Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer

cover of The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer
I have been busy this month with the Jewish holidays and with teaching three writing courses this term. So needless to say, I haven’t had much time for pleasure reading. It took me a month of bus time reading to finish The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer. I caught a few of the Decoded shows on the History Channel, and I enjoyed watching Brad Meltzer and his assistants investigate various historical claims. Shows looked at DB Cooper, John Wilkes Booth, UFOs, the Alaska Triangle, the Culper Ring, and similar stuff. It’s all interesting, and it got me to check out Meltzer as an author. I noticed that The Fifth Assassin was on sale for Kindle when the paperback version came out, so I got it.

Beecher White is the hero of the book, and he works as an archivist and for the modern day Culper Ring. Someone is killing pastors in the DC area, mimicking the assassins of the Presidents. The weird thing is that the assassin in wearing a plaster cast of Abraham Lincoln’s face, which were made in Lincoln’s lifetime. An acquaintance from Beecher’s childhood, Marshall, may be involved, and Beecher also thinks that Beecher’s former girlfriend, Clementine might be involved. The characters were a bit confusing for me because it seems that the story started with The Inner Circle. So we have Clementine’s father, Nico, who tried to kill the current president, President Wallace. Wallace also has a back story with Beecher, who knows that Wallace killed someone in the past. Can Beecher figure out who is killing the pastors before that someone kills Wallace? And does Beecher want to prevent Wallace’s assassination?

Even with all the confusion of jumping into what appeared to be the middle of the story, I really enjoyed The Fifth Assassin. I could hear Meltzer narrating Beecher’s internal dialog, and I found myself racing through the pages whenever I did have a chance to read. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, when the end of the book came too soon. The book ends in a cliff hanger that really did leave me yearning for a quick release of the next book in the series. Meltzer has an informal, quick-paced writing style, and it added to the book’s action scenes. I have The Inner Circle on hold at the library, and I hope to catch up on Beecher’s backstory. I plan on reading a lot more Meltzer in the future.