The President's Assassin
Sean Drummond is the Army JAG major who nobody wants. He is a
troublemaker, a smart aleck, the antithesis of a team player. What
is even more irritating is the fact that, in a room occupied by any
cross-population of individuals, Drummond normally will be the
smartest one present. However, it is precisely the qualities that
make Drummond so difficult to live and work with that make his
exploits such an entertaining read.
THE PRESIDENT'S ASSASSIN, Haig's latest Drummond novel, is easily
his best. Haig takes Drummond out of the office and courtroom and
puts him in the field when he is loaned --- or, as Drummond tells
us, banished --- to a CIA sub-agency called The Office of Special
Projects. The book begins with Drummond accompanying a beautiful
and subtly beguiling FBI agent to a home in a posh Washington, D.C.
suburb, which is the scene of a terrifying mass murder. It turns
out to be only the first step in a series of planned assassinations
that are to culminate in the murder of the President of the United
States --- unless a ransom of $100 million is paid.
Drummond is involved with the FBI on behalf of the CIA, due to the
possibility of a foreign connection, but the combined might and
majesty of the nation's law enforcement agencies is found wanting.
The people behind the murders constantly appear to be several steps
ahead of everyone. To make matters worse, the entire operation
seems to have been planned and coordinated by a rogue Secret
Drummond is at his wisecracking best, saving his best quips for the
most inappropriate times, yet his insight proves to be invaluable
when it comes to nailing down the trail of the assassins. Things
take a sudden and dramatic turn, however, when the decision is made
to pay the ransom, and the assassins choose Drummond to make the
delivery. A resolution seems imminent, but appearances are
deceiving. Drummond cannot escape the feeling that something is
wrong --- and, as usual, he is quite right.
Haig has pulled off a neat trick here with Drummond. The Army
lawyer is obnoxious enough to those around him that he keeps
getting passed off to new agencies and given new assignments, thus
ensuring that he can be involved in fresh plots with new supporting
characters for as long as Haig chooses to continue this fine
series. The constant change of scenery between novels also makes
the series accessible for new readers. At the same time Drummond is
quite entertaining to read about, even if you wouldn't necessarily
want to work with him.
The result is a series that keeps getting better and better and
certainly has the potential to do so for the indefinite future.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 19, 2011