Author: David Baldacci
Copyright: April 2013 (Grand Central Publishing) 400 pgs
Series: 2nd in Will Robie-Assassin Thriller series
Mystery Sub-genre: Thriller
Main Characters: Wiliam Robie, a U.S. sanctioned elite assassin
Setting: Modern day, Washington DC
Obtained Through: Personal purchase
The book opens with Doug Jacobs, a handler, watching a live feed of a planned assassination. From everything that he observes, including a shot of the assassin's sniper position, the hit will take place as planned. What he didn't know was that it was smoke and mirrors, the assassin was actually in Washington D.C. targeting him. The shot hits its Doug Jacobs instead of some Middle East wannabe to the shock of the intelligence community. Will Robie is called in and given the assignment to track down and kill the person believed behind the killing of Doug Jacobs -- Jessica Reel, another elite U.S. assassin who seems to have gone rogue. Jessica and Will know each other, and they know each others strengths and training. But Will starts to uncover that there is something more going on, the information he has been given to track Jessica down is redacted and the crime scene was cleaned before he could see it. What is the government hiding, and is Jessica Reel a traitor or a patriot? Will Robie has suspicions that all is not as it appears, so what does he do about tracking down and killing Jessica Reel?
Will Robbie is a smart character and a very deadly opponent. He makes a great anti-hero in that his job and ingrained training dictates he should just follow orders. But, he can't ignore all the clues that there is something deeply wrong in his own agency. Jessica Reel is a dynamite character. She is hardened and jaded, and every bit as lethal as Will Robie. I loved her character and look forward to her in future Robie books. FBI agent Nicole Vance, who made her appearance in the first book "The Innocent" is back. She proves herself to be a critical player in key parts of the book, due to her working with Robie in the last book. Julie, a teenage girl also from the prior book, is present in this story as Robie struggles with being in her life. A standout character in this book is known only as "Blue Man". Blue Man is Robie's immediate superior and displays a political acuman as he advises Robie. Blue Man is somewhat an unsung hero in the tale because he works in the background, but I appreciated him so much.
The setting is mostly Washington D.C. with additional scenes in the Middle East, and New York. These settings are related through an assassin's eyes, evaluating aspects that are not usually portrayed.
The plot is spot on and continues to grow in magnitude the further you read. Some sections are written from Jessica's viewpoint, which heightens the tension significantly. This maintains a thriller's sense of urgency and seems rocket fueled.
The climax is gripping and meets expectations fully. The wrap-up is dramatic yet nuanced, lingering on the mind long after the book is closed.
"Page-turner" does not even begin to describe this gripping race through a governmental conspiracy at the highest levels. I devoured this book. It is a rush, yet the voice is so finely developed that it encompasses wisdom regarding damaged souls as well.
Rating: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.
Here is a short interview with David Baldacci on this book.