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The Silent Assassin (Dr. Alexandra Blake Novels) Hardcover – May 15, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Andrews's outstanding follow-up to 2006's Sequence, geneticist Dr. Alexandra Blake, a forensic specialist working for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, finds herself caught in a web of intrigue when she takes on a cache of "Vietnamese trophy skulls"—smuggled into the U.S. by American soldiers 30 years earlier. In addition to cleaning the skulls before their return to Vietnam, Alex helps autopsy a John Doe who was recently killed with a bayonet. Andrews ups the ante with an old letter that Alex discovers in one of the skulls. The note hints at a civilian massacre during the Vietnam War and leads Alex to veteran Michael Carlisle, who served with Alex's late father in Vietnam. Alex becomes the target of a determined murderer, whose connections reach to the highest levels of government. The tight plot moves toward its explosive conclusion when a peaceful White House ceremony to return the skulls to Vietnam erupts into intense violence. Author tour.(May)
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Review

Praise for Lori Andrews and Sequence
 
"Andrews clearly knows her subject matter.... The novel generates plenty of excitement and should be recommended to fans of forensic-based thrillers in the Reichs and Cornwall mold."
---Booklist
 
"Alex is a fabulous protagonist, a beautiful, brilliant woman who tempers her toughness with a hidden emotional side. The science of genetics is temperately discussed, never overwhelming the balance of this expertly crafted mystery."
---Romantic Times BOOKreviews
 
"Sequence is a cutting-edge forensic thriller with a smart, edgy female protagonist."
---Chuck Hogan, author of Prince of Thieves
 
"Sequence is fast-paced and fascinating, the perfect combination of modern genetics and a beguiling investigator who traces her lineage right back to Sam Spade. You can't ask for anything more: Sequence is fun and important, too."
---Craig Nova, author of Cruisers
 
"Sequence is a marvelous, whip-smart thriller with a twist---a double helix sort of twist, that is. In Alexandra Blake, a brilliant and resolute D.C. geneticist with a taste for old cars and major commitment issues, Andrews has given us a protagonist who already feels like an old friend. Here's hoping she's with us for a long, long time."
---Dylan Schaffer, author of the Misdemeanor Man mysteries
 
"Sequence is a great combination of interesting science and likable characters."
---Elizabeth Becka, author of Trace Evidence

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Product Details

  • Series: Dr. Alexandra Blake Novels
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312352719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312352714
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lori Andrews is a law professor, a public interest lawyer and mystery novelist. She's taught at Princeton, written for a television legal drama, and advised governments around the world about emerging technologies. Now she's focusing on how social networks are changing our lives, for good and for ill.

Lori started her consumer activism when she was seven and her Ken doll went bald. Her letter to Mattel got action. She's been fighting for people's rights ever since.

A professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Lori frequently appears on television, including on Oprah, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and Nightline. The American Bar Association Journal calls her "a lawyer with a literary bent who has the scientific chops to rival any CSI investigator."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Alexandra Blake works at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology where she uses her knowledge of genetics to find bio-terror vaccines. She is also sometimes called upon to use her medical skills when a situation occurs. When the corpse of a man who died from a bayonet is brought to AFIP Alexandria is able to tell that he recently returned from Vietnam and further investigation into his past shows he helped broker a deal for the U.S. He successfully brokered a deal where Vietnam would sell the U.S. oil reserves, something that was important to the president who saw it as a way of healing wounds between the two countries.

American soldiers stationed in Nam when returning home sometimes brought back Vietnamese skulls with them. Now in a special White House ceremony the items are being returned to the Vietnam government. In one of the skulls, Alexandra finds a note saying that Americans conducted a massacre. Someone breaks into Alexandria's home while she is sleeping and tries to kill her before getting away and her office is ransacked. Her superiors believe it is her knowledge of the massacre that is causing someone to want her dead but the truth is much more explosive.

Although this is only Lori Andrews' second fiction book, her work is reminiscent of Patricia Cornwall novels. The heroine is a strong-willed, caring individual who doesn't hesitate to do what she believes is the right thing. She refuses to be intimidated by those who want to kill her and although she can't see the conspiracy at the highest level of government, when the time comes she makes a decision and acts on it knowing if things go wrong she could end up in jail or worse.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Verbtuoso on July 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's a commonplace of the mystery form: ex-policemen write police procedurals, lawyers write legal mysteries and doctors write medical thrillers. We're lucky that, in her second offering, the world's foremost expert on legal issues dealing with genetic material uses information from her day job to continue her top-notch series featuring hot blonde geneticist Alexandra Blake. Andrews shows an even surer hand this time around, and the plot crackles and zings as the body count mounts up. The story couldn't be more timely; the first visit of a Vietnamese president to the White House since the Vietnam War took place just after the book was released. Could the true-story subject of this book, trophy skulls brought back from the war by U.S. GI's, have been raised at that meeting? And again, between the story points we get more fascinating details on the building blocks of life and the clues left by our DNA. An exciting, sexy lead character, a plot taken to a frightening extreme, and Andrews' command of cutting edge science add up to a very satisfying read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hippolytos on July 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
SUMMARY: The second in Andrews's forensic geneticist Alexandra Blake novels finds the protagonist trying to discern the identities of several Vietnamese skulls in preparation for returning them to their home country in a political ceremony. A letter secreted in one of the skulls leads Alex to investigate further the circumstances of the deaths of the victims and, in the process, she discovers more about her father, who perished in the Vietnam War and uncovers an international plot with global ramifications.

WHAT YOU'LL LIKE: Andrews obviously knows the science and manages to incorporate it well into the plot without rendering it off-putting. The action sequences are able and occur at breakneck speed. Alex is a fun and likable heroine and a few of the secondary characters are intriguing and well-developed.

WHAT YOU WON'T: The plot is a mishmash of red herrings, some of which are interesting but discarded and others which are later resolved but serve no real purpose. The meat of the story resolves itself in a frankly ridiculous denouement which requires an incredible suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader. The villains are easily identifiable before they are revealed and are more caricatures than characters; their motives are plausible and chilling, but the action stemming from those motives is cartoonish.

BOTTOM LINE: An exciting and fascinating premise which was only marginally executed. Andrews is a talented fiction writer and the problems with this novel shouldn't discourage one from reading more of her work; the good outshines the laughable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Fitzpatrick on July 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The newest novel featuring Dr. Alex Blake, the hot geneticist and forensic expert, is certainly fast-paced -- hurling her from autopsy to VietNam, to a befuddled personal life, to White House politics, to her own physical danger. It isn't easy to write a simple synopsis of Silent Assassin since there so many interwoven subplots. The book's treatment of Americans who served in VietNam as well as today's Vietnamese is thoughtful and sensitive (a judgment I feel comfortable making since I was drafted and served in that war). As in her previous novel (Sequence), the attention to detail is superb. The bits and pieces of trivia you pick up along the way are downright fascinating. The writing is crisp and the excitement builds to a surprising conclusion. This is fast-paced action all the way. Alex and the other on-going characters continue to evolve slowly, layer by layer showing real growth and maturity in the author's development as a fiction writer. Ms. Andrews manages to keep interest without sacrificing credibility. I was already one of her fans and now I'm even more hooked on her work.
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