get their hands on the Mayan superweapon. After settling things with El Machete, Pike and Jennifer find clues pointing to the Islamist’s intentions, and set out on a global chase to stop them. All the while, a rogue official has sent a team to hunt Pike and Jennifer around the world as part of his plan to spin the aftermath of the terrorist attack to serve his own ends. While first-time novelist Taylor certainly isn’t breaking any new ground here, the quality of his writing is just a tick above the median for other books in the genre. On the other hand, the outlandish nature of a near escape or two and some pretty lucky deductive leaps on Logan’s part, not to mention the fact that the WMD is ancient and Mayan, put this book’s level of believability just a touch south of average. In the end, though, everything balances out to a satisfyingly average read.

Capably written, with occasional flashes of something better.