The Assassin: A Novel Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Coonts's exciting third thriller to star reformed burglar turned CIA operative Tommy Carmellini (after The Traitor) raises a timely issue—the lack of well-to-do Americans on combat duty in the war against terrorism. When an Iraqi bomb kills Huntington Winchester's only child, a Harvard med student who joined the navy out of patriotism, the grieving father decides he and his privileged friends aren't doing enough to defend civilization against the jihadist threat. Winchester gets tacit approval from one of those friends, the unnamed U.S. president, for him and some other well-to-do types to finance their own private war. When al-Qaeda mastermind Abu Qasim discovers the identities of those in Winchester's group and targets them, Carmellini and his CIA boss, Adm. Jake Grafton, determine to set a trap that involves Qasim's possible daughter. Though the constant switching between various points-of-view distracts at times, the action moves swiftly to its Hollywood ending. Author tour. (Aug.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For what seemed like the longest time, I wondered if this book was ever going anywhere. The plot line has been explained by others and maybe it is necessary to take so much time to wind this story up, however once we get to the point where the bodies on both sides start droppping like flies, things get very interesting.
This author has given us a lot of very readable novels in the past and while this one isn't his best, there is still some bite in his writing and I am glad I stuck it out. That may not be the highest praise, but it is honest.
Because there is not a smidgen of credibility in the book. Coonts draws on recent headlines for his plot line and that becomes a part of the problem. Coonts uses the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko with Polonium-20 as the weapon. Not a good thing to do since anyone who followed the news of that truly unique act knows that Coonts is simply borrowing it for the story. There is no credibility to Coonts' back story. To be believable, Coonts should have invented his own narrative from the same base.
The main characters, Jake Grfton and Tommy Carmellini, are back again - and frankly they have beome threadbare. Grafton, the retired Admiral and intelligence czar, was at one time a formidable character. Now, frankly, his dialog bounces mercurially from all-knowing to stuck on stupid. Carmellini, who speaks to us in the first-person while everyone else uses third-person, needs help with his sex addiction. The plot device of a privately financed, government executed campaign against Muslim terrorists is unbelievable from the very first words describing it.
The Abu Qasim character, supposedly the world's most feared terrorist, whom no one can identify by sight is - here's that word agsain - unbelievable. His alleged daughter, who is now a French socialite (and, of course, rich and stunningly beautiful) is also unbelievble.
All of this mind numbing, silly nonsense comes in the first 62 pages. Then Coonts unloads on his technically literate audience with the introduction of Robin Cloyd. The stereotyped description is enough to cause teeth grinding: "Robin was a technical genius, a tall, gawky young woman who lived in jeans and sweatshirts because the rooms where she spent her working life were filled with computers and heavily air conditioned. She also wore glasses, large, thick ones . . . "
Coonts needs an advisor. Being intelligent and even a "geek" doesn't mean you look weird. Also, most people who do what are soon described as Robin's work, would not be in a computer room. Coonts obviously doesn't understand what computer networks are all about.
Within moments, however, Coonts goes from awful to horrible. Robin is described as a "data-mining exert who had been working for NSA. She had been temporarily transferred to the CIA and assigned as Jake's office assistant." Office assistant? Coonts obviously is clueless as to what data-mining is, which he demonstrates in the very next sentence: "One of the many things she did for the admiral [presumably including coffee fetching?] was to hack her way around the Internet, which was, of course, illegal."
Of course, Coonts doesn't know what hacking is. Coonts doesn't know what the word Internet means. Coonts not only doesn't know what he is talking about, he insults those who do.
Coonts has his "office assistant" on a moment's notice "hack" into the computers of the three of the richest people in the world, all leaders of large businesses. No problem. Takes only a few seconds. Nonsense.
But Coonts keeps right on going. Having cracked these systems in seconds, Robin isolates their email accounts, saying "They're using a fairly sophisticated encryption code . . ." Of course, she cracks it in seconds.
You can get free encryption programs that are essentially invulnerable to cracking. Coonts is not only apparently unaware of that, but thinks everyone else is to.
At that point, I lasted another 13 pages as the plot and characters went from dumb to dumber.
This is not Coonts at his prime. Far from it, this is Coonts approaching rock bottom. Avoid this turkey.
What's different from the reality is that the momentum behind the war is not the will and strength of the American government and its allies, but several billionaires and dignitaries.
Coonts weaved certains plots of contemporary news into his novel, e.g. the poisoning of a Russian dissenter. The novel is entertaining to some extent but not beyond expectation at all. In fact, you'll soon find that the twists and turns of the protaganists' fates are within your easy imagination, thus reducing the fun of reading.
Have you every watched the movie, True Lies? This novel is just something like that.
Not to mention that Coonts completely ruins the villain. His past few novels have had an anti-Islamist direction, so I'm not surprised. However, the former idealist from the last novel has transformed into a stereotypical rhetorical-spouting terrorist who's better off on a Internet videotape than the pages of a novel. The harsh and unloving way he treats his daughter is probably the most indicative of this, because he seems to think that she's "unworthy" of her affection or something. Speaking of her, the subplot involving her *possible spoiler* husband's murder is so ridiculously generic, it should never have been included.
About the only thing good I can say about this novel would have to be the character of Tommy Carmellini, who's still as charismatic and witty a Sangamon Taylor-esque protagonist than ever. He's a far easier guy to root for than the "planner" Grafton. Unfortunately, his insights and point of view aren't enough to save this book.
If you're looking for a good beachside read, you can probably find better alternatives. Unless you absolutely love Tommy Carmellini however, you're better off not bothering.
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