A year after the release of his book Hunter Killer, Brad Taylor is back with the fifteenth novel in his Pike Logan series, arriving in bookstores today.  American Traitor finds the long-time special ops character with his newly adopted daughter trying to create something of a more domestic life.  His first step?  A vacation in Australia with girlfriend/partner Jennifer Cahill.  Pike Logan has been around the world a few times, and so why not meet up with former colleague Clifford “Dunkin” Delmonty on his way to a relaxing dive off the coast?  Unfortunately for Pike, this is a political espionage series, which means no easy vacation awaits, and the need to kill off a few people in self defense who try to interrogate him when he arrives at his friend’s apartment.  Soon he’s sucked back into a clash between nations.  American Traitor arrives in bookstores and here at Amazon today.

Brad Taylor’s novel follows a back and forth between first person Pike Logan in one chapter and a third person narration of the political wheels turning from afar that he is about to face.  For this story, it’s interests in China expanding their sphere of influence, stretching their borders ever wider and sealing their presence in Australia.  Pike’s former colleague is working on a new special ops aircraft, which unfortunately has a control system that can be manipulated if you have the right access to the software.

Taylor’s hero is of the same genre as Tom Clancy’s espionage stories starring Jack Ryan and John Clark.  Pike Logan is more John Clark than Ryan and Taylor’s writing is a less densely-packed version of Clancy.  About half the size of a Clancy novel and without the technical details or technobabble Clancy was known for, the result will be an easy, quick read for fans of the genre.  The lack of technical details also means readers may not find that same heart-pounding fear that Clancy’s detailed knowledge of the shadowy, secret corners of the military industrial complex that his writing conveyed–most of the tricks of the trade used by China that Taylor incorporates seems to be available on Google as opposed to concepts that might be surprising or shocking to the reader that the CIA is really keeping under wraps.  So this feels a bit lighter in the gravity of the stakes conveyed.  It also pulls more from the more paranoid parts of international relations–everyone always seems out to get the interests Pike Logan tries to protect.  Here that’s a battle between China and Taiwan with artificial intelligence and espionage tactics.

The family ties Pike is trying to make evokes Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando and similar 1980s films.  The special ops on-the-run with his girlfriend component is also a bit like the Jason Bourne stories.

Readers of previous Brad Taylor’s audiobooks will appreciate the return of Rich Orlow’s voice to this chapter in the series.  Fans of Pike Logan won’t want to miss American Traitor, now available here at Amazon from William Morrow/HarperCollins.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg