Brad Taylor acquired a legion of fans seemingly instantaneously with ONE ROUGH MAN, his first novel. It introduced Pike Logan, a retired Delta Force commander who had been recruited to work with the Taskforce, a black-op, off-the-books military unit authorized to work outside of the law in the course of defending the United States from its enemies. ALL NECESSARY FORCE is, if anything, even more exciting than his debut, offering the return of Logan and the Taskforce, and upping the stakes of their mission to even greater heights.
"When you’re ready to read ALL NECESSARY FORCE, you better sit in a mile-long chair, as you’ll otherwise quickly find yourself on the end of it. The first few pages alone...should come with a Surgeon General’s warning if you have a weak heart."
A word here. When you’re ready to read ALL NECESSARY FORCE, you better sit in a mile-long chair, as you’ll otherwise quickly find yourself on the end of it. The first few pages alone, detailing an up-close-and-personal doomed mission in the war-torn Cambodia of 1970, should come with a Surgeon General’s warning if you have a weak heart. Things don’t slow down as Taylor gets to the present times. There is an indication that a major terrorist event is in the works, but that is as far as the traditional (read: legal) sources of intelligence are able to track.
The Taskforce is brought in to gather all of the intelligence it can, locate the potential doers, and shut their mission and them down. It is nothing if not a group of world-beaters, and it follows the intelligence trail and the terrorists, from Asia to Alexandria (Egypt, not Virginia) with danger every step of the way. Logan and Jennifer Cahill, Logan’s partner and budding love interest, quickly find that things become more complicated and dangerous for them. They discover that what appeared to be a single mission is actually two, being carried out by two competing terrorist organizations. The aim is to launch a weapon of unspeakable power at the heartland of the United States from within that will render the country helpless at almost every level. Yet, if it reaches the United States, Logan and Cahill face another problem: the U.S. is the one country where the Taskforce is forbidden by mandate to operate. They are in a constant race against time and terror throughout the book, one in which the fate of the nation --- not to mention their own lives --- is at stake.
Taylor holds a Master of Science degree in Defense Analysis and, when not writing bestselling novels, serves as a security consultant regarding asymmetric threats to a number of different agencies. To put it another way, he is not making up the threats set forth here as he goes along. His narrative gives the reader an over-the-shoulder look at the deadly work that is done by the nation’s protectors, the rough men Orwell spoke of who stand ready in the night to do violence to those who would harm us. Truth be told, Taylor is one of those himself, a retired Special Forces lieutenant colonel who knows of what he speaks.
So it is that, while it has its occasional moments of humor, ALL NECESSARY FORCE is also infused with the gravitas of one who has an intimate acquaintance with the fog of war, whether on a battlefield or in a back alley. This book is for real, written with a knowledge of how the world works.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on February 2, 2012