The Former Assassin
by Nikki Stern
on Tour August 1-31, 2018
Susan Foster wants to retire. Her boss wants her dead.
After decades as Victor Kemp’s off-the books killer, Suzanne finally quits. Not until five years later does Kemp discover how thoroughly she’s deceived him. Determined to punish her, he tracks her to Wales to watch her die. Instead, he walks into a trap.
Believing themselves safe at last, Suzanne and her family relocate to London, where she hopes to find the peace that has eluded her for so long. Her son is engaged to a nobleman’s daughter; her husband has a good job with British Intelligence. Yet she still struggles with restless dreams and the premonition that her nemesis has survived.
He has: Kemp, though severely injured, is rebuilding his empire and plotting revenge. He’s prepared to risk everything to end the former assassin. He may not be the only one.
Suzanne has no choice: to protect those she loves, she will be forced to kill again. Assassins, it seems, can never retire.
"An explosive page-turner which owes its momentum to it two well-drawn opponents and a conflict that goes beyond good-vs.-evil.” ~IndieReader, Four Star review
"Later turns in the smashing final act come at a searing pace." ~ Kirkus Reviews
"Keeps readers guessing the outcome right up to its conclusion." ~D. Donovan Midwest Book Review
Stern's novel is a good one for readers who like long prose passages of descriptions, character thoughts, and back story as well as scenes with lots of action. A new character or event was introduced, for example, followed by pages of background information bringing the reader up to speed. I like such information being provided through dialogue or scenes with action, but that's my preference.
I found Stern's writing style a bit unusual, including different points of view. Scenes revolving around the main character, Suzanne the former assassin, are from her point of view and are written in the present tense. Scenes where Suzanne is not present are written in the universal viewpoint with the more traditional past tense. I found the changes in writing style a little disconcerting, especially when Suzanne was present in the scene but not the main focus and hence the latter point of view and tense.
I felt the former assassin, Suzanne, was a character not well developed. This may have been intentional on the author's part. Suzanne was an assassin for decades as well as a wife and mother. Such a life may have meant maintaining little emotion in order to mentally survive. Having Suzanne as a flat character in the novel could be a reflection of a mental survival strategy.
I do recommend this novel to readers who like a character driven mystery with long prose passages interspersed with scenes of great suspense. You'll meet some really nefarious characters too. The novel kept my interest to the end but I must admit I skimmed over some of the long prose passages.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Book Details:Genre: Suspense Thriller
Published by: Ruthenia Press
Publication Date: January 8, 2018
Number of Pages: 304
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Nikki Stern is the author of two works of non-fiction: HOPE IN SMALL DOSES, a 2015 Eric Hoffer finalist for books that provoke, inspire and redirect thought, and BECAUSE I SAY SO: MORAL AUTHORITY'S DANGEROUS APPEAL, as well as dozens of short stories. She is co-author on the Cafe Noir interactive murder mystery series, published by Samuel French. Nikki's suspense novel, THE FORMER ASSASSIN has garnered strong reviews, including a four-star rating from Indie Reader. She's working on a mystery/sci-fi series starring an unorthodox crime fighter named Samantha Tate. When she's not writing about strong complex women, Nikki is working with several non-profits, taking Pilates classes, and attending to the needs of her dog, Molly.
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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.