Brad Taylor writes one book every six months. Yep, you read that right, and we imagine you're as impressed as we are.
"There's no trick," says Taylor, when we ask him about his ability to crank out books at such a rapid pace. Taylor has said before that he has no formal writing training, and that a freelance editor, Caroline Upcher, was "brutal" on his first manuscript.
Taylor's first book, One Rough Man, debuted in February 2011, hitting No. 24 on The New York Times best-seller list just a month later. The book tells the story of Pike Logan, the most successful operator on the Taskforce, a secret special forces group commissioned at the highest level of the U.S. government, under the leadership of fictional president Peyton Warren. After so much success with his first novel, Taylor settled comfortably into the Pike Logan series, writing, as he tells it, two books a year.
The series covers every international threat you can dream up. Terrorism? Of course. Biochemical warfare? Yep. Weapons of mass destruction and hostage situations? Checkity, check check. After 10 books, Taylor still hasn't run out of material, which is great for him, and terrible for the reality of international affairs.
A 21-year vet of the U.S. Army — he spent eight years with Delta Force, an army unit used for hostage resuce and counterterrorism — Taylor has a seemingly endless catalogue of knowledge about international situations and current affairs. And while Taylor never tries to predict what's going to happen on the international stage, he did reference Boko Haram, an extreme Islamic sect in Nigeria, in Days of Rage, published in 2014. The book came out just months after the group kidnapped 276 school girls in Northeastern Nigeria, meaning that Taylor wrote the storyline before the kidnapping even occurred.
"I have a lot of info in the world that [people in the U.S.] don't," he explains. A sometimes security consultant for various agencies, Taylor has his finger on the pulse of current events. And while he insists that his books are apolitical novels meant solely for the purpose of fun reading, one can't help but learn something from the series.
Ghosts of War follows Logan and his partner Jennifer Cahill as they travel to Poland, where they've been hired to verify artifacts hidden in a fabled Nazi gold train. Things get complicated, of course, and the two find themselves amid growing tensions between Russia and NATO. As he did with Boko Haram, Taylor seems to have predicted rising tensions between Russia and NATO.
NATO recently met, on June 14, to discuss Russia's repeated violations of a ceasefire in Ukraine. Taylor proves, again and again, that life imitates art.
"The theme for each book is that of the greater good," says Taylor. "Everything we do in international security has implications." He uses an example — would you change your mind about waterboarding if a terrorist were sitting in Charleston with knowledge of the city's impending doom? — to prove how difficult military decisions can be. But despite the aggressively realistic nature of the series, Taylor reiterates that his books aren't political.
"Through every book I've never said what party President Warren is a member of," says Taylor of the series' current preisdent, who is preparing to leave office in Ghosts of War. "There's no slant."
Political or not, Taylor's books are undoubtedly fascinating — for their attention to detail alone. He spends a lot of time researching every place he writes about, visiting many locations so that he can write as close to the truth as possible. And one of Taylor's favorite locations happens to be The Windjammer — where Logan and Cahill first met in One Rough Man. It's where they end up in Ghosts of War, too. After a tough mission Logan only has one place on his mind: "Sounds good, sir. I'll be at The Windjammer on the Isle of Palms. You just tell me when."