Review

No Survivors: An Accident Man Novel

by Tom Cain

If you have read THE ACCIDENT MAN by Tom Cain, feel free to skip
the next sentence if you like. If you haven’t had that
pleasure, however, you might want to buy a copy along with NO
SURVIVORS, the riveting and most worthy sequel, block off a weekend
and read both of them in one long pleasurable gulp.

After a quick but important prologue, NO SURVIVORS picks up
precisely where THE ACCIDENT MAN left off --- in September 1997,
with Samuel Carver’s mind and body shattered as the result of
the significant injuries he incurred near the book’s
conclusion. For the unfamiliar, Carver is the “accident
man” of the title, an assassin for hire who is skilled in
ushering a specific target down along the road of death. He is best
known for making the demise of his targets appear to be accidents;
it is on his most notorious assignment that he met Alix Petrova,
his devoted lover, who herself is a former Russian spy. Carver,
though, may never return to his former trade, or to any trade for
that matter. At the beginning of NO SURVIVORS he is but a husk of
the man he was, a physical and psychological wreck trapped in his
own body, minimally recuperating over a three-month period in a
Swiss sanitarium.

But when Petrova is forced back to work with her former
employers, it, along with an assassination attempt, jolts Carver
back to life and toward a crossroads that will eventually bring him
to an unforeseen reunion with Petrova. It seems the Russians have
seeded the world with over 100 nuclear “suitcase
bombs,” and a list of the locations and codes for the bombs
has fallen into the wrong hands. Waylon McCabe, a Texas
billionaire, wants the list to locate and procure one of the bombs
in order to ignite a cataclysm that in turn will hasten the Final
Days. He enlists Kurt Vermulen for this quest.

Vermulen, a former general, heads up a strategic consulting firm
and is convinced that the world, particularly the United States, is
the target of an Islamist jihad and a willing accomplice to
McCabe’s mission, for secular rather than religious reasons.
When Russian intelligence gets wind of McCabe’s plans, a
brilliant scheme is implemented to insert Petrova into
Vermulen’s life. The presence of Petrova brings Carver into
the mix as well, resulting in a destructive battle and an ironic
--- and enigmatic --- conclusion that resonates with and haunts the
reader long after the last words are read.

Tom Cain is brilliant. Within a short period, he has established
himself as an intelligent writer whose addictive characterizations
populate a plot with equal parts action and drama, shaken and
stirred into a cinematic narrative that literally explodes off of
the printed page. One gets the feeling from reading this book and
its predecessor that Cain is just getting started on his literary
journey and that the best of what he has plotted out is yet to
come. Anyone reading NO SURVIVORS will be waiting for the next
Accident Man novel with baited breath.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 13, 2011

No Survivors: An Accident Man Novel
by Tom Cain

  • Publication Date: March 30, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0143116568
  • ISBN-13: 9780143116561