Isolated incidents? Or links in a chain of events hurtling towards catastrophe? So begins Assassin, the tour de force thriller that heralds the return of every terrorist's worst nightmare: Alex Hawke.
A shadowy figure known as the Dog is believed to be the ruthless terrorist who is systematically and savagely assassinating American diplomats and their families around the globe. As the deadly toll mounts inexorably, Hawke, along with former NYPD cop and Navy SEAL Stokely Jones, is called upon by the U.S. government to launch a search for the assassin behind the murders.
Hawke, who "makes James Bond look like a "slovenly, dull-witted clockpuncher" (Kirkus Reviews), is soon following a trail that leads back to London in the go-go 90s, when Arab oil money fueled lavish, and sometimes fiendish, lifestyles. Other murky clues point to the Florida Keys, where a vicious killer hides behind the gates of a fabled museum, and to a remote Indonesian island where a madman tinkers with strains of a deadly virus and slyly bides his time.
Hawke must call upon resources deep within himself. He must enter a race against time to stop a cataclysmic attack on America's most populous cities and avenge the inexplicable and horrific crime that has left him devastated.
Take another thrill ride with Alex Hawke.
©2004 Theodore A. Bell; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Assassin is the most highly imaginative thriller to come along in a long while. Ted Bell can really, really write." (James Patterson)
"Whether the novel is taken as a grown-up boy's book or a modern thriller, readers will be caught in the whirlwind of action and find themselves having a grand old time." (Publishers Weekly)
"Like Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, this series is a mix of over-the-top thrills and grounded characterizations. The mix is well served by Shea's efforts." (AudioFile)
This was my first experience with this writer and narrator. The writing is enthralling and entertaining. The flow feels like one of the great older James Bond movies... Sean Connery of course. The characters are a little clich? but this actually works as positive instead of a negative. There are a few unneeded twists and turns and maybe a few unnecessary characters but the overall strength of the writing makes it all worth while. You will laugh out loud, get mad at the bad guys and cheer for the heroes.
The narrator instantly became one of my favorites. His deft handling of so many different accents is something I'll look forward to every time I listen to him in the future. You will also find that he had an interesting tendency to maintain the characters speaking voice after the quotation marks ended. I think it added to the performance. It created a kind of faux first person perspective. I will be downloading other works by both this writer and narrator. Count on it.
If you enjoyed Vince Flynn and Nelson DeMille... Don't listen to this book. It's not even close to the same level of craft work as those authors. Ted Bell is technically sound. He writes very well. If only the actual plot and characters held your attention for more than 20 seconds.
The story jumps from one only-vaguely-interesting scene to another, rarely with any sort of gratifying payoff. The action scenes, whenever they finally came, were amusing enough. Hardly a complete book by any means: lacking in character, narrative, intrigue, development...
And I'm sorry, but I don't even like the main character. The review mentions that Alex Hawke makes Bond look like a "slovenly, dull-witted clockpuncher". I couldn't disagree more. He's got all the sharp wit of a wet noodle. I found the main character a pedantic, pretentious, pompous pretender.
The only character I actually liked was Stokley Jones.
I will start by giving narrator John Shea kudos - he is the only enjoyable part of this waste of a legacy credit. I will look for more John Shea reading other authors.
Alex Hawke - think Doc Savage without the bronze and excitement. His eclectic "inner circle" is composed of the most banal and stereotypical sidekicks. Hawke appears to be "dear old friends" with every leader and major figure in the free world. Bell kills off Hawke's wife as the book begins but, fear not, the book ends with Hawke shacking up with his old lover, the U.S. Secretary of State!
His yacht is a warship, he defeats sumos bare-handed and he has lots and lots of money. The story is a pile-on of every hackneyed cliche you ever read in an adventure novel. All at a pace to put you to sleep. Nighty-night!
Ear candy with a cookie cutter plot. The narrator was very good with multiple character voices but has the distinction of creating THE MOST ANNOYING voice I have ever heard in Dr. Sung. Hawke was a cartoon hero fighting a cartoon villian. There were several factual errors (the US Navy does not fly F-117 fighters, USAF only) but the plot had no suspense for me. Glad it was on sale.
I didnt finish it... some where in part 1 I gave up, which is unusual for me. Truth be told I cant even remember anything of this book. Perhaps I will give it another listen at some time in the future but as of now it was not worth my time nor money.
The Alex Hawke books have become some of my favorites. Another great job by John Shea. If you are a James Bond fan you should really like the series. I wish I could find the first book, "Hawke", but it is only available as unabridged, which would be a waste. "Assassin" is the 2nd book and you get to see characters evolve as you go through Pirate and SPY. They are supposed to be making a movie out of one of these, check out the Ted Bell website. This book is worth the read just for Stokley Jones, but there is so much more. Get this book, you won't be sorry.
This is an exciting listen! Lots of action and intrigue. John Shea is a reader beyond belief! I would have sworn I was listening to multiple readers, since the accents and the difference in characters is amazing! I will listen to anything he reads! Fun listen!
Three stars is probably a little generous for this book. It should probably be about 2 and a half. I kept asking myself, "Why are you listening to this?" There must be at least two good reasons. 1. It came alphabetically right after a book I had just finished listening to, and I was too lazy to change it, and 2. I was a little bit curious to see if it was any better than the first book I read by Ted Bell. I just kept letting it play, and I was happy to find that this book was written much better than "Hawke" had been. Maybe a large part of that was because of the narrator, John Shea. He is a good narrator and a fabulous story teller. He brought this book to life, which was no easy task.
See, I bought five Ted Bell books, two from audible, and three hard copies. After the first one, which I read, I was sick to my stomach about the other four because I figured they would be as big a waste of time as it had been. That must be the 3rd reason I kept listening to this book. I so wanted it to be worth listening to, so that I could justify buying FIVE BOOKS without knowing if I would even like them.
The story line was all adventure and intrigue, but not much in the way of symbolism, deep meaning, or much of anything beyond the surface story. There was somewhat less swearing in this book, although still way too much for my taste. The actual writing was much better, but it was still full of cliches and stock plot twists. I still can't say that I just really enjoyed the book. I zoned out of chunks of it, but I didn't seem to miss anything crucial. Still, there are some people who would love this book. I totally get that. I say to them, "Wanna buy a couple more???"
I'll give another vote to the narrator.
The characters are cliche and one dimensional. If Bell were a student he would be accused of plaguarising Ian Fleming's bond. The story was unbelievable and predictable and at times just made no sense. He gave entirely too much back story to the villain. As an 8 hour book it would have been simply unoriginal. The extra several hours only serves to bring it down from there.
The story hasn't kept my interest. For Alex Hawke's supposed age, he's been there and done everything. I don't find him to be believable.
Unlike other reviewers, I do not like the narrator. True, he does a lot of accents and keeps the characters separate for me. However, he has a tendency to drop his voice very low and very soft. If I turn up the volume to hear him, I get blasted by the next sentence. Consequently I miss words here and there. The narrator's ability can be the deciding factor.
The story just doesn't grab me; I haven't decided if it is the storyline or the narrator. If I continue with this author I will buy the paperbacks.
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