cover image The Devil’s Ransom: A Pike Logan Novel

The Devil’s Ransom: A Pike Logan Novel

Brad Taylor. Morrow, $28.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-322198-7

The extraction of Ahmad Khan, an Afghan government official trying to flee Kabul before the Taliban takes control in August 2021, kicks off bestseller Taylor’s overbusy 17th Pike Logan novel (after 2021’s End of Days). This rescue mission draws special operative Pike of Taskforce into the search for the Bactrian Treasure, a priceless trunk of valuables that Khan managed to steal before his escape. Meanwhile, a hacker dubbed Dark Star breaks into the most secret layers of U.S. government computer operations and demands a ransom. Logan’s boss orders Taskforce to take down Dark Star’s point man, computer genius Dylan Hobbes, a former NSA coder who appears to be operating out of Croatia. No sooner does Logan close in on Dark Star than Hobbes ups the ante by hacking into NASA’s computer system and programming a space tourism rocket that just blasted off, with several influential Americans aboard, to crash into the International Space Station. Taylor’s fans have become used to the series’ peripatetic lines of action, but even diehards may be pressed to follow a plot that often fails to digest one story development before the next one is off and running. Taylor has done better. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency. (Jan.)