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Ring of Fire (Pike Logan Series #11)
     

Ring of Fire (Pike Logan Series #11)

5.0 1
by Brad Taylor
 

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Former Delta Force officer and New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor delivers a relentlessly fast-paced, gripping thriller featuring Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill as they come face-to-face with an insidious threat to strike terror into the heart of America.  

Fifteen years ago, in order to win a

Overview

Former Delta Force officer and New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor delivers a relentlessly fast-paced, gripping thriller featuring Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill as they come face-to-face with an insidious threat to strike terror into the heart of America.  

Fifteen years ago, in order to win a contract in the Kingdom, a desperate defense contractor used a shell company to provide a bribe to a wealthy Saudi businessman. Now a powerful player in the defense industry, he panics when the Panama Papers burst onto the public scene. Providing insight into the illicit deeds of offshore financing, they could prove his undoing. 

To prevent the exposure of his illegal activities, he sets in motion a plan to interdict the next leak, but he is not the only one worried about spilled secrets. The data theft has left the Taskforce potentially vulnerable, leaving a trail that could compromise the unit. Back in the good graces of the new president, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are ordered to interdict the next leak as well, in order to control the damage. 

Unbeknownst to either group, the Saudi has been using the shell company to fund terrorists all over the world, and he has a spectacular attack planned, coinciding with the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. The information Pike and Jennifer uncover will put them on the trail of the imminent threat, but it’s one that they might be unable to stop. 

Called Ring of Fire, it will cause unimaginable destruction across the United States, and the ensuing chaos and terror will distract the Taskforce from a truth no one sees: Ring of Fire was only the beginning, and the danger is far from over.

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/28/2016
Bestseller Taylor’s 11th Pike Logan thriller (after 2016’s The Ghosts of War) serves as a chilling primer for an all-too-feasible terrorist strike. The leak of the confidential offshore-banking Panama Papers reveals a secret shell company financing terrorism and threatens to expose the extralegal counterterrorism organization known as the Taskforce, for which Pike works. Pike’s team must follow the money trail of a wealthy Saudi businessman’s planned succession of attacks, code-named Ring of Fire, to cripple America’s shipping industry. Taylor relies heavily on readers’ familiarity with the main characters, as their backstory is kept to a minimum, but that leaves space for intriguing secondary characters such as a Somali-American sleeper-cell drone pilot and the deadly, but principled, South African mercenary who stalks the terrorists. Pike and his crew have a few too many “just missed ’em” moments and rely on convenient technology for assistance, but the ever-escalating chaos will leave fans breathless for the next installment. Five-city author tour. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Brad Taylor and his novels

“Brad Taylor continues to tackle one of the pressing fears of today—terrorism. The plots and the characters are fictional but Taylor's meticulous research brings that sense of chilling believability to his Pike Logan thrillers… While intense action is a hallmark of Taylor's series, the well-developed characters are realistically explored… Taylor delivers a high-energy thriller in Ring of Fire."
Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Ring of Fire

“With Taylor’s latest Taskforce novel featuring Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill, he has further established himself as an elite military-thriller author. At this point, nobody is better at tackling hardcore action mixed with timely themes… Fine work from a thriller writer at the very top of his game.” 
Booklist (starred review) on Ring of Fire

“Bestseller Taylor’s 11th Pike Logan thriller serves as a chilling primer for an all-too-feasible terrorist strike… the ever-escalating chaos will leave fans breathless for the next installment.”
Publishers Weekly on Ring of Fire

“Those looking only for action-filled suspense won't be disappointed, but Taylor does expand his story with brief and intriguing discourses on the role of women in combat and whether violence is an intrinsic element of the Islamic faith. A page-turner that's enriched by the author's obvious familiarity with the intricacies of combating 21st-century terrorism.” 
Kirkus Reviews on Ring of Fire

“Brad Taylor's aptly titled Ring of Fire continues his ambitious evolution from master of the military thriller to more of an American John le Carré, with just enough Robert Ludlum sprinkled in for good measure… Ring of Fire dispenses once and for all with the notion that action and more thoughtful political thrillers are mutually exclusive, as Taylor weaves a complex, twist-laden tale that's as wondrously executed as it is beautifully conceived. Another surefire winner from a writer at the absolute top of his game.”
Providence Journal on Ring of Fire

“Taylor has become one of the very best writers of thrillers with a military and special-ops background. His consistency and his ability to mirror headline news with relevant, engrossing narratives are uncanny, and this exploration of the human side of war should quickly be recognized as one of Taylor’s best efforts. Comparisons to Vince Flynn and Brad Thor are expected and not inaccurate, but Taylor is now in a class by himself."
Booklist (starred review) on The Forgotten Soldier

“Slick, exciting action and credible complexity are the hallmarks of Taylor’s high-caliber thrillers, and this latest installment (after The Insider Threat) does not disappoint. Readers will root for the solid crew; the lightning-fast plot filled with tradecraft and intriguing politics will satisfy series fans and newcomers alike. Suggest to all fans of military thrillers and as a read-alike for Vince Flynn.”
Library Journal on The Forgotten Soldier

“Brad Taylor… takes his considerable talents to a new level with 'The Forgotten Soldier,' his latest thriller to feature Pike Logan and his stalwart Taskforce team. It’s one thing to write great action scenes, quite another to bring us into the actual mindset of the special ops world he knows so well.”
Providence Journal on The Forgotten Soldier

“Taylor delivers the latest addition to his growing body of convincing plots. As in his previous thrillers (The Insider Threat, 2015, etc.), he spins a tale that could easily have been lifted from our current sociopolitical reality… A realistic page-turner that fills a need for thrills while questioning the complicated process of statecraft.”
Kirkus Reviews on The Forgotten Soldier

“Fresh plot, great action, and Taylor clearly knows what he is writing about. . . . When it comes to tactics and hardware he is spot-on.”
Vince Flynn on All Necessary Force

“[Brad Taylor] knows how to unveil the behind-the-scenes action....[A] terrific, fast-paced read."
Associated Press on Days of Rage

“Bestseller Taylor’s fifth Pike Logan thriller takes all the energy of the previous installments and multiplies it by a force factor of 10… A great premise, nonstop action, and one of the baddest villains in the genre... make this a winner.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Polaris Protocol

"A Pike Logan thriller filled with heart-thumping action and insane heroics....A fun, satisfying adventure."
Kirkus Reviews on Days of Rage (starred review)

"Taylor continues to tell exciting action stories with the authenticity of someone who knows the world of special ops. He also has the chops to create terrific characters whom readers will root for. This series just gets better and better."
Booklist on The Polaris Protocol

"Admirers of the late Tom Clancy will enjoy this and other works in the series."
Kirkus Reviews on The Polaris Protocol

“Readers of novels set in the world of Special Forces have many choices, but Taylor is one of the best.”
Booklist on Enemy of Mine

“Satisfies from start to finish.”
Kirkus Reviews on Enemy of Mine 

Library Journal
08/01/2016
A New York Times best-selling author who served for more than 20 years in the U.S. Army, Taylor has been building his Pike Logan series since 2011. Here, hints of a terrorist plot to launch simultaneous attacks across America set Pike and his team into motion.
Kirkus Reviews
2016-12-19
An elite task force works frantically to prevent the next wave of terrorist attacks.After more than two decades in the military, including a period in the Special Forces, Taylor (Ghosts of War, 2016, etc.) returns with the latest thriller featuring Nephilim "Pike" Logan. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Dexter Trippler, the owner of a minor airplane maintenance firm, secures his first government contract by using a shell company to bribe the son of an influential Saudi financier. By the end of the day, Trippler is shocked to learn that his Saudi contact is connected to the terrorist attack. This information does not prevent Trippler from building his business and acquiring more government contracts until 15 years later when an illegal data dump (larger than WikiLeaks) threatens to connect Trippler with the Saudi financing of Islamic extremism. To prevent this exposure, Trippler enlists the help of his head of security, Johan van Rensburg, a former Special Forces operator with South Africa's Reconnaissance Commandos. A competent professional with a strict moral code, van Rensburg travels to North Africa and uncovers an international terrorist plot. Pike and his teammates from the Taskforce, an elite off-the-books paramilitary unit, also find their way to North Africa and into the midst of a Saudi-backed Moroccan terrorist cell. Those looking only for action-filled suspense won't be disappointed, but Taylor does expand his story with brief and intriguing discourses on the role of women in combat and whether violence is an intrinsic element of the Islamic faith. A page-turner that's enriched by the author's obvious familiarity with the intricacies of combating 21st-century terrorism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101984765
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/10/2017
Series:
Pike Logan Series , #11
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
241
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

Copyright © 2016 Brad Taylor

One day in September 2001

Dexter Worthington didn’t set out to murder anyone. Nobody in his position would. He was an up-and-coming small businessman, and killing another human being would definitely be counterproductive to his goals. All he was doing was trying to ensure the growth of his company.

But he killed nonetheless.

Holding the positions of president, CEO, CFO, and every other slot on the board of his firm—which is to say it was barely large enough to be called a firm—he hoped today was the day when he finally broke out. When he caught the whale of a contract that would allow him to quit groveling for scraps at the military industrial complex’s table and start throwing out scraps of his own

The owner of a small aircraft maintenance firm called Icarus Solutions—a name Dexter thought incredibly clever—he had struggled to survive for years, barely earning enough to pay the rent for his hangar at the Sarasota airport. He had lived hand to mouth for so long he was no longer sure what the opposite would be, his privileged upbringing a thing of the past. The pressure had destroyed his marriage—although that had probably been preordained with his choice of bride, who was used to the better things in life. He cursed the misfortune that arrived time and time again, convinced it wasn’t his abilities but unseen forces conspiring to drive him into the grave.

That all changed the day he met the prince.

Seven months earlier, an aircraft from Saudi Arabia had landed in Sarasota, Florida, and a pompous delegation had exited, running through a spring shower to a caravan of limousines. They’d raced out of the airport without talking to anyone, and then one of the pilots had approached his hangar. He was an Aussie or Kiwi from his accent, and Dexter could tell he was upset, even if he tried not to show it. It turned out the aircraft had a maintenance issue, and nobody within the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority was willing to help him in the timeline required. The pilot said the “prince” would be in the area for only about four hours, and he wouldn’t be pleased if his plane wasn’t airworthy when he returned.

Dexter had agreed to help, and one thing led to another, until a crown prince of the house of al-Saud was personally thanking him. The entourage then left in the same flurry in which it had arrived, and Dexter found himself standing next to the one Saudi Arabian who’d remained behind. His name was Tariq bin Abdul-Aziz, and he was the reason for the prince’s visit. The son of an incredibly influential Saudi financier, he lived in Sarasota and wanted to learn to fly.

Strangely enough, they’d bonded through that mutual love of aviation, with Tariq showing up for coffee each morning just to watch the airplanes come and go. Somewhere in the conversations, Dexter had mentioned that he had failed to secure a single government contract in the entire time he’d been in business and that Icarus Solutions was on its last legs. Tariq had smiled knowingly, explaining that Dexter didn’t understand how such things worked, and taking the time to show in detail the slimy underbelly of government deal making.

And now Dexter was committed. Driving up to the access control point for Tariq’s neighborhood, he wondered if he’d made a mistake. Didn’t matter, because it was too late to do anything about it now. He gave his name and identification to the guard manning the gate. The guard looked at it, compared it to a board in the shack, then handed him a pass. Dexter put it on the dash, then drove his Honda Civic through the gates of Tariq’s posh neighborhood, hoping the darkness would hide the dents and gouges on the Civic’s battered frame.

Ogling the ostentatious McMansions that lined the road, most garishly illuminated with lighting that should be reserved for the Vegas strip, he felt giddy and more than a little scared.

Either the prince had come through, or he hadn’t. If he had, Dexter would build a McMansion of his own, perhaps in this same neighborhood. If he hadn’t, well, Dexter was finished. His entire business—not to mention every other asset he owned—would be forfeited for the two million dollars he’d borrowed to make the “donation.”

At least he’d never have to pay another blood cent to his shrew of an ex-wife.

Small consolations.

Two blocks from Tariq bin Abdul-Aziz’s house, he unconsciously slowed, not wanting to hear the decision. Reflecting on what had brought him to this point. Without even realizing it, he drove past the house, seeing one of the four garage doors open, an SUV with the rear hatch raised in front of it, the lights on inside.

He backed up and swung into the driveway, his headlights sweeping across someone with a suitcase. He squinted and saw it was Tariq.

He parked and got out, now considerably worried. “Tariq, hey, what’s up?”

Startled, Tariq whirled around, then grinned sheepishly. “Dexter, you scared the shit out of me.” No sooner had the curse word slipped from his mouth than he was glancing around, looking for his wife.

A small man with an olive complexion and a pencil-thin black mustache, Tariq had initially surprised Dexter with his Western habits, but Dexter had learned he’d spent the majority of his life outside of Saudi Arabia, having attended boarding school in England before college in America. His wife, on the other hand, was devoutly religious and didn’t take kindly to his Western affectations.

When she didn’t appear, Tariq loaded the suitcase into the rear of the SUV. Dexter noticed it was crammed to the windows with all manner of items, increasing his alarm.

He said, “What’s all this? What’s happening?”

Tariq smiled, saying, “I received some wonderful news. I made it into a prestigious graduate program in my home country, but I have to be there the day after tomorrow. We’re flying home.”

Dexter saw Tariq’s wife coming toward them from inside the garage, carrying a baby and wearing a black abaya, her head covered in a colorful hijab.

Confused, Dexter said, “You’re all leaving? For good?”

“Yes. We have tickets for tonight, but I hope to come back in a year or two.”

“What about the house? Your cars? The furniture?”

“It’s my father’s house, actually, and he will deal with it. It’s nothing.”

Finally, Dexter asked the question that mattered the most: “What about me?”

He saw confusion flit across Tariq’s face and realized that two million dollars to this man was the same as a five-dollar bill to Dexter. Something that didn’t really matter.

Dexter said, “We had a deal, right? I created the shell company and provided the required ‘donation.’ I know it’s already been withdrawn. Don’t tell me you guys screwed me over two million dollars. It’s nothing to you, but everything to me.”

Dexter finally saw recognition. Tariq said, “Yes, yes, I’m sorry. I’ve been so preoccupied with packing I forgot.” He placed another suitcase in the back, then turned around, formally straightening up and extending his right hand. Dexter hesitantly took it, waiting.

Tariq said, “Congratulations. After fierce competition and extensive vetting, you beat out thirteen other international companies.” He winked, then said, “Based on my father’s recommendation, the royal family has selected you for the maintenance contract.”

And like that, all the fear was washed away. Once a beggar of scraps, Dexter was now a player. The owner of a multimillion-dollar contract that would guarantee his rise.

Dazed, he started to reply when Tariq said, “I’m happy for you, my friend, but we’re late for our flight. I’m sorry, but I have to go.”

He reached into the SUV and retrieved a briefcase. He pulled out a folder and said, “All of your contacts are in there. Remember, you can’t mention either my father or me. Just contact the people in there and they will do the rest.”

Dexter nodded dumbly. Tariq hugged him, kissing both of his cheeks, then climbed into the driver’s seat. He checked to ensure his wife and baby were settled, then gave Dexter a two-finger salute before driving away.

Dexter turned to watch him go, slowly winding in a circle as the car’s taillights receded around a corner. Dexter was left reflecting on his new fortune. He gripped the folder hard enough to bend it, thinking one thought: Need a new shell company.

He drove his old Civic out of the land of milk and honey, pulling out his cell phone as he did so. He clicked on the speed dial for a contact labeled chip savoy.

There was no way he would let his money-grubbing ex-wife know about his newfound largesse, and to make that happen, he needed Chip.

A fraternity brother from college, Chip had done much, much better than Dexter up until now. Currently a hedge-fund manager on Wall Street, Chip had been the one to walk him through the establishment of the shell company in the Bahamas for the Saudis, and also the one who had fronted the “donation” inside that shell company.

They had been as close as brothers in school, and whenever they were together, the income disparity between the two men disappeared. Chip treated Dexter like he always had—as his own blood—but Dexter knew that at the end of the day, money mattered. Chip was smart and had done the research on the contract. When he’d seen the companies vying for it—all of them the biggest names in the industry—he’d realized the potential for massive profits, given Dexter’s light footprint. He’d fronted Dexter the means for success because he expected a return. And Dexter had no illusions about what would have happened if it had gone south: His “brother” would have taken everything he owned.

But that was water under the proverbial bridge, because it had worked. Now all Dexter needed to do was protect his investment.

The phone rang and rang, then went to voice mail. He left a message, fantasizing about the Playboy Bunny Chip was probably sleeping with at that very moment.

He turned onto Highway 41, going home, and was hit with a logjam of cars. Traffic was always a pain, but not at nine o’clock at night. And then he remembered: The president was visiting Sarasota, doing some goodwill thing at a local elementary school the next day. He’d arrived thirty minutes ago, and his security team had jammed up every major artery.

Dexter muttered in aggravation, then settled in to wait, his twenty-minute drive to a beer now drawn out to at least an hour.

Meet the Author

BRAD TAYLOR is the author of the New York Times bestselling Pike Logan series. He served for more than twenty years in the U.S. Army, including eight years in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta, commonly known as Delta Force. He retired as a Special Forces lieutenant colonel and now lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Ring of Fire 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Kittyb1 9 hours ago
This is the best Taskforce adventure yet! I know, I say that after every one of Mr. Taylor's brilliant, breath-holding books, but this one is so intense, timely and terrifying that it will stay with you long after you read the final page.
haraldhall 4 days ago
another great story.