Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “assassin”

Valyruh’s #CBR4 Review #70: The Innocent by David Baldacci

Baldacci’s latest thriller is a decent recovery from Zero Day, his previous most recent novel and an unexpected bomb, in my opinion (see my earlier review). The Innocent has likeable if unoriginal characters, an exciting if somewhat predictable plot, plenty of gore, a touch of romance, and just enough of a political tinge to keep it interesting but still politically correct.

Baldacci once again centers much of the action in the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area he knows so well, and builds his story around a U.S. government assassin who only questions his life and those who deploy him when he is ordered—but refuses–to kill his target, a working mother of two right in the nation’s capitol. She is not the drug cartel boss, terrorist financier, and so forth he usually is sent after, and besides, she has two cute kids. Trained killer Will Robie suddenly discovers he has a soft spot for helpless females, babies, and a smart-ass teenage girl he encounters running for her life. Robie and the girl end up going on the run together, trying to figure out who killed her parents and is after her, and who ordered him to do a bad hit and then tried to kill him.

At first, their two stories appear to be unrelated, but little by little, the clues, the victims, and the story lines cross, until it becomes evident that there is a huge conspiracy afoot, and the players are very high up inside U.S. intelligence, defense and law enforcement. The big disappointment to me is that, while Baldacci’s plot gave him ample ammunition for going after real corruption inside the U.S. political machine, something he has not shied away from in his earlier novels, he instead chose a more clichéd approach in The Innocent. And somehow, I managed to guess rather early in the plot who the ultimate baddie was, and that was a bit of a disappointment for me.

Nonetheless, as far as Baldacci thrillers go, this one had all the right stuff and I’ll confess that I mostly enjoyed it, despite the nagging feeling that I had already read the story–or seen the movie—before.

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 #10: No Shelter by Robert Swartwood

This is the third book by Robert Swartwood that I have read (see a review for Man of Wax here), and I am seeing that his style is quite distinctive. So far it seems that there is some version of “hold loved ones hostage to make protagonist do something they don’t want to.” This is fine, since it certainly provides lots of action, but I would like to see him vary it up a bit.

This time our protagonist is Holly Lin, nanny by day, assassin by night. She is a kick ass, but deeply flawed character. We get some background on her as the book progresses, and get the sense that she was once the top of her field but events over the last couple years are causing her to unravel a bit. She’s taking risks where she normally wouldn’t and going off books too often. It’s this that drives the storyline.

Read the rest of my review here!

Alexis’s #CBR4 Review #1: Beyond the Shadows, Brent Weeks

Beyond the Shadows Brent Weeks

Beyond the Shadows is the 3rd and final book of the Night Angels trilogy.  I’ve devoured all three and thoroughly enjoyed this darkish assassin fantasy adventure series. The books follow Kylar (the Night Angel), gutter rat cum assassin cum superhero and a broad cast of supporting characters (multiple POVs) as they gather mystical objects, overthrow evil dictators, and purge the land of toxic goddesses. Poisons and daggers and disembowlings, oh  my!

By the time you’ve hit Beyond the Shadows you’re either a committed fan of Brent Weeks’ rapid-fire storytelling or you aren’t. There are many loosely connected storylines ranging over different continents, romantic entanglements, and political struggles. Kylar is at the heart of these stories although by this point he is all but unstoppable as he is now immortal. But things stay lively as Kyler manages to get himself into a necessary power-struggle with his best-friend that results in a gruesome death, reconnects with the love of his life only to inadvertently bring about her doom, and has to retrieve a sword of legend from an unbeatable magical monster.

This book is not high fantasy and while the epic scope and changing POV echoes George R.R. Martin, it feels more closely related to Zena Warrior Princess. Characters snark and sneer during battles, warriors battle to save long-lost loves, and while characters meet untimely deaths, Beyond the Shadows maintains the tone of a fantasy romp. So don’t let the reference to Zena dissuade you from checking out this really enjoyable series!

PS. The book is much better than the unfortunate cover art which seems to suggest Kylar has a cloud of green noxious gas emanating from his ass.

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