THE WIDOW’S STRIKE. By Brad Taylor. Dutton. 386 pages. $26.95.
Let’s just say up front that, despite the fact that Brad Taylor hails from Charleston and his two leading characters live here, the Holy City makes no more than a cameo appearance in “The Widow’s Strike.”
But give the home boy some cred. This is a legit page-turner of an action thriller.
It opens with a cleverly decoyed prison break in Thailand and finishes racing in desperate pursuit of a suicide terrorist determined to loose a deadly epidemic virus on a crowded Caribbean cruise ship, from which it could spread to infect millions.
The heroes are your necessarily manly Special Forces veteran and his pretty-significant-in-her-own-right Significant Other.
So Taylor has more than enough mice churning to make this wheel spin:
“I ran as fast as I could, closing the distance in seconds. I slammed into the grotto, leaping straight down from the top of the stairs, and found the team split between a dead Arab and Blood getting first aid.”
The hero is Pike Logan, an Army Special Forces veteran leading a team for Taskforce, a shadowy, not-quite-so-legal government counter-terrorism unit. Taylor himself is a 21-year Army Special Forces veteran, a retired lieutenant colonel who was part of Delta Force, an elite Army unit specializing in counter-terrorism. So, oh yes, you see where this thread is going.
“The plan was to ex-fil through the roof, monkey-crawling across a rope and into the hotel room adjacent to the building. We figured the roof access would be alarmed but didn’t mind that, because we’d be out and across before anyone reached it to explore.”
Sure, there’s not much Charleston heart and soul to “The Widow’s Strike.” The heroes might just as well have been based in Cleveland, though they are introduced to the reader during the Cooper River Bridge Run.
But this yarn reels across the globe at a good clip. Taylor, the vet, knows his stuff, and the action is packed with sly ops techniques. No particular wonder he is a New York Times best-selling author.
Reviewer Bo Petersen is a reporter at The Post and Courier.