Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brad Thor

Brad Thor, Creator of Bestselling, Fantastic Antiterrorism Thrillers
by Steven Williams

A color photo of Brad Thor.Brad is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he studied creative writing under author T. C. Boyle. After graduation Brad traveled and worked in television, most notably as creator, producer, writer, and co-host of the national public television series Traveling Lite, a travel show that emphasized how to travel well on a budget.

His first novel, The Lions of Lucerne, was released in 2002 and became a New York Times runaway bestseller. He has gone on to become a very popular writer of thriller fiction. Brad's eighth book, The Last Patriot, was nominated for Best Thriller of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association. All nine of Brad's novels feature Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative, Scot Harvath.

The front cover of 'Foreign Influence' by Brad Thor.Foreign Influence (June, 2010)
Brad's ninth Scot Harvath thriller. The story begins with Harvath having lost his job with the the Apex Project, a Department of Homeland Security secret antiterrorist program. Apex has been disbanded under a new presidential administration. Harvath recovers though when he is offered a job with the Carlton Group, a covertly funded Department of Defense antiterrorist program with the same mission of the former Apex Project. The plot picks up speed when a bus full of Americans are killed by a bomb in Rome. Harvath is sent to Europe to track down the man implicated in the bombing. At the same Harvath is pursuing his man in Europe, a Chicago cop who moonlights as an attorney, is trying to find a Middle Eastern–looking man who ran down a woman with his cab. This leads to his discovery of a plot against civilian targets in Chicago. The plot thickens when the events behind the bombing in Rome and the hit-and-run in Chicago come together.

The front cover of 'The Apostle' by Brad Thor.The Apostle (2009)
At the start of Thor's eighth Scot Harvath thriller a new and relatively naïve president has just taken office after a landslide victory. This success has been due mainly to the assistance of a gifted media consultant. When the media consultant's daughter, a doctor who has been working in Afghanistan, is kidnapped, he comes to the new president for help. Harvath, the former Navy SEAL and counterterrorist operative working in the the Apex Project. The kidnappers have demanded that one of Osama bin Laden's lieutenants be released in exchange for the doctor. For political reasons, the new president cannot be seen to be negotiating with terrorist. Because of the need to maintain this public distance by the administration, Harvath has to complete this tricky assignment without any official sanction or even acknowledgment. Meanwhile a Secret Service agent has overheard a fragment of conversation that seems to imply that the media consultant may have information that allows him to apply pressure on the new president. Because of this, the agent launches an off-the-books inquiry into the pre-election accidental death of an attractive aide to the new president.

The front cover of 'The Last Patriot' by Brad Thor.The Last Patriot (2008)
Thor's seventh thriller featuring former Navy SEAL Scot Horvath begins with Horvath having left the Homeland Security Apex counterterrorism program. He wants another life far away from the world of mass murdering terrorists driven by religious fanaticism. Besides his desire for a more normal life Hogarth feels that he is getting a little too old for this type of work. This and the fact that his girlfriend, a former Naval Explosive Ordinance Technician lost an eye and almost lost her life because of an assassin's attack. This couple, now retired, are talking at a Paris café when Horvath spots an Arab setting off an IED. The intended victim of the attack is a US college professor who turns out to be a lot more than just a highly regarded historian. The couple's unofficial investsigation leads to their discovery of a seventh century version of the Koran containing one final devine revelation by the Prophet Mohammed. If this version of the Koran is disseminated then most of the support that jihadist terrorists receive would end almost immediately. Because of this powerful forces are arrayed against the exposure of this early Koran and its additional devine revelation. As the couple dig futher into the mystery and Muslim extremists work to stop them, Horvath and and his former boss are forced by events to end their estrangement caused by the incidents in portrayed in Thor's previous book, 'The First Commandment.

The front cover of 'The First Commandment' by Brad Thor.The First Commandment (2007)
Brad Thor's sixth thriller begins with his recurring charaqcter, ex-Navy SEAL turned counterterrorism agent Scot Harvath, standing vigil at the hospital bedside of his girlfriend. She is in a deep coma after having been badly wounded at the end of Thor's previous novel, 'Takedown'. In the meantime the work of counterterrorism heats up again when five known terrorists are released from the Guantánamo Bay prison. This has been part of a secret hostage deal that the President feels he has no other choice than to go along with. One of the recently freed terrorists then begins targeting Harvath's friends and family. When he begins digging into the attacks, Harvath finds out about the prisoner release and that the President will also not allow the killer to be hunted down. The result is that Harvath ends up being pursued by his own government at the same time that he is trying to track down this killer.

The front cover of 'Takedown' by Brad Thor.Takedown (2006)
This fifth Scot Harvath thriller begins with Harvath abducting an Algerian bomb-maker out of Montreal while another counterterrorism team is in Somalia capturing the head of al-Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction committee. The al-Qaeda detainee is sequestered in a secret facility in New York City. An Al-Qaeda operative with support from by a three-foot-tall freelance intelligence agent known as "the Troll," goes to New York to rescue the al-Qaeda detainee. The al-Qaeda rescue attempt wrecks major damage on the city and in the process the President's daughter is seriously injured and thousands of civilians are killed. Harvath and his team find themselves chasing a attacker through the devastated streets and subways. Back in Washington the President is badgered by cowardly bureaucrats. Typical of Thor's thrillers, the action is fast paced, the technology sophisticated and intricately described, and Harvath saves the day.

The front cover of 'Blowback' by Brad Thor.Blowback (2005)
In Thor's fourth Scot Harvath thriller, a mysterious new weapon threatens to tip the balance against American and Allied forces stationed in the Middle East. In desperation the President is forced to call for help from Harvath who has just recently been fired from his job as a covert Homeland Security operative. Harvath had been caught live on Al Jazeera news while involved in an off-the-books antiterrorism operation. A senator with presidential aspirations has used this to force the President to discard and publicly discredit Harvath. Setting off on this new mission while ducking a congressional subpoena, Harvath travels to Cyprus. There he uncovers details about the new weapon, known as The Sword of Allah. It turns out that terrorists have a plan to use it to push all Westerners out of Muslim countries. As Harvath pursues his leads, he discovers that the threat is even greater than he initially thought. The threat turns out to be to the United States itself, not just its forces in the Middle East. This novel is typical of Thor's thrillers with its quick pacing, high-voltage action, international settings, and sophisiticated military technology.

The front cover of 'State of the Union' by Brad Thor.State of the Union (2004)
Thor's third Scot Harvath antiterrorism thriller has Harvath living up to his previously established almost superhuman abilities and fantastic luck as a former SEAL, former Secret Service agent and special agent with the Office of International Investigative Assistance. In this story Thor uses Russia as the source of post-Cold War danger in the form of nineteen suitcase atomic bombs hidden in various locations around the US twenty years earlier by Soviet agents. The New Russians use their leverage based on this existing resource in order to order the US President to withdraw America into a forced new international isolationism. The Russians do this by holding out the threat of using sleeper agents to trigger the hidden bombs in order to force such an almost unthinkable change on America. Harvath is given the job of thwarting this plan but he has only has seven days. Thor provides Harvath with the assistance of previously introduced characters, various elite military and other government agencies. Using a variety of incredible and technically advanced tools, they set out to avert disaster. As the deadline approaches, Harvath finds himself hopscotching around the world in a rapid-fire pursuit of leads.

title=Path of the Assassin (2003)
Brad's second novel is, if anything, even more packeed with action than his first. Brad's recurring character, Secret Service agent Scot Harvath, finds himself battling both religious extremists and incompetent CIA agents in an effort to avert World War III. The key player among the villains is The Hand of God, which superficially appears to be a Israeli terrorist group. This group has begun blowing up mosques in Saudi Arabia, assassinating Arab leaders and hijacking airplanes of Arab airlines. It soon becomes clear that these actions are all part of a deliberate attempt to provoke the Arab countries to form a united front and declare war on Israel. Scott sets out to attempt to disrupt the plot. He is also pursuing a hidden agenda to avenge the killings of some of his friends and fellow agents portrayed in 'The Lions of Lucerne'. Scott finds an ally in Meg Cassidy, a beautiful Chicago public relations expert, who is the only one alive who can identify the leader of the Israeli terrorist group. Scott sets out in a round-the-world pursuit of two men, the terrorist leader and a mysterious assassin determined to stop Scott and kill Meg. The novel is full of action colored with a little romance and the depiction of unusual turf battles between the CIA, FBI, Delta Force, and Scott. Scott's professionalism and insightful interpretation of events and the course of action he needs him to take allow him to overcome some vicious and very dangerous villains.

The front cover of 'The Lions of Lucerne' by Brad Thor.The Lions of Lucerne (2002)
This is Brad's first novel and it is here that he introduces his main recurring character, Scot Harvath. The novel begins on some ski slopes near Park City, Utah. Scott is Secret Service Agent and because of him terrorists have just killed thirty agents and kidnapped the President while he was skiing. Though Hogarth is disgraced, he goes ahead and picks up the threads of the case while the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA and the suspiciously inept and indecisive vice-president fumble around in shock. Scott sets out on the trail left from a few flimsy leads and begins what becomes a one-man mission to find and rescue the President. In the mean time, the terrorists publish a public demand for half a billion dollars in ransom while privately also insisting that an anti-fossil fuel making its way through the Congress be immediately stopped. When the government hesitates to meet these demands, one of the President's fingers is sent to the White House as proof of how serious these demands are. Scott has made it to Switzerland by this time. He has gone to Europe in pursuit of a lead about a cell of mercenaries located there calling themselves the Lions of Lucerne. Scott grinds away at the case revealing his characteristic traits in Brad's series, strong determination and a knack for evading assassination attempts. There is a final showdown at the terrorists' lair camouflaged high up under the ice of a frozen mountain in the Alps.

Newer Article: Don Winslow, Gripping Thrillers and Good Writing
Older Article: Mincemeat Recipes and Mincemeat History

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