Tightly written thrillers like The Marching Season have made best-selling novelist Daniel Silva a favorite of readers everywhere. In The Kill Artist, he paints an absorbing portrait of a reluctant hero’s attempt to thwart an old enemy to preserve a precarious peace.
After the assassination of his wife and son, Gabriel Allon retires from his brutal anti-terrorist career and loses himself in his previous cover job: art restoration. But when Tariq al-Hourani, the Palestinian terrorist responsible for his family’s death, begins a killing spree designed to destroy Middle East peace talks, Gabriel once again slips into the shadowy world of international intrigue. In a global game of hide-and-seek, the motives of Gabriel and Tariq soon become more personal than political.
Filled with vivid action and a fascinating cast of supporting characters, The Kill Artist delivers pulse-pounding suspense, carried to a startling climax by the tension-packed narration of George Guidall.
©2000 Daniel Silva (P)2001 Recorded Books
Meet Gabriel Allon, reluctant assassin. "The Kill Artist," published in 2000, introduces us to Daniel Silva's popular Gabriel Allon series. Yes, the series gets better as it progresses: "The Kill Artist" is not its best entry. In fact, I think that each entry gets better than the last one, reflecting the growing skill of the author. None-the-less, I still recommend that anyone wishing to listen to the subsequent Gabriel Allon novels should start here, with "The Kill Artist," and then listen to the novels in sequence. The Gabriel Allon character has a lot of complexity, as do the plots of all his adventures. Although Daniel Silva does a good job summarizing all that you need to know for each successive episode, you will still miss out on the richness of this series if you pick it up in the middle. (In fact, I did just that, not knowing any better at the time. Now, I am enjoying going back and listening to the series in the proper order ... and getting so much more out of it than I did the first time 'round.)
Author Daniel Silva is a pretty complex character, himself. Raised in a devoutly Catholic family, he converted to Judaism in adulthood, as a result of his marriage. Now he writes compelling novels about an Israeli Mossad assassin (although, curiously, the Mossad is never mentioned in any of his Gabriel Allon novels -- it is just called "the Office"), in which we learn more than we may have ever wanted to know about the Holocaust, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, international politics, and recent world history. Whether or not these novels suit one's taste in fiction, one cannot deny the deep, penetrating intelligence and profound, cynical knowledge of world events and human nature that emanates from all of Daniel Silva's novels. As some previous reviewers have noted, "The Kill Artist" has some pretty dark aspects to it -- don't buy it for light escape fiction -- but it does offer some intriguing, disturbing, and surprisingly fair-minded insights into current headlines and the human psychology behind them.
George Guidall, as always, does an excellent job narrating "The Kill Artist." He has a lovely, warm, mature voice, that he can adapt into many different characters, including female characters. Although he draws some of his accents from his "generic" bag, he uses a pretty credible French accent for this audiobook.
Nothing grabbed me. The story was ok but several minor things bothered me, so I’ll list them below.
When I finished this I thought huh, the hero didn’t do anything heroic and he did not solve the bad guy problem. The good action was done by another. Ok, but that kind of let me down - not much hero development here.
Throughout the book the good guys were not doing smart things which made it less fun to root for them. In a few scenes the bad guys came out ahead due to luck. For example: the bad guy dresses as a waiter to get into a meeting of dignitaries. The front door guard let him in even though his name was not on the list - because the bad guy said they told me they needed extra staff. A guard let him into a private room because the bad guy said one of the top aids told me to bring this food. When the bad guy was in the kitchen, the boss of the waiters gave him work to do. The boss should have known who his employees were. He paid them. The boss did not even ask where he came from. This was too easy - using luck.
I was disappointed the following was not shown. A woman was being trained as an agent. She was told to figure out who was following her. She reported three people and was wrong. Next time she reported three people and was right. I wanted to see what she saw and why she concluded what she did.
Because a woman loved Gabriel she did amazing things for him. I wanted to see him reciprocate some kind of feeling for her, but he showed no feelings. That was a let down. It made him less sympathetic.
Something unexpected was revealed at the end. It was quickly told. It was a neat surprise. The details behind that could have been a good story. Not required but I wanted to know more.
I did not care for the narrator George Guidall. He made Gabriel the hero sound like a clerk or librarian. It didn’t fit the sexy macho agent. And he made the bad guy sound wimpy. Other parts were ok, but overall his voice was not as good for me as other narrators.
Genre: spy suspense thriller
I like and have read most of the Gabriel Allon novels, and returned to this one just because it's been awhile.
It is a little on the dark side, but all in all a good book. Allon is a little too "super duper" but I'll take that to the modern anti-hero so popular in other such novels.
I can't quite put my finger on the problem. I expected to become fully engaged by the story and enthralled by the narration, but it just didn't happen.
The story should have elicited some excitement, suspense, tension, but it just seem to drone on. George Guidall is one of the best readers in the business but perhaps his voice is now too soft to narrate a thriller or perhaps even the great Guidall couldn't instill life into this story. Either way, this listen was a bit of a disappointment.
This is the second Daniel Silva I've downloaded - I also listened to Death in Vienna - and it was the author's second chance because I do love spy/thrillers. Still, there are better books out there and better ways to spend a credit. Keep looking. Don't settle for merely OK.
I know most people who love Vince Flynn/Alex Berenson books love Daniel Silva. I've read and listened to a few and while I do appreciate the realism in his books I also am a bit turned off by the darkness that tends to be in them. Also a lot of sex scenes tend to be described in his books. I leave 4 stars as I did mostly enjoy the book and I love George Guidall. 4 stars because I think he is a very talented writer but he's just not for me.
I listened to a newer work by Silva and loved it. So I went back to the beginning and was horribly disappointed.
Sliva uses constant profanity to try and demonstrate the tough grittiness of his characters. Simply showing us who they are would be much more effective. The constant use of "F***" as well as the excessive sexuality distract from and weaken the story line to the point that I finally quit listening half way through.
George Guidall gives a fine performance and is easy to listen to. He is one of the better readers I have heard. His voicing for various characters is appropriate, consistent and well done. Silva's story lines move rapidly from character to character and Guidall's voicing of various characters makes the action easier to follow.
I am glad that I listened to a more recent Silva novel first. Silva has learned how to richly develop a hard, gritty character without resorting to trite use of profanity and obscenity. Unfortunately he didn't learn this early enough in life to save this book.
First, George Guidall is one of my favorite readers.
Second, Daniel Silva has created a believable character, believable dialogue, and relatively believable adventures. I mean, they are spy stories, they aren't supposed to be totally believable.
Third, Daniel Silva presents a small bit of information about classical painters, their styles, and their histories. One book features a painting by Mary Cassatt. Of course that painting is a figment of Silva's imagination. But, as described, it could be a Cassatt.
Lastly, Gabriel is a wonderful character. He is not a young man, he has years of experience. He has a history that reflects in everything he does. I want to know this man, and his friends. I want to spend time with them.
Because I listen at work, while I do my graphic illustrations (not creative), one book takes about a day to listen to. I can't wait to get to the next one. I have listened to all the Silva books available on Audible, and am eagerly awaiting more.
The Daniel Silva series was recommended to me by a good friend and I guess I expected more. Maybe it was the narrator - not one of my favorites although I realize he has been doing this a long time and has many avid followers. Most everything I've listened to narrated by him falls a bit flat. I really don't like the way he does women at all. Makes them all sound weak and pouty, no matter who the author is.
The plot of the book felt forced in some places, like the author had to figure out how to write himself out of a hole and did it the most expedient way. And perhaps I just don't love this genre enough, although there are some writers in this genre I enjoy very much. Yet, I will listen to the others in this series that I already purchased, because, well I own them now and maybe they will grow on me, or not.
Ever have a friend start telling you a story and say "hey, let me give you a little background" ... and 30 minutes later they're still going in circles giving you background that really has nothing to do with nothing? If so, you can relate with my reaction to this book. At any number of points, I wanted to scream "JUST GET TO THE POINT!"
I'm a pretty sophisticated reader, but this book is painful. The author will spend ten minutes discussing every little detail in scenes that are effectively 20 or 30 seconds of action. I expect this in the first half of any book as the plot is being setup ... but I swear that this author (at least in this book) actually gets MORE detailed as the book unfolds. The plot is great ... the characters are interesting ... the author clearly has talent ... but I'm just not spending any more credits on this author/series.
The book provided some detailed events that provide the roll each character was intended to play. However, as the book progressed it seemed that the roll of the main protagonist, Gabriel fell further and further from expectation. He was supposed to be this legendary asset, one with an incredible sixth sense for danger and intuition for uncovering nefarious plots (and so on). However, by the end, he has messed up and made so many rash decisions that the female protagonist came out to look more professional and really... bad ass than Gabriel. There was nothing in the book that impressed my or convinced me that he was anything more than a paranoid art restorer. Even the antagonist was portrayed as one who was miles ahead as being a "Kill Artist", and beat gabriel every, and I mean every time. Seriously, by the end of the book, I really couldn't have given a rats ass about Gabriel and his mediocre personality. One part of the book made me laugh when Gabriel told the female pro that " we have all suffered, so what". haha. He punishes himself for loosing his family and suffers because of those mistakes, yet brushes aside the idea that everyone suffers, with bigoted nonchalance. Lets see if the second book does any better, since Gabriels persona doesn't need to be totally established and the author can build on the previous book for character growth.
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