Forget James Bond. Forget Jason Bourne. Forget Jack Bauer.
Meet Victor. He's an assassin - a man with no past and no surname. He lives alone. He operates alone. He's given a job; he takes out the target; he gets paid. He's The Killer.
Victor arrives in Paris to perform a standard kill and collect for an anonymous client. He completes it with trademark efficiency - only to find himself in the middle of an ambush and fighting for his life. Pursued by determined enemies, a woman too beautiful to be safe, and intelligence agencies from both sides of the Atlantic, Victor will soon discover there is nowhere left for him to hide...and no one he can trust. But he is every bit as ruthless as those hunting him. And Victor will find out who wants him dead and why - one corpse at a time.
©2010 Tom Hinshelwood (P)2013 Tantor
"A superlative fiction debut.... Nonstop action that veers and twists from one ferocious gun battle, double cross, and betrayal to the next.... Thriller fans will be eager to see more from this bright new talent." (Publishers Weekly)
I am an attorney and author in Jefferson City, MO.
When Tom Wood's "The Enemy" showed up as #2 in the series as a recommended read for me on Audible, I went back and bought The Killer and listened to it first. It was an exceptional novel, as good as Mark Greaney's "The Gray Man" but far less specific about the character's back story. It starts with a bang and keeps a fast pace through the entire novel. I could not wait to listen to this book all the way to the end. And as soon as I was done, I started on book 2. I hope this author gives us much more of Victor, the assassin in this series, because I have come to really enjoy his style of writing, and the cleverness of the character.
The Killer by Tom Hinshelwood/Tom Wood
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER
I saw this on the front page of Audible one day, and for some unknown reason, I have a bit of a thing for assassin books. I don’t really know why, perhaps because of the left over sadness of years of investigating crime while a UK copper. Perhaps reading histories of the middle and far east whence the lore of hashashin and ninja began.
It’s the motivation for killing which always escapes me. Yeah, I get that you can get mad enough for revenge or anger purposes to put out someone’s lights. In self-defence, no question, him or me. Killing for money or ideological purpose? Dunno, less clear cut. I’m also pretty certain that it’s a difficult profession, rife with very high risk and there are many fewer hit-folk around than popular fiction would have us believe, thanks be.
The Killer, Tom Wood’s first novel comes highly recommended by its reviewers on Amazon and Audible. Well written and performed.
There is quite a lot of Gun-porn, the naming and delineation of qualities of various armaments is mentioned, if not labored over. Fair enough, they are the tools of those who work around guns.
The writing is good, and the plot and narrative works well for the first half of the book. Character development proceeds apace, although we are not told a single thing about the assassin’s background.
At about 2/3rds of the way in, a, “Hemingway Death,” occurs, which totally throws off the narrative and the plot. Up to this point, the twin fulcrum of the narrative was the softening of the assassin and a growing bond between him and another. A very humanizing and sweet element.
The writer, by this death is painted into a corner and any mystery that the book might have had is removed and the reader now knows that we are to be left with a cataclysmic hung-up ending, which will leave us breathless for the next episode in what will be a three part series.
There’s no question. For an assassin like this, you’ve either got to kill him, or turn his actions into reasonable ones. Otherwise he is utterly without remorse or morals, and writing THAT character is too anti-sympathetic, it won’t carry a book. Who wants to read a tale of endless murders for money? No, people don’t. There has to be a spec of humanity there, and in this book, the writer killed it with the, “Hemingway Death.”
While I found the book readable and good work up to that point, afterwards it became mundane and the series of men chopping and fighting in Africa were boring and formulaic, the conclusion over-wrought to ridiculousness. Faugh. The direction was wrong, and the second half of the book could have done with some serious editing. There were longeurs.
Up to 2/3rds of the way through, the book is compelling, vital and interesting. Afterwards, merely serviceable, somewhat boring fare you can read anywhere. For a writer with this talent, a poor outcome.
Writers, STOP killing your darlings for shock and plot movement! We readers invest in those characters, kill them at peril of losing our interest.
Yes, I would recommend this book to a friend! This is an action packed book that moves at a blistering speed an doesn't stop until you here the very familiar phrase, "Audible hopes you've enjoyed this program" telling you the book's over. the protagonist of the story is a paid assassin but he's a very likeable paid assassin who goes by the "code' name "tesseract". Some aspects of this book might seem cliche(C.I.A. double-crosses and the like) but I feel Tom Wood's strong character development(especially Tesseract) and the story arc in general overshadow any feeling I had that I might have read something like this before.
Tesseract(the assassin), I was actually rootin' for this guy to survive from page 1 of this book! Tom Wood's made me feel like Tesseract was just another working stiff trying to make a living, just like you or me. So what if he's a paid assassin, everybody's got to make a living some how, right? I thought you might agree with me. He's a cold-blooded killer but he has "principles" and that's good enough for me. This isn't just a book about one guy killing people, it's much more that but out of fear of giving too much of the story away I'll hold off on getting into any details.
I might have, I don't know but I can tell you he did a fantastic job with the narration on this book. I felt it was spot on and I'd definitely listen to another one of Rob Shapiro's performance again.
Yes, I would have liked to listen to it in one sitting but my god, it's 15+ hours long! I couldn't do it, I'm sorry.
This is a great, adrenaline filled roller-coaster ride of a book and I'll be keeping an eye out for other books written by Tom Wood. I'm hoping he's not a, "one-book wonder". If you're into this kind of, um, "subject matter" give it a shot, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I enjoy counter-terrorism, westerns, historical fiction, detective mysteries, and old school comedy like "A Christmas Story".
I am 4 months overdue in writing this review. I have listened to all the books in this series and I just want more. We have another top writer of suspense! This author introduces us to a assassin who is as clever as Sherlock Holmes( in his deductive thinking), He only needs minimum clues to find his prey. He is as cold blooded as they come yet does not tolerate people who use swear words. Great fun! Great Listen! I listened to all the books in this series 2 times. I am late in this review because I wanted to write a outstanding review, but I don't want to wait any longer so this is short and sweet. Enjoy!
The story almost seemed to have been written by two different people. The first part of the book was well written and thorough. Many nice touches that really helped the reader/listener connect with the character. The second part of the book Victor seemed to be a different person. The caution, adherence to protocol seemed to disappear. It was as if he was two different characters or written by two different authors. It also seemed a bit 'cartoonish' with all the players descending on the same location at the same time. I loved the first half of the book and ho hum on the second part. If the whole book was written as well as the first half it would have easily gotten 4 stars. However, listen to this book to help you with the next two (although not necessary). The next two will really hook you in.
Tucked away in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.
Even though he is an assassin, the author manages to build a character that you find yourself rooting for. Of course, his skills are superhuman, yet he struggles with anything but a brief and cursory human interaction. Definitely all business all of the time.
Lots of action in this book, extreme characters on both ends of the spectrum, and a big body count. But still, I found it well worth the credit and will probably buy the next book in the series.
It is hard to find good books and I have listen to all three in this series and would recommend it to anyone wanting to be entertained for hours.... When I do a review I like to name some of my favorite authors to explain the type of books I enjoy , Vince Flynn, Lee Childs, Barry Eisler, Jack Campbell, and John Ringo to name a few....
It pulls you in from the start and doesn't let you go....
Rob Shapiro brings Victor and the other characters to life. I will now use his name to search and see what else might be interesting...
I suppose this could appeal to the young adult action/adventure crowd, but I personally prefer more complexity to plots than just a bunch of mindless spooks running around the world torturing and killing each other in every imaginable way. Shallow character development and monotonous narrator presentation round out my top three criticisms. The one positive attribute is that it sure does make the life of an assassin sound unappealing. For what that's worth. Just plain gruesome.
Can't wait for another book by this author. Keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Lover of life and lover of books! I read/listen to a wide range (many) but my favorite non fiction are self-help and autobiographies.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you enjoy books that you don't mind rooting for the 'bad guy' and has a twist where many of the so-called good guys are not good.
The plot is amazing but there is a part in the book which goes a direction that seemed to end the novel (in my mind) to a not so believable ending. The performance is very good and so as not to put a spoiler in this review - If you enjoy 'spy' books with a twist, then I would buy to listen to it. The ending of the first book caused me NOT to be interested in book two.
If half stars were permitted, it would be 3.5 because of the ending. The rest of the book would be 4.5.
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