Friday, November 25, 2011


First of all, if you don't know what a mensch is, look it up.  It's a very cool word.

Brad Taylor's first novel (the second one, with the same protagonist, is coming out January 17), One Rough Man, is a very good special forces-inspired book.  Pike Logan (how great a name is that?) works for Taskforce, which is a military unit that goes beyond the Seals, Delta Force, etc.  Taskforce is given assignments that usually take as long as a year to complete.  The end result is that a bad guy bites the dust.  This organization is so secret, that there is no government record of its existence.  I know, I know.  So far, it sounds fairly mundane and ho hum.  But there is quite a twist to it.  Pike loses his wife and daughter to an act of violence.  8 months later, he's basically removed himself from society and is still wallowing (understandably!) in self-pity.  He is brought back to the real world by a young woman, Jennifer Cahill, in her '20's (he, himself, is only in his '30's) whose uncle has been looking for a Mayan temple in South America.  There is a terrorist plot that these 2 unlikely partners have to stop.  The combination of Pike's tragedy, Jennifer's uncle's quest, and a globe-trotting chase, with a hugely dangerous terrorist plot on American soil as the backdrop, lends itself to a very exciting book.  Brad is a good storyteller.

Brad's own background includes a couple of decades of being in special forces.  He seems to know what he's talking about, although my own military experience of 6 years in the Army Reserve would not help me understand whether he's legit or not.  I just assume he is.  I assure you that I learned nothing about Special forces, or even the military, from my 6 years.  In fact, all I remember is that I deliberately flunked a dental lab exam so that I wouldn't have to spend extra weeks on active duty (in the late '60's, early '70's).  Every time they asked to have the plaster of paris squared off, I rounded it.  When they asked for 1 1/8" long, I made it 3".  It worked.  I only had one extra week before I went back to my regular training as a medic (my mother-in-law was so proud - her son-in-law, the medic).

Now you may wonder why I called Brad a mensch.  Well I'm going to tell you.  After my buddy Jack gave me the book, I read about 150 pages and was really enjoying it.  So, kiss-up that I am, I emailed Brad, gave him my book blog background, told him how many books a year I read (I know, this is gag-worthy), and asked if he was doing a Northern California tour.  He answered within 2 hours to comment on my comments and to explain that he's not doing a Northern California tour with book #2.  Hopefully, we'll see him for book #3.

Now if that had been the extent of it, I would have been pretty pleased.  As it turns out, it was only the beginning.  When I finished the book, I emailed him again (my new best friend, Brad) and told him how much I enjoyed the book.  I also asked him about 1 plot point that I was confused about.  I said that it was very likely me and not him, but did he mind explaining it to me.  Okay, here's the mensch-y part.  He emailed back (again, within 2 hours) and gave me a detailed explanation that cleared it up for me.  After seeing his answer, more than ever I saw it was my reading and not his writing that was the problem.  In several more email exchanges, he wouldn't let me take the blame - ergo, a mensch.  I write to quite a few authors for one reason or another (remember I said I'm a kiss-up?).  Many will respond, but only 1 other author, John Lescroart, actually took pains to get me the answers that I was looking for.

Brad, you have found a lifelong, loyal, book-recommending fan in me.  Can't wait for book #2.

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