Thriller writer Brad Taylor draws on his own special operations experience in the Mideast for his Pike Logan novels.
Brad Taylor has only been writing for four years, but he’s already about to publish his sixth novel. When “Days of Rage” comes out this week, Taylor will be in Minneapolis to launch the book at Once Upon a Crime bookstore.
Frequently compared to Tom Clancy and the late Vince Flynn, Taylor writes military thrillers — all national bestsellers, so far — drawing on his 21 years in the U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces. He conducted operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and still serves as a security consultant. His protagonist, Pike Logan, heads up a top-secret military task force that travels the world foiling terrorists.
Taylor talked about humanizing bad guys, the origin of Pike Logan, and Taylor’s eerie prescience in writing about Boko Haram.
Q: How did your time in the military inform your writing?
A: Beyond description. As they say, you write what you know. I don’t use any real-world operations in my books — I’m not cloaking fact in fiction — but I can’t possibly write about such things without my experiences coming into play.
Q: How much — if at all — is Pike Logan based on you?
A: Pike Logan is an amalgamation of men I have served with, but he’s definitely not me. It is very, very hard to get to the level I did in special operations. But even that level has separation. Probably only 1 percent of the entire world could play golf on the PGA tour. Most people have never heard of the guy who’s 100th on the money list, but they’ve all heard of Tiger Woods.
I’m 100th on the money list. Pike Logan is Tiger Woods.
Q: What about the other characters — where do they spring from?
A: I suppose they come from my everyday life. We’ve all met a multitude of people, from the lady at the DMV who aggravated us to the guy at the grocery store who went out of his way to help, and all I do is take a look at that human experience.
I’ve had the fortune — or misfortune — of meeting the enemy I’m writing about up close and personal, so I have a little bit of insight into his head, and the key thing I took away from my time in the arena was that while they are doing evil things, they are human.
Q: Which authors have inspired you?
A: If you mean who’s influenced my writing, it would be guys who write murder mysteries. I don’t read a lot in my own genre, and have always read crime thrillers. John Sandford, John Lescroart, Joseph Finder, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly. Guys like that.