Back in August, I had just finished reading the latest novel in the Pike Logan thriller series, The Insider Threat, when I posted here about how it prominently featured a GEMTECH-suppressed PWS MK109 SBR in .300 BLK. In that post I also mentioned how I’ve been pre-ordering every upcoming Pike Logan book months ahead of their release dates, because I’ve enjoyed the series so much. DUTTON Books took notice, and hooked me and TTAG up in two ways. . .
TTAG got the opportunity to do a brief interview with Mr. Taylor during some downtime in his travels. The meat of it is below, and I think you’ll enjoy it. We tried to keep it mostly gun-related, of course, but I’ve become a big enough fan of this series that I definitely wanted to find out more about where it’s going.
Related to that, DUTTON had an advance reading copy of The Forgotten Soldier, which goes on sale this December 29th, in my hands in the first week of October. In addition to making me feel pretty cool, this gave me a bit of insight into Mr. Taylor’s writing abilities as this copy was actually raw text prior to hitting the copy editors to check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. You know what? Pretty freaking impressive. Especially for a knuckle dragging ex-Operator (8 years Delta Force).
If y’all are interested I’ll whip up a book review ahead of the publication date, but the short version is that it was dang hard to put down and I blazed through it in record time. The conflicting emotions as the Taskforce hunted a rogue agent of its own — a guy ostensibly doing the right thing but risking irreparable damage to the Taskforce at the same time — made it a real thriller.
Without further ado, TTAG interviews Mr. Taylor:
Have you built your GEMTECH-suppressed MK109 yet? If so, how has it been running for you?
Believe it or not, I’m still waiting on BATF approval, both for the short barreled MK109 and the GEMTECH suppressor. Just last week I was notified by the BATF that there was some issue with the Form 4 for the SBR, and my Class III guy had to resubmit. Still waiting breathlessly on the suppressor to see what goes wrong. It has been, to say the least, a long process. I just sent a deposit for a Citizen Arms build in 6.5 Creedmor, and, since there are no NFA wickets to jump through, I’ll probably get that one done before I see the PWS system. I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out Citizen, but the owner is a former operator, and really knows his stuff. When it came time to convince my wife that we needed a gun that could reach out and touch, there was no question of whom I was going to. But, a year later, it will probably overtake my GEMTECH/PWS SBR.
Note from Jeremy: the form re-submission thing isn’t actually horrible news. It means the application finally came up for review. When they receive the re-submitted form it won’t go back on top of the pile of new forms, but will get reviewed again almost immediately. It’s typically two weeks from re-submission to arrival of an approved Form 4, assuming no further issues are found.
What weapons systems did you use most often during your time with Special Forces? Was there a favorite? A least favorite?
Most often we would use the standard M4 or a variant, although with some special modifications. In between we had tons of different weapons systems for specific mission requirements, but on a routine basis it was an M4 or a variant of that system. The same is true with pistols. We shot a Caspian framed 1911 or a Glock, depending on the mission. As for a favorite, I’ve found that people tend to favor what they shoot the most, regardless of whether one platform is inherently better or not. Train a guy on an M4 and have him put thousands of rounds down range and he’s going to like that weapon better than anything else you put in his hands. This dilemma played out more on the pistol side, as we had some seriously heated debates on the 1911/Glock front. Least favorite? Without question, the Berretta M9. I despised that thing.
What was the most common weapons failure you saw in the field?
Failure to feed, by far, in both rifle and pistol, due to a multitude of different reasons.
Do you have thoughts on any limitations of Second Amendment protections, on civilian ownership of “black rifles,” standard capacity magazines, handguns, etc, on gun control efforts by politicians and pro-gun control groups?
Well, yeah. Truthfully, most of the arguments for gun control come from a core group of people trying to convince those on the fence. Unfortunately, those on the fence aren’t very familiar with guns of any sort, and so they take the arguments at face value, without looking at the facts. All the hyperventilating about so called “assault rifles” is a perfect example. The argument is that a weapon made “purely for war” has no other useful purpose than to take a life, and shouldn’t be in a civilian’s hands. Especially since “the 5.56/.223 round is so damn devastating.” On the surface, this would seem to make imminent sense, but it’s belied by the fact that every single revolution in firearms came about through military use. The secondary effect of such research and development was that it, as a tool, was also more efficient for hunting, target practice, and other lawful civilian shooting purposes.
The bolt-action deer rifle the gun control crowd would presumably allow to remain in shooters’ hands was first designed and purchased by the Prussian army in the 19th century. John Browning designed the venerable 1911 handgun for the US Army because of a weakness of the issued sidearm in combat in the Philippines. Today, it is one of the most widely replicated and used handgun designs on the competition circuit. The .30-06, one of the most widely used center-fire rifle cartridges for hunting of big game throughout the world, was invented by the military – for war. And so it is with the black rifle.
It is simply the evolution of firearms, and making a distinction as if the AR-15 is a death-dealing weapon solely useful for killing humans is ridiculous. The very attributes the Army and Marines chose in its development directly translate to every lawful endeavor that firearms are purchased for, just as evolution in racing informs the next generation of automobiles. It’s accurate, reliable, and easily modified for a host of different shooting purposes and calibers, and these advances for legitimate civilian use cannot be parsed simply because it was at one time invented for the military. I’m not even going to touch on the 5.56 arguments because they literally make my head hurt, but you get the point. When one logically explains the facts to a fence sitter it is surprising how often they appreciate it.
When does the movie come out? Please tell me that the film rights have been purchased and a script is in the works! Or, heck, a Taskforce Showtime/HBO series a la “Homeland.”
I’ve had some nibbles here and there, but so far, I’ve turned them down. Hollywood is a whole different beast, and I want to make sure I’m doing it right. Once I turn over the rights to my characters, that’s it. I’ll have very little say, so I have to be careful up front. Having said that, I’m not holding my breath. There are plenty of solid writers out there who haven’t had a movie produced, and it’s a tough business. Robert Ludlum, the writer of the Bourne series, was actually deceased before his books made it to the big screen. Because of this, I prefer to spend my time developing my writing than chasing Hollywood.
In your mind, who plays Pike in a movie adaptation? Who plays Koko? Do you picture any specific actors when you think of other characters from your novels?
I have some ideas of who would play each character, but as a rule I always keep them to myself. The reader enjoys the books, and it’s the reader’s mind that creates the world. Every reader is different, and for me – as the writer – to say who it should be would in essence be telling anyone who disagreed that they were wrong in their choice. They aren’t, and so I keep that opinion to myself.
How do you keep from becoming too formulaic? Or, is sticking to a tried-and-true formula (Clive Cussler novels always come to mind) a positive thing? Certainly, The Forgotten Soldier was a departure from previous Pike Logan novels as the Taskforce was forced to look inwards. Do you intend to continue mixing things up? Parlaying current news events into story lines?
Truthfully, this is the hardest part of writing a series. There is a fine line to walk between formulaic and stagnation. The reader wants a comfortable, recognizable world – sending Pike and Koko to the Deathstar would be a nonstarter – but the characters have to grow, and the plot lines have to be unique and separate. You can’t just change the setting and expect readers to appreciate it. For The Forgotten Soldier you hit the nail on the head. Throughout the series there has been a theme of the potential for the Taskforce to go bad, and I decided to explore that theme within the context of the morality of counterterrorism writ large. Too often, such a world is depicted as black and white, with stark good guys and Dr. Evil bad guys, when in reality it is much more complex. I decided to flesh out that complexity on the page, creating a realistic dilemma for Pike and his team.
What does the future hold for Pike Logan? Either in general and long-term, or maybe some hints or sneak peeks at what’s coming next…
Currently banging away on Book 10 – Ghosts of War – and like the question above, I decided to mix it up a little bit. I’ve moved away from Islamic terrorism and toward the fault lines of the old Iron Curtain. The stakes are a higher than previous books, and involve the potential for a large-scale confrontation between NATO and Russia.
In The Forgotten Soldier, there are a couple of instances of a suppressed Glock 27 being used. I found this curious as it’s a .40 S&W caliber pistol and there is no availability of subsonic ammunition in that caliber. As the supersonic crack made by a bullet breaking the sound barrier is actually extremely loud, it really isn’t a sensible choice for a suppressor host. At least and particularly not for any sort of clandestine or covert group or operation. For a suppressed sidearm they’d always go with a .45 ACP or a 9mm shooting subsonic ammo, so in those cases in the Glock line it would be a G30 variant or G36, or a G26 variant.
Okay, only a gun guy would catch that, and you caught me. The true story? I have my eye on a Glock 23 or Glock 27 (I think I used both in the book) and just slapped that down because it was on my mind. I have no intention to fire the weapons suppressed, so didn’t even bother to check if one could find .40 in subsonic. But your statement about the supersonic crack makes me feel a bit foolish, because before this book they always sported a Glock 36 in .45 precisely because that was a subsonic round. In fact, before the MK109 made its appearance in The Insider Threat, they used the HK UMP also chambered in .45, and I even have a paragraph in One Rough Man (the first book) describing the difference between super sonic and subsonic ammunition with respect to a suppressor – precisely like you did in your question – so the reader could understand the choice. So, to TRULY answer your question: Money is no object to the Taskforce, and they reload specially modified, match grade, subsonic .40 S&W in-house.
Haha, now that’s a good answer.