Garrett Kohl Book 3
William Morrow Pub
August 29th, 2023
Ricochet by Taylor Moore is an action-adventure thriller. The story is fast-paced and has non-stop action along with treachery, redemption, and family. It explores the interpersonal relationships between the characters: the father/son relationship, male/female dynamics, and learning how to handle bullies.
The plot opens with an intense scene where the main character, Garrett Kohl, hunts down a CIA traitor and brings him to justice. Now that he has paid his debt to the Agency, he thinks he can settle down on his Texas ranch with the love of his life, Lacey, and his Afghani adopted son, Asadi. Learning that Asadi is being bullied, Garett takes his fatherly role seriously and teaches him ways to defend himself.
“Kohl’s handler, Kim Manning is highly intelligent, highly motivated, and small in size but big in impact. Throughout her intelligence career she has been underestimated. She is softer than she lets on, lonely, and believes in the call to duty. Maybe she wants more from life than just the mission, a person who depends on her. I thought it was perfect to put in this book quote about her, ‘So this is the Death Star? Always wondered where Darth Vader hung her helmet when she wasn’t traveling around with her storm troopers making trouble.” She responds, “Pretty sure that if I’m Vader, you’re the Emperor.’ Star Wars is a huge influence in my life. Realistically those going into CIA Operations are said to be ‘going over to the dark side.’”
Unfortunately, Kohl is unable to just be a rancher after he is approached by an engineer, Liam, at the nearby nuclear weapons plan, Pantex. Liam is being extorted by Iranian operatives who want classified information in exchange for his father being set free from an Iranian prison. Knowing this is wrong he asks Kohl to help him get his father home safely from Iran and overtake the Iranian operatives in Texas. Kohl goes to Kim, his CIA handler, and together they devise a plan to bring the Iranians down. As the plan is unfolding, they realize that the Iranians plan on assassinating the US Secretary of Defense and to hijack a train containing five nuclear weapons.
“Here in Amarillo Texas, where I live, Pantex is a real nuclear weapons facility. It generates a lot of interest and activity within the local community. Although we have not seen any Chinese balloons flying over. LOL. For me, it was a natural place to set a domestic spy thriller. I wanted to build off what they did and do with Pantex to create a thriller story. I put in a classic tit for tat with the Iranians who wanted to get revenge for something the US did to them. Pantex is a secretive place. This is the only assembly and disassembly place in the US for nuclear weapons. They used the “White Train” until the 1980s. It had soldiers, guards, and machine guns. For me, it was a natural to bring back the White Train hauling these nuclear weapons since I write modern day westerns. If someone tried to hijack the train, what would it look like in the modern era.”
The Texas setting is also a key to the plot. It feels as if the lone-star state is its own character. Readers will be educated about this Cowboy state which is appropriate since these stories are modern day westerns with Kohl a cowboy version of James Bond.
The story has high speed chases, gun battles, flash foods, a would-be assassin, and fist fights. Yet, it also delves into how the characters interact with each other.