Author: Chris Holm
Length: 306 pages
Plot Basics: Michael Hendricks is a hit man, but he’ll only accept certain kinds of work. He takes out other hitmen. FBI Agent Charlotte Thompson thinks she’s seeing the pattern of his work, but the bureau won’t believe her. But when Hendricks himself becomes a target, both he and the Bureau will have their hands full tracking down a ruthless assassin.
Banter Points: I was telling a friend about this book, and he, understandably sort of rolled his eyes at the premise. (the hitman who only kills other hitman). I got what he meant, but never fear; in Holm’s hands, it’s a rollicking good read.
Hendricks has his reasons for doing what he does and it gives a layer of humanity and complexity to his character. Ditto with Charlotte (Charlie) Thompson, the FBI agent who’s convinced something’s up. One of the things that I liked about the book is that Hendricks also has the background to do what he does. It’s believable that when his world went to hell, he could have picked this up as a solution. Holm also has a character explain what I’ve been struggling with lately in reading thrillers where the character is an average-Joe caught up in a plot. As Hendricks is trying to protect a guy, the potential victim reflects “when it came…to Bourne-style evasion and ass-kickery, he was as ill-prepared as any career cubicle dweller in America.”
The book is a page-turner. Holm definitely brings the “ass-kickery” as a writer and all the praise he’s gotten from the mystery (and general) book community is well-deserved.
Bummer Points: The book just ends. I hope that’s a good signal that there will be more Michael Hendricks and Charlie Thompson adventures.
Also, there’s some torture in this book. Holm mostly cuts away from the gristle-iest bits, but I hate torture scenes. HATE them. It fit what was happening and the character doing the torture, but still. I skimmed a bit, and then the plot got back on track.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Read it. You’ll have fun. Then while you’re waiting for Chris’s next one, go back and read his awesome urban fantasy/pulp detective Collector Trilogy.