Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Kill List

Book Review : The Kill List
Author : Frederick Forsyth
My Rating : 3 out of 5

Frederick Forsyth is my most favorite author for the genre “Thriller”, and by a wide margin. I have enjoyed books by many other authors in the same genre, but no one comes close. Who else does this level of thorough research and goes into such painstaking details? No one else could weave such intricate but realistic plots, smartly packed with surprises. Smart, being the operative word.

His first novel “The Day Of The Jackal” became a well deserved huge international bestseller. Many superb novels followed, many made into movies. I have read all, but after “The Fourth Protocol” I didn’t enjoy his next novels as much. Except “The Fist Of God”, which was as outstanding as his previous works. That’s natural, every artist eventually peaks, and Forsyth is now in late seventies.

The Kill List” is set in present times. The name of the book is based on the idea that there is a list of people deemed as serious enough enemy of the USA that the President has authorized them to be killed. Prominent on the list is a man simply referred as “The Preacher”. Inspired by his fundamentalist preaching over the internet, more than a few Muslims have conducted “lone wolf” style Jihadist attacks in US and UK. The best headhunter, known as “The Tracker” is assigned to find the identity of “The Preacher” and to eliminate him. The story then follows the investigation into discovering who the terrorist really is, and then the details of the operation to take the suspect out.

Forsyth has maintained his wry and dry writing style. His books often read like non-fiction. There is the typical jargon and unemotional description of even the most heinous events. His favorite Mossad and special forces play important roles. When required, he goes into absolute details to make us feel that we are there. There are parallel story-lines, that eventually meet.

So yes, there are many Forsyth elements in there, but not quite enough. Sadly the plot is not at all intricate. Hence the manhunt is interesting, but not the on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind. It’s also very linear, with almost no set backs. A lot of things need to go right, and they all do. In the end it seems all too easy. That means, there are also very few surprises. I am trying hard to point out the shortcomings without giving any spoilers.

It’s a decent read, but I don’t want to recommend it. If you have read and liked any of the celebrated books by Forsyth, then this book will most likely be a disappointment to you. If you haven’t read any of his books, then this is definitely not a good way to start. Read, “The Day Of The Jackal”, or “The Devil’s Alternative”, or “The Odessa File”, or “The Fist Of God”. Any of them, all of them. Skip this one.

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