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Dead Man's Hand

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Member Reviews

This was a great book. I loved every paragraph, every sentence and every word of this masterpiece! I read it in 12 hours, which is a lot for me to do! It had everything and more laid out in the novel! I sure hope There is more to come from this author! I am totally hooked!

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Published by William Morrow on January 23, 2024

There’s a sameness to recent Pike Logan novels. It’s not uncommon for a thriller series to lose its freshness as the years pass. Pike Logan is almost a caricature of himself in Dead Man’s Hand. Fortunately, while the action scenes are nothing special, they are plentiful, so the novel will provide a quick fix for vicarious adrenalin junkies who enjoy tough guy novels.

Pike leads a team of tough guys (and his wife) on missions for a Taskforce that was set up to implement quick-strike reactions when there isn’t time to get (or the likelihood of obtaining) the congressional approval required by law. The Taskforce operates on the theory that political oversight just gets in the way of killing people who need to die quickly.

Over the course of the series, a formula has emerged. Pike is ordered to do something. He doesn’t like the order but he follows it until he doesn’t. Then Pike is ordered not to do something. Pike does it anyway because his gut tells him it’s the right thing to do, particularly if he decides that it is important to complete the mission that he didn’t want. Bad guys are killed, the world is saved, and everyone is happy until it all happens again in the next novel.

The bad guys in Dead Man’s Hand are Russians. A group of Ukrainians, unaffiliated with the Ukraine government, joins with a dissident team of Russian GRU operatives in a plot to assassinate Putin. More power to them, I say, except there’s a hitch. Putin, egomaniacal mad dictator that he is, has handed out launch codes to four trusted people with instructions to annihilate the world if he dies. This assures the mutual destruction of those who oppose Putin and everyone else in the world.

Putin is aware that rogue members of the GRU want to kill him but doesn’t know the details. Russians loyal to Putin (or so he believes) are sent to mop up the rogue Russians, which also pits them against the Ukrainians who are in league with the disloyal GRU spies.

The initial plan to kill Putin is a bit vague. At its inception, it might involve a remote-operated machine gun or drones. The weapons will likely be acquired from Israel. The connection to Israel allows Pike to bring Shoshana into the story. Shoshana is a crazy ex-Mossad agent who has worked with Pike and Jennifer in the past. Everyone is afraid of Shoshana, in part because she is likely to kill people if she doesn’t like the color of their aura.

The story is just what a series fan will expect, in part because the fan will have read it over and over. Pike’s team chases Russians and Ukrainians, not quite knowing who the bad guys are. Pike’s team defends itself against Russians and Ukrainians who shoot at them until they figure out who the good guys are. More shootouts ensue until they save the world. Along the way, Pike argues with everyone and does what he wants, although he occasionally admits that he might be wrong and revises “what he wants” accordingly.

Like many tough guys, Pike is always angry. Like many tough guys, Pike’s first instinct is to punch the person who happens to be triggering his anger. Like many tough guys, Pike doesn’t like to be told what to do, which makes one wonder why Pike joined the military before abandoning military life for Taskforce life. Pike wants to do “what’s right,” provided he is the determiner of right and wrong. In that regard, the only interesting aspect of Dead Man’s Hand is the conflict between Pike’s desire to help Ukraine defend itself from Putin and his desire not to allow the Ukrainians and rogue Russians to start a nuclear war.

Pike is aggravated throughout the novel because he’s reasonably been told that his masters want to know what’s happening and he should refrain from killing anyone until the repercussions of his actions can be understood. He can’t deal with the mission because he’s not allowed to be an action hero. Okay, that’s not anything that Brad Taylor says, but that’s what I read into Pike’s oft-stated grumbles about bureaucrats who haven’t ever killed anyone.

Pike has become a tedious character who is defined by his anger and arrogance more than any other characteristic. Back when Pike was developing a relationship with Jennifer, her ability to calm him (her feminine willingness to see other perspectives balancing his rage-fueled masculine need to dominate) was cheesy but at least worked as a means of character development. Now it’s just another cliché in a series that no longer has the power to surprise.

Still, Taylor always writes fast-moving action scenes. The story is predictable and the novel loses its energy before it reaches an underwhelming climax, but I’m recommending it to readers who enjoy tough guy action for its own sake. If you’ve read some Pike Logan novels (I’m a fan of the early ones) and are looking for something different than those you’ve already read, this one isn’t for you.


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In Dead Man's Hand, Pike Logan and the Taskforce team face off against Russia, Putin and upper management in Brad Taylor's newest. Putin catches wind of an assassination plot and gives his most trusted advisors a remote they must use if Putin is threatened. This remote launches every nuclear missile they have. Seems reasonable. He also wants to assassinate a U.N. official as an appetizer. This freaks upper management (the president) out and Pike's team is tasked to gather intelligence which they are not equipped to do and could jeopardize their cover/mandate. Not only does Pike have to stop an assassination and Putin from killing everyone, his boss sucks.

The things which makes Taylor's books so good are the characters and the dynamic between them . The characters are all fantastic especially Shoshana. Maybe my favorite secondary character in all of fiction.. Everything Taylor writes has an air of authenticity which is lacking in many thrillers. None of it feels fake or contrived. Well-researched. Taylor knows his stuff and it sings off the page.

Dead Man's Hand as well as the entire Pike Logan series should not be missed and I can't recommend them enough!

Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Dead Man's Hand.

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It's surprising that this is the first book I've read by this author. Pike Logan is just what I look for in a main character - alpha male, follows orders but knows when to go rogue, has a loyal team, and so much more. While current events are an influence in the storyline, they are in the periphery. This story will keep you on the edge of your seat as the team pivots when new information comes to light, uncertainty as to who is the "bad" guy, and political cya. I loved the interplay among the team members and the respect that Pike has earned based on his past missions. You'll definitely want to read this timely story.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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It was fast and fun. One of the things I appreciate most about Brads writing is his ability to paint depth to characters quickly and concisely in a few pages while continuing to do so throughout the series as well. It makes the story so much easier visualize and way more fun to experience. Well done. Another fantastic edition to the Pike Logan story. Thank you Brad for continuing to write and giving us great stories to read.

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Very thrilling novel by Brad Taylor. I found myself hooked in right away and even with this being my first
Pike Logan novel, I felt like I had been reading these all along. I look forward to diving into the previous books in this series as I just finished this book.

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Nuclear bombs…check

Another thrilling and action packed Pike adventure. A page turning thriller seen from several points of view. This one reads like a best action movie you will see all year. Twists and turns behind every page keep the reader engaged and glued to the chair.
It’s another Brad classic that readers will love.

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As usual, this was a good read. I found it a little confusing at the beginning, which might be due to the fact that as an advanced copy, there didn't appear to be the breaks when switching from one focus group to another (the heroes, the villians). As expected, at the end of the book, it all came together in a cohesive manner.

This is the first book I can recall, where the oversight was different which really did mix things up. You could sense the utter Pike's utter frustration. However, no matter what, he will always do the right thing.

I noticed several typos in the use of verb (wanting should be wanted, made should be making) that I can only presume will be corrected with the final edits (it certainly did not distract from the story).

As always, I look forward to the next "installment".

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Pike Logan is back! Very topical story line involving the Ukraine invasion by Russia and how it affected people on all sides. There seems to be traitor, but where are they? If you enjoy this series, you will thoroughly enjoy this complicated journey.yet you don’t need to have read this series, it just makes you understand the characters a little more.

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Brad Taylor's streak continues! This may be my favorite Pike Logan adventure. I was hooked within the first 3 chapters. Timely, practical, thought-provoking; this one has it all. Combined with the ever-present action every Pike Logan thriller contains, DEAD MAN'S HEAD is an absolute winner!

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The team is training and gets pulled out for a mission. But is it really a mission? They travel to Europe and try to figure out who they’re following, why they’re following and what these people are doing. A very interesting storyline and after the book ended the author’s shared his thoughts and ideas from writing the book.

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A group of Ukrainian soldiers known as the Wolves have a secret plot to kill Putin. Putin is aware of the threat and sends an assassination crew to stop them. Pike is sent in to find out who the Russians are targeting and becomes embroiled in a situation beyond his control, with no mission directions to follow. This is a book that is tied to today’s events. The action jumps off the page and leads to an unexpected conclusion. Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy.

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Vladimir Putin has enemies in high places- in his own cabinet. He is paranoid of his own people and party who he believes will plot a coup or assignation attempt. Of course, he also has enemies among the Ukrainian people. A cell of Ukrainians called the Wolves join forces with a sect of Russian GRU agents to do just as Putin fears- assassinate him.

To thwart an assignation, Putin has four loyalists with devices from which they would immediately initiate a nuclear strike in the event of his death. This device is called the dead man’s hand. Putin assigns a strike team to locate and eliminate the Ukrainians who want to kill him and destroy his power plays in the Ukraine.
The Wolves don’t know about this device. The wolves don’t know that a Russian strike team are hot on their tail, looking to take them out before they can complete their mission. The wolves don’t know about the device that will initiate a nuclear strike should the assassination attempt succeed.
Pike Logan and his Taskforce team come into the mix to thwart the Wolves from succeeding, as the dead man’s hand has world wide deadly consequences. Pike’s team are tasked with tracking the Wolves and rogue Russian team to stop the madness of Putin’s plan.

Dead Man’s Hand and leads to an explosive conclusion. Enthralling as well as timely plot. Pacing a bit slow at first. There was way too much time spent detailing practicing high diving jumps. It was not germane to the story and took away from the story getting started. Readers who enjoy the complexities of Pike’s missions will enjoy this one!

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review the ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I have read all of the Task Force books and this one may be the best yet. Incredibly topical in today’s day and age, Full of action with Pike’s patented humor. Perfectly paced, always wanting to know what happens in the next chapter. Well done and keep these coming!

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An intricate game of cat and mouse with WWIII hanging in the balance, Dead Man’s Hand is a scary “ripped from the headlines” story that feels all too plausible. Brad Taylor has outdone himself with this cracking thriller. Let’s just pray he isn’t predicting future events.

The war between Ukraine and Russia rages on, and a cell of Ukrainians known as the Wolves hook up with a rogue sect of Russia GRU agents to put in motion a plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin. But Putin is paranoid and has four loyalists with devices from which they would immediately initiate a nuclear strike in the event of his death, believing this will keep him safe from a coup or assassination attempt. But the Wolves don’t know about this. They also don’t know that a Russian strike team are hot on their tail, looking to take them out before they can complete their mission. And neither the Ukrainians or the Russians know that Pike Logan and his Taskforce team are tracking them, trying to ascertain what is going on and determine the best possible outcome from this madness. But even when they make that call, it might be too late to stop the world from devolving into chaos.

This is Pike like we haven’t seen before. Sent on an ambiguous mission that is outside the Taskforce’s charter, he spends more time pushing back than ever before. But while the direction from above may be frustrating and uninspiring, Pike is a professional who does the right thing even if he doesn’t exactly follow orders. So when things go kinetic, as usual he’s in the right place at the right time and can respond the only way he knows how. By taking the fight to the bad guys. And with his Taskforce team by his side, accompanied by a fan favorite character that shows up out of the blue, Pike is primed to do whatever is necessary to complete the mission.

But there is added complexity in this one that you could call a moral quandary. If you know a world leader is the target of an assassination attempt, are you obligated to tell them? Even if it’s your enemy? Are you an accomplice if you stay silent? How do you know the assassination won’t lead to someone worse taking their place? Tough questions with no easy answers. But the concept is explored in Dead Man’s Hand and leads to an explosive conclusion. One that also shows Pike’s humanity and proves that war is hell.

Gripping, volatile and intriguing, Dead Man’s Hand is an irresistible and fascinating “what-if” grounded in current events. An unforgettable tale that thriller fans will devour.

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