From Publishers Weekly
A rock-solid if complicated plot distinguishes this stand-alone thriller from Abbott (Panic
). In Austin, Tex., a hired assassin fumbles an assignment, leaving several men dead. In the pocket of one of the victims, a Belfast hit man, is the business card of Ben Forsberg, who's been trying to put his life together since his wife was gunned down on their honeymoon two years earlier. After Homeland Security agents pick up the clueless Ben because they think he's the killer, Pilgrim, an agent with yet another secret government agency, the Cellar, rescues Ben from the Homeland Security folk. The appealing Pilgrim and Ben set out to clear Ben's name and rescue Pilgrim's boss, Teach, who's been taken prisoner by the mastermind behind the elaborate plot. Abbott keeps the action zipping along as the body count mounts, and Ben becomes far wiser and far tougher as he learns the harsh realities of kill or be killed.
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Action junkies be warned: Abbott’s latest iteration of the novel-as-extended-chase-scene empties its whole clip straight into the gut. The players: Ben Forsberg, an everyman caught up in a nightmare world that will barely let him catch his breath; Pilgrim, a shadow warrior with an invisible covert-ops group called the Cellar (he’s Ben’s only hope, or is he?); Sam Hector, Ben’s boss, head of a vast private security firm à la Blackwater (he’s pulling the strings, but for whom?); Jackie, the loose cannon, a sadistic Irish assassin crazed with grief at the loss of his older brother (how far will he go, and can he be stopped?); and Khaled, zealous associate of a group called Blood of Fire (he’s on his way to New Orleans, but for what evil purpose?). The pace: frenetic, nonstop. The dialogue: smart, unobtrusive. The plot: packed, convoluted, head spinning. The everyman angle borrows from Abbott’s hardcover debut, Panic (2005); neither book is memorable, but it hardly matters: if it is unbridled action you crave (or if you’re just killing time till the next Lee Child comes out), Abbott’s your man. --David Wright