Imagine if the late Iraqi dictator/leader Saddam Hussein had hired a major financier to hide his alleged fortune. Now, consider further that this financier divided the money into six sections and hired five more financiers to manage it. Furthermore, let's suppose that Hussein hired a deadly assassin --- who, in turn, hired five more assassins --- to each eliminate one of the six moneymen.
If this sounds confusing, it is --- in a way. Since we're dealing with what we know fictionally of criminals and assassins, we can assume that they don't trust each other. Here lies the gist of Gayle Lynds' latest novel, THE ASSASSINS. With the death of Hussein, it is only natural that the six assassins try to put together the six pieces of his fortune and split the profits. However, when they begin eliminating each other, anything is possible.
"Gayle Lynds has fashioned a terrific page-turner and summer read with THE ASSASSINS, and created a fine group of international characters that will leave a strong impression."
With this as the background plot to the novel, we then jump to the U.S. and former military spy Judd Ryder. Ryder is recently back from a special assignment in the Middle East. While walking to his home in Washington, D.C., he sees a man who looks to be his exact double leave a row house and shortly thereafter is killed in a hit-and-run accident.
Ryder is no fool and recognizes that this is not a coincidence. He learns shortly thereafter that the mysterious doppelgänger may be linked to a Cold War assassin known as the Carnivore, a nemesis of Ryder's. Ironically, the last two people to see the Carnivore were Ryder and a CIA trainee named Eva Blake. It now appears that someone is searching for the Carnivore and may be trying to use Ryder and Blake to help locate him.
Aiding Ryder in his mission to find the Carnivore is his colleague, Tucker Anderson, who is part of a CIA black unit known as Catapult and needs to go off the grid to assist Ryder. The trio of Ryder, Anderson and Blake learn that the Carnivore may be a man named Alex Bosa. There is also a possibility that he could be tied to the group of six assassins involved with the Saddam Hussein fortune.
Once the Carnivore enters the story, things truly begin to roll, and the novel takes on a real feel of international intrigue. No one can be trusted or safe from each other in this dog-eat-dog world where the only winner is the person left standing at the end of the game. Gayle Lynds has fashioned a terrific page-turner and summer read with THE ASSASSINS, and created a fine group of international characters that will leave a strong impression.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on July 2, 2015