Brad Taylor – Ghosts of War: Book Review

Ghosts of War - Brad Taylor   Tensions run high in this Geo-political epic that frighteningly tries to predict tomorrow’s news. Brad Taylor who served in the Delta Force and retired as a Lt. Colonel writes with firsthand experience, research and sources. Ghosts of War’s tropes are a hybrid between the intense stakes of Vince Flynn and the believable plotting of Tom Clancy. With many light moments that make you laugh, this lightning-paced thriller brings new elements into the genre.
Taylor’s idea for this book comes from a few real articles. First is on a Russian motorcycle gang which played a scary role in the invasion of Crimea. The other is about the Russian State-owned oil company – Gazprom – and its connection to the Bratva ( The mob or the Brotherhood in Russian).
This series focuses on a team called the Taskforce, that operates outside the law but under oversight to protect US interests. Due to the events of the previous book, this unit is decommissioned in this book’s opening scenes. But its members continue working in their cover jobs that are officially established.
Former Taskforce members, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are hired to get their hands on a historic Torah by their former Mossad friends. They meet Aron and Shosana in Poland. These two couples have a mountain of weirdness around them considering the lives they live.
The main plot developing in the background focuses on Putin. He is shown as the Machiavellian that he really is and tries to increase his power by expanding his territory into the Baltic and the Slavic States. But he needs a reason to attack that can be justified.
Here comes Simon, former KGB turned Bratva boss who reluctantly is Putin’s problem solver. Simon is tasked to stage an attack against a Russian airfield in Belarus and to blame it on Chechen extremists. This way Putin can have a reason to protect his territory by invading his neighbors.
But Simon doesn’t stop there. In order to rid the world of Putin, he stages a series of attacks to bring the USA and the Russian Federation into war to secure the territory under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. One of these attacks brings down the Air Force One with a Surface to Air Missile that kills the US President.
Pike Logan’s job interdicts with Mikhail who is Simon’s right-hand man. This Mikhail is a criminal who was formerly Mossad. Back in his service days, he was the guy who damaged Shosana into the psychotic, crazy, dark-devil that she is today. She faces off against him to come into terms with herself.
Pike and his team along with his Isreali friends go on the trail of finding Simon and Mikhail’s plan and stopping it before World War 3 erupts. Taskforce commander Kurt Hale proves to be a brilliant strategist who mentors the Vice-President’s transition into the role of POTUS and making decisions that could affect the world. The standoff between US and Russian forces are portrayed in a very Clancyesque way. This part is shown in both strategic and tactical angles.
The Taskforce’s Rockstar plane is a treat that comes with the kind of tactical tools and tech that can make Ian Fleming jealous. This book isn’t hero-centric as a plethora of characters take part and are equally responsible for solving the crisis. Some of Pike’s “Pumpkin King” jokes aimed at Shosana are truly hilarious. Her character development from a cold-blooded, crazy assassin into an emotionally struggling person is beautifully done.
This book shows the best way in which Clancy’s style of plotting can evolve and adapt for our current decade’s readers. Taylor has written a fun and informative, crazy but realistic plot and he now has a place in my Top 5 Geo-political thriller writers list.

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