The real-life rescue of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was held in Afghanistan by Taliban-aligned forces for five years, eventually sparked the plot of Brad Taylor's latest Pike Logan thriller, No Fortunate Son.
"I was looking for story ideas and started thinking about Bowe Bergdahl," the best-selling Taylor tells us. "We spent a long time looking for that guy." Taylor mused about the even more extreme efforts that would go into searching for a kidnapped soldier who was related to an important politician. The situation, he says, isn't that unthinkable. "We've got Vice President Biden, who has kids in the military. Senator McCain has kids in the military. The governor of South Carolina, her husband is in the military."
In No Fortunate Son, several soldiers, all relatives of high-profile politicians, are kidnapped and counterterrorism expert Pike Logan is sent to rescue them. The hostages are constantly being moved, which makes Logan's task especially difficult. Add to that the fact that Logan's mission isn't officially recognized (actually, he just got fired), so he has no support and authorization, and the situation seems impossible. Along with trying to find the hostages (who include the vice president's son), he has to battle the politicos who sit in conference rooms making decisions about what actions on-the-ground personnel (Logan included) should take."
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Taylor, a retired special forces lieutenant colonel, knows that struggle well. "Everybody on the ground always complains about the guys above you," he tells us, "but we all understood the reasons [that oversight was necessary]. It safeguards everybody involved."
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The fictional Pike Logan bristles at the oversight, and like his real-life counterparts, he's no superhero. He has flaws. He even gets outsmarted a couple of times. He's not perfect, but he gives the mission everything he has. That's something Taylor is committed to portraying in his books. "Too often in Hollywood, you've got a guy who says, 'Damn those politicians. They won't let me put a drill bit through this guy's kneecap. If they leave me alone, I can solve all of the world's problems.' Or you've got a bad guy named Dr. Evil. I've met a lot of bad guys, and you sit there across from them sometimes, making jokes and talking, and you end up thinking, 'Why do you want to kill everybody?' They're human. Good guys, bad guys, everybody's human."
The action in No Fortunate Son takes Logan around the world, including Ireland. The setting was suggested by Taylor's wife, who wanted to travel somewhere besides the Middle East for research.
"I was looking to move away from Islamic terrorists; they aren't the only terrorists, of course. I thought about the Basque separatists, the IRA. Back in the day, they were the gorilla in the room. I was thinking about moving [the location] of the story and my wife said, 'What about Ireland?'
Taylor, who grew up in Conroe, signs and discusses No Fortunate Son at 6:30 p.m. on January 6. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713‑524‑8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free.