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The Fifth Assassin Hardcover – January 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780446553971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446553971
  • ASIN: 0446553972
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (610 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013: I consider myself a cagey reader, the literary equivalent of a wizened salmon, suspicious of fakery, wary of sloppy plotting and cliché, and ready to bail if I’m not lured in by page 50. So when Meltzer got his hooks in me by the end of page three, and never stopped reeling me in, I have to say I was impressed. I was also impressed that the hero of The Fifth Assassin (first introduced in The Inner Circle) isn’t a misanthrope cop or hard-drinking PI but a brainy archivist at the National Archives. Beecher White is a glorified librarian, for god's sake. But with a dash of Sherlock Holmes and a hint of Indiana Jones, White is a refreshingly quirky pursuer of justice, and his hunt for a would-be assassin—which takes us through history and through the secret spaces around Washington, DC—makes for a thrilling read, as well as a nice reminder that a page-turner can be smart, deeply researched, and just plain fun. --Neal Thompson

From Booklist

National archivist Beecher White (The Inner Circle, 2011) returns in another heart-pounding thriller set in Washington, D.C. As if he were spinning plates, Meltzer balances almost too many characters’ stories simultaneously: the evil president who is about to be assassinated; the elusive first love, Clementine, and her insane father, Nico; and Marshall, suspected killer and Beecher’s wounded childhood friend. Also in the mix are four seemingly random murders modeled on presidential assassinations and a secret spy ring initiated by George Washington. Beecher narrates sections of the story as he races from crime scenes to hospitals and even to Camp David, setting a frantic pace that will leave readers breathless and tense. Interlaced with Beecher’s narration are short snippets in an omniscient voice that matter-of-factly yet chillingly describes the killer, who calls himself the Knight and wears a white plastic mask. As the story nears its climax (Will there be a fifth presidential assassination?), we are still guessing about the Knight’s identity and his bizarre motives. This roller-coaster car should come with a seatbelt! --Jen Baker

More About the Author

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle and The Book of Fate, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and The Book of Lies. He is also the author of the nonfiction bestsellers, Heroes For My Son and Heroes For My Daughter, collecting heroes from Jim Henson, to Rosa Parks, to Mr. Rogers. Brad is also the host of the History Channel TV show, Brad Meltzer's Decoded -- one of the co-creators of the TV show, "Jack & Bobby" -- and is the #1 selling author of the critically-acclaimed comic books, Identity Crisis and Justice League of America, for which he won the prestigious Eisner Award. His newest book, The Fifth Assassin, will be published in January 2013.

Raised in Brooklyn and Miami, Brad is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School. You can find him regularly on facebook.com/bradmeltzer or at bradmeltzer.com.

For authenticity, The Book of Fate was researched with the help of former Presidents Clinton and Bush. He was selected by the Department of Homeland Security to brainstorm different ways that terrorists can attack the US. The Inner Circle is about a young archivist in the National Archives who finds out that George Washington's secret spy ring still exists to this very day.

His books have spent nearly a year on the bestseller lists, and have been translated into over 25 languages, from Hebrew to Bulgarian. In The Tenth Justice, the opening lines are: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a pig." In the Hebrew translation, it became: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a horse." We're not sure if it's a kosher thing or what.

Brad has played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's Celebrity and earned credit from Columbia Law School for writing his first book, which became The Tenth Justice. He also co-wrote the oath that the President of the United States gives to all AmeriCorps members. Before all of that, he got 24 rejection letters for his true first novel, which still sits on his shelf, published by Kinko's.

Brad currently lives in Florida with his wife, who's also an attorney.

Customer Reviews

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  • "Writing" 111
  • "Characters" 56
  • "Action" 28
  • "Suspense" 24
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 130 people found the following review helpful By hfj on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I really don't like being critical of authors because writing a book is hard work. And, according to his acknowledgements, this book took him 4 years. So I'm sorry but there are 2 main problems with this book.

First, for folks who didn't read the previous 2 books with these characters, he should have considered some recap or summary. Even though I did read the books ("The Book of Fate" introduced Nico Hadrian and "The Inner Circle" introduced the Culper Ring), I didn't remember everything from before and found myself thinking "where did THAT come from?!" (e.g., who is the dead First Lady that Nico keeps talking to?).

Secondly, mysteries are good but hopping all over the place to "create" mystery isn't good. Some chapters were 2 pages then you'd hop to 18 years ago for some snippet to explain why the main character feels the way he does about his friend. That whole 18 years ago story just seemed forced and not that relevant to the story.

When the book finally, painfully, ends, it turns out that the whole thing isn't finished. Probably for another book, which hopefully will be more tightly written than this jumble.

I've read all his books but unfortunately have to say this was my least favorite and one that I had to force myself to finish.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By EWebb on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Most of the time it takes me 50-60 pages to get into a book. I was turning the pages like a madman in this one by page 5.

This book has action and intrigue from the start to the surprising and chaotic end.

Meltzer and Baldacci seem to both be able to make librarians work as a heroes in an action/suspense book. Amazing! You take an awkward character who does what he needs to do when it is in the line...makes for great and interesting reading to anticipate how the character will adjust to the situations.

My only complaint is that the premise regarding the assassins is a bit far fetched and casts a bit of a "REALLY?" in your mind as you read the book. In a way it makes the story more interesting but a bit too unbelievable at the same time. Read and judge that part for yourself though.

This does not however detract from the fact that this is a really good action/suspense read that is imaginative and even though it is in a crowded writing genre comes off as original. The fact that Meltzer throws a lot of historical data into his books just makes them that much more enjoyable for me.

Thanks Mr. Meltzer for giving me a book good enough to distract me from the misery of a rainy day stuck at the airport.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By sparty on January 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read many of Brad's books and they are usually pretty good. I wish i could say the same about this book, but it isn't good. This is the literary equivalent of Ishtar...this book is unreadable. It jumps all over, and is just not one of Brad's better efforts. While the concept of the book sounded good, when you get into the book, it doesn't live up to any of the hype.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ann F. Andersen on January 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer was too disjointed---it jumped around too much. I was unable to follow, got frustrated and just quit reading.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sheepla VINE VOICE on January 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I tried to stick with this book, I really did. It quickly became apparent that if you haven't read The Inner Circle (I haven't) this book makes no sense at all. The characters were numerous and the plot was confusing but Brad Meltzer can write so I figured if I stuck with it, at some point I'd feel drawn in to the story. But when Beecher saw an important piece of evidence at Marshall's and Marshall's answer was "the police said wrap it in bubble wrap and bring it in" and Beecher actually believed that story, I had to stop reading. That's not exactly (at all) how police would handle a murder investigation. So I put the book aside without the slightest curiosity about what happened next or how the crimes were solved.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Arizona Charley on January 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author says he spent 4 years researching this book. The result is 4 years of his life wasted. One of the worst books I've ever read. Apparently this is a series because no one can know what's going on without reading his last book.
The plot is convoluted and confusing and really made no sense and is silly. The characters are poorly developed, shallow and have nothing to say.
Most of the questions in the plot were left unresolved, awaiting his next book I presume. No resolution at the end.
Have read several of Meltzer's prior books but never again.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By C. Stockland on January 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of the location and historical details are fun to read, but overall the writing style feels a bit amateurish. The story jumps around and clues are revealed without suspense and without any cleverness... The writing feels weak - characters reveal details and clues in awkward and unnatural conversations with other characters. This technique makes the reader feel stupid and takes the joy out of piecing bits of information together to try to figure out what's happening. I saw the author on TV talking about the book and wanted to like it, but was disappointed and stopped reading about 75 pages in. Sorry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Sammis on January 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought it would be an interesting anaysis, I found it more a farfetched fiction, I never finished it. I really dont recommend it.
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