In 2012, one of David Baldacci’s novels introduced us to a new hero --- or anti-hero, as the case may be. In THE INNOCENT, readers had the opportunity to become acquainted with Will Robie, who works directly for the U.S. government in a capacity outside of intelligence organizations like the FBI and CIA, as well as the military.
Robie possesses a unique skill set that has earned him renown as a stone-cold hit man who will stop at nothing to finish whatever mission he has been assigned. In THE INNOCENT, Robie is involved in a hit that goes wrong and causes him to go on the run with a 14-year-old super genius girl who has earned his protection. He evades any serious damage to his reputation, and all seems to end well for the him at the book’s conclusion.
"THE HIT is a masterful novel that allows Baldacci to show off his insightful knowledge of the internal machinations that drive our modern government security systems and combines it with his gift for creating edge-of-your-seat suspense that builds with each passing page."
Enter Baldacci’s latest novel, THE HIT, and Robie finds himself being handed the most difficult assignment of his career. He is tasked with eliminating a former colleague and trainee of his, Jessica Reel. Reel apparently has gone rogue; it seems that she is operating under unknown orders and taking out members of their own agency. When two high-profile government intelligence types are assassinated, there is nothing Robie can do except prepare for the most difficult target he has ever had to chase --- someone who is all but his equal in every possible way.
Reel is on to Robie and sends him text messages that seem intent on taunting him. She recognizes this as a game of cat-and-mouse and is hopeful to come out on top. The messages continue, some worded in a special code that only Robie would understand. It is here where he realizes that she may not be an actual traitor but could possibly be on a private mission to expose high-ranking officials who have a deadly hidden agenda.
Robie and Reel are cut from the same cloth. Both are loners who realize there can only be one winner in any contest. As he continues his pursuit of her, it becomes more a matter of satisfying his own curiosity about what actually may be her motives for killing. Each chapter presents another violent encounter or plot-twisting revelation that will leave readers breathless while continuing to keep them guessing.
Robie uses all of his guile and experience to get to the truth of the matter --- and comes face to face with an internal threat that may exist high above his own director’s pay grade. It seems that not all threats to U.S. security come from radical Islamic fundamentalists but potentially from within our very own government. This threat, if confirmed, could change the face of the war on terror permanently.
What David Baldacci does best is to lay out a landscape of the many named and faceless organizations operating under the guise of Homeland Security and the dangerous waters that must be traversed when dealing with them. A scorecard may be required to keep straight who is working for who, and the line between good guy and villain is often blurred beyond recognition. THE HIT is a masterful novel that allows Baldacci to show off his insightful knowledge of the internal machinations that drive our modern government security systems and combines it with his gift for creating edge-of-your-seat suspense that builds with each passing page.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on April 26, 2013