Joel Rosenberg burst on to the fiction scene over a dozen years ago with his book The Last Jihad which combined a startling mix of ripped from today’s headlines with a dash of Nostradamus-like prognostication on the future direction of terrorism in a post-9/11 world.
Since that point Rosenberg has displayed an almost uncanny ability to hang out on the cutting edge of fact-based, real world, fictional tales. When you ponder the average timeline from final edits to the bookshelf, Rosenberg’s latest, The Third Target and its ISIL (or ISIS if you prefer) based storyline, once again proves he has his finger squarely on the pulse of Middle East tensions.
Rosenberg ratchets up the tension when he posits the terror inducing thought that ISIL terrorists in Syria have stumbled upon a cache of chemical weapons and are planning to put them to use; the targets are obvious, the question that remains is where and when.
Fictional, New York Times correspondent J B Collins gets wind of the chemical coup and gets flung headlong into the story as he tries to track down the details from disparate sources and even from the terrorists themselves. Rosenberg’s hallmarks are all in place with solid pacing, plenty of twists and turns and believable characters all around.
No Fortunate Son – A Pike Logan Thriller - Brad Taylor – (Dutton Books)
John Fogerty and Credence Clearwater Revival dropped the term “fortunate son” into the popular lexicon with the anti-war anthem of the same name in 1969; which featured Fogerty growling the line “I ain’t no Senator’s son.” Despite the double negative, the implication is that the offspring of the elites were not the one tapped to serve in the military.
It is those offspring that are the centerpiece of Brad Taylor’s new Pike Logan thriller; No Fortunate Son. The children and relatives of high ranking administration and elected officials are suddenly coming up missing; disappearing from their jobs and taskings at U.S. military outposts at far flung places around the world.
The race and the hunt is on to not only discover who is behind the kidnappings, but also to save lives. False flag fingers are pointed in the direction of Middle Eastern terror types, but are they really behind the plot to bring the U.S. government to its proverbial knees?
This plotline throws Logan and the Task Force team into uncharted waters as they move from hunting down bad guys to take out and move into the world of police investigation and what it takes to hunt down a different kind of bad guy. Taylor’s background as a special forces operator is diametrically opposite of this kind of work, but he handles it all with his usual aplomb and dispatches yet another winning entry in this series.
Rain On The Dead – Jack Higgins (Putnam Books)
Jack Higgins remains a true master when it comes to delivering an international thriller. His latest outing Rain on the Dead, features a cast familiar characters; spies and assorted ruffians, converts to the cause of good triumphing over evil.
It is those usual suspects and the predictable nature of their always in the right place at the right time to deliver forceful action with often stunning speed and agility that may be the downfall of this book. While I am certainly not prudish about the use of violence in a storyline, the simple fact that many of Higgins characters could easily qualify for government funded retirement benefits that make the speed and accuracy that the force is delivered with a bit hard to believe at times.
The old master may have visited the well of reformed IRA shooter Sean Dillon and friend one too many times. While still an entertaining yarn, you’ve got to wonder how much this gang has left in the tank.