Review

The Assassin

by Andrew Britton

The
first question I had upon reading THE ASSASSIN, Andrew Britton's
much-anticipated sequel to his 2006 debut novel THE AMERICAN, was,
"Is he really that smart?!" It didn't take me long to come up with
the answer: "Yes!" Still in his mid-20s, Britton appears to be
positioning himself as the next Robert Ludlum. He may be well on
his way to successfully doing so, creating the building blocks of
what could evolve into a literary dynasty.

THE ASSASSIN is superior to its predecessor in some ways and
perhaps less so in others, though on balance it is more than worth
the wait. This new thriller features the return of CIA agent Ryan
Kealey, badly bent if not broken from the events of the previous
novel, as well as Will Vanderveen, Kealey's eternal nemesis and the
cause of his damage and heartbreak. Believed by Kealey to be dead
at the end of THE AMERICAN, Vanderveen is very much alive, seeking
revenge against Kealey for the failure of his prior mission while
intent upon bringing the government of the United States down for
good.

The path by which Kealey uncovers Vanderveen's subterfuge and
ultimate trail moves a bit slowly at times during the book's first
half, though much of this is due to Britton's painstaking
insistence on getting his world right. To his credit, he does not
take intellectual shortcuts or talk down to his reader. If
anything, it gives us time to catch our breath between flash fires
and explosions, which are more than plentiful in THE
ASSASSIN.

The second half of the book is much faster-paced --- Britton having
set his blocks up where he wants them --- and the result is a
heart-in-mouth read where anything can and does happen, including a
possible tip-off concerning where the author's franchise (at least
this one) might be in 30 years or so. It is not unlikely at this
point, given his age and status, though I for one might not be
around to see if I'm right. Perhaps the possibility will give me
the proper incentive to do so.

It's exciting to watch someone of Britton's talent build a career
from the ground up. If you haven't jumped on the locomotive yet,
what are you waiting for? THE ASSASSIN, like THE AMERICAN,
demonstrates that Britton can and will do anything to keep his
readers guessing and turning pages. And, may I add, living.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 7, 2011

The Assassin
by Andrew Britton

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 506 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • ISBN-10: 0758213344
  • ISBN-13: 9780758213341