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The Kill List Hardcover – August 20, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This subpar war-on-terror thriller from Diamond Dagger Award–winner Forsyth, with its unknowable outcome, offers less suspense than his Edgar-winning debut, The Day of the Jackal, where the ending is never in doubt. A Muslim extremist, known only as the Preacher, is spreading the message of violent jihad via English-language videos, and his acolytes have begun targeting public officials in the U.S. and the U.K. The job of stopping him falls to Kit Carson, an ex-Marine now part of a super-secret agency in Virginia called Technical Operations Support Activity. Carson, who's known as the Tracker, assembles an assortment of allies straight out of a Mission Impossible script, including a reclusive teenager who's a master hacker employed to trace the Preacher. Some readers will wonder why Forsyth bothered to give Carson a personal incentive to complete the mission. Others will find a lack of memorable characters an obstacle to genuine engagement. Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Literary Agency. (Aug.)

From Booklist

A retired marine general is gunned down by an unknown assassin—collateral damage, apparently, in an attack on a U.S. senator. The general’s son, code-named the Tracker, is part of a top-secret government agency responsible for locating, and eliminating (without benefit of trial), people on the so-called “kill list” of enemies of the U.S. The Tracker knows almost nothing about the assassin, not even his name, but he is determined to find him, no matter the cost. Imagine Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal told almost entirely from the point of view of investigator Claude Lebel, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the author’s approach here: this is a procedural told in a straightforward, reportorial style. Forsyth has always been a no-nonsense writer, eschewing flashy prose in favor of documentary realism, incorporating real-world elements into his stories (the Tracker and his adversary are made up, but the government agency is based in reality). No one writes them quite like Forsyth, and this more than meets his usual high standards. --David Pitt

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399165274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399165276
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (674 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Frederick Forsyth is the author of fifteen novels and short-story collections. He lives in England.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Forsyth came to fame in 1971 with The Day of the Jackal, a gripping thriller about the search for an anonymous contract killer who had been paid to assassinate French president Charles De Gaulle. He deserved the fame he got for the book because it really was good! That was his second book and first novel. Since then, a string of others has followed of exceptionally high quality. So here we are , seventeen books and fourteen novels later,and here is The Kill List, which is another knockout spy thriller by Forsyth.

You don't read Forsyth novels for lush description or depth of the character development. Basically, you read them for plot. Forsyth is a pro at laying out exciting but credible high action narratives, based on the most recent of events and thus exceedingly relevant. He's an info wonk who knows and can explicate, without excess verbiage, the details that lend credence to his sometimes exceedingly complicated stories: in this current one, the technology of modern long distance spying, the ins and outs of politics (national and international), what to do if you forced to negotiate with Somali pirates, how to carry off a successful high risk "black op" while keeping it well below the radar screen.

Forsyth is a bare bones, no nonsense kind of writer who tells you only as much about his protagonists as you need in order to understand what they're doing and why they did it. He's not all that interested in local color but a fair amount of it still appears in his novels any way because his plots move across colorful and often dangerous terrains.

Kill List is about the hunt for an Arab terrorist, named the "Preacher," who has been inciting young Muslims in the United States and Britain to commit random individual acts of terrorism.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read many of Frederick Forsyth's books , but after awhile found them formulaic. Until now, that is, 'the Kill List' is a superb thriller. It s full of useful facts that we might never hear about except for Forsyth. He doesn't give us the psychology, instead he loves the plotting, based on detailed research. He spends a great deal of time in somebody's libraries.His books are full of information about the technical details. In this novel we learn of the CIA, MI-5 and MI-6, the Mossad, and other intelligence agencies. We learn how they work, how they are staffed, how they make decisions, and what the secret life of a spy is like. His morality is a harsh one: the world is made up of predators and prey, and only the strong survive.

In this novel we meet the 'Tracker', a soldier who specializes in finding murderers and terrorists. He works for a secret branch in the US. He is given an order to find and eliminate the 'Preacher', a Jidahist who is so fluent and mesmerizing that his followers become killers. We go from the US to Somalia, to Israel, London and many places in-between. All the time we are fastened to our seats, we never know what will occur next. However, the story is methodical as is Forsyth's wont. Good and evil and only the good survive. Side stories give us a glimpse into the lives of those we meet, but the main goal is to get the'Preacher'. We find out how and why this man, the 'Preacher' was born,and what made him a killer. Each page is filled with so much information and detail,you must keep alert. This is a real spy/thriller novel, and one to be considered one of Forsyth's best.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 08-10-13
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By N. Bilmes VINE VOICE on June 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Kill List" sees Frederick Forsyth return to the formula that kicked off his career when "Day of the Jackal" was published about 40 years ago. Both "Kill List"and "Jackal" focus on a manhunt across the world for a lethal killer. In Jackal the killer was an assassin for hire; in "Kill List" the target is an "Islamic Extremist Internet Preacher" known as "The Preacher." Both books follow the manhunt as it's conducted by one-man, who in the new book is an Ex-Marine with the personality of a bar of Ivory Soap, and is on loan to an extra-clandestine CIA group.

"Kill List' is nowhere near as good as "Jackal," but it is a solid book. The story moves precisely along, with very few action sequences, but lots of behind the scenes manipulations. Sometimes it reads like a chess match and because of this the book isn't very exciting. As a matter of fact, it's kind of dull. I tolerated the dullness because the book was only 330 pages long, but if it went on much longer I would've skimmed. None of the characters has much, if any, personality. The ending is kind of a letdown as well...

It's a good thriller for someone with a heart condition that shouldn't be exacerbated.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Larry VINE VOICE on June 22, 2013
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One of my favorite thrillers of all time is THE DAY OF THE JACKEL. It is a brilliant novel- with a pulse-pounding plot that gets increasingly fast paced as we near the ending. Knowing that Charles DeGaulle was not assassinated did not matter as the suspense continued to build. Characters were well rounded and we truly sympathized with the antihero assassin. It is and demands to be on every best novel list in the genre. To be honest, the author of that book is not at all the same type of writer.
In THE KILL LIST, we follow The Tracker aka Colonel Christopher "Kit" Carson as he organizes a highly secret search to find and kill a person known as The Preacher. This individual has placed on the internet videos of himself encouraging the faithful to kill one important person in their community then die themselves. His perfect English motivates multiple young Arabs to commit murder in the US and Great Britain. In an effort to silence him, The Tracker utilizes everything at his disposal in an effort to find this elusive criminal and terminate him. What he has to utilize is considerable including the CIA and multiple special ops including those of Britain and Israel. In a very matter of fact way, Frederick Forsyth describes how the mission progresses in tedious tradecraft detail.
There is so much technical detail in this `novel' that the reader might feel more like they are reading a covert ops journal. There is virtually no character development or sympathetic characters of any kind. There is little suspense as we are left to little doubt as to the final outcome of this tedious overwrought `novel'. Read a nonfiction work if you are interested in the technique of tracking terrorists. Avoid this one.
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