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14 January 2015

Ward Larsen: The Perfect Assassin

"Perfect" Mossad espionage adventure
I revisited THE PERFECT ASSASSIN, which I had read and enjoyed several years ago. At that time it wasn't clear that Larsen had planned a sequel (he has taken 6 years to do so) but I can now see that a sequel (ASSASSIN'S GAMES) was at the back of his mind.

Christine Palmer, a recently graduated doctor, is sailing solo across the Atlantic taking her late father's yacht back to America when she retrieves an almost lifeless body from the ocean clinging to some wreckage. David Slaton is the sole survivor of a ship that exploded and sank without warning.The dark side is that Slaton is a member of Mossad's Kidon (their special assassination team) who was on board a ship transporting a couple of nuclear weapons from South Africa to Israel.

Despite his condition Slaton soon takes control of Palmer's yacht and persuades her to sail to England where he slips ashore leaving her to report her situation to the local police in a small Cornish fishing village. While the police are working out what to do with her report she is about to be abducted by two men masquerading as police when David rescues her.

David and Christine then form a strange partnership trying to avoid Mossad double-agents who want to kill both of them. David uses all of his tradecraft skills to avoid them and thwart their plans. The police up the ante as the body count rises and Scotland Yard gets involved.

This is a very complex plot - but it works and is skillfully written. At the same time you learn a lot about how David became an assassin and the increasingly personal relationship with Christine as they come together to avoid capture. While I had read the book before I enjoyed it just as much on my second visit, I look forward to reading the sequel, ASSASSIN'S GAMES, which was published recently.

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