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The Assassin The Grey Man And The Surgeon Kindle Edition
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much later in their lives. A heartless death of a loved one spurs one to call upon old
friends to avenge for honor the death of his wife. The heartless criminals who have
done this have behind their footsteps a trip of old but highly experienced warriors
who dissect the enemy patterns for a opportune time to serve a cold dish w/o relish
I highly recommend the books written by Stansfield, but not by Curtis.
The plot is actually pretty good. 3 guys, past their prime, each having a specialty, knocking off the rust for one more mission. The Assassin is a master of guns, having a super human level of accuracy with just about any gun. The Grey Man is essentially a spy, but one that blends in to any situation and essentially hides in plain sight. He's also a master at information gathering, hacking and general trinkets of espionage. The Surgeon (aka Surge) is a master of hand to hand combat.
So The Assassin's wife is murdered by an up and coming drug lord in London. The Assassin recruits The Grey Man and Surge (they have all known each other most of their careers) to help out with the revenge mission, as well as the Assassin's son Jon albeit in a smaller role.
I liked the way the author explained how The Grey Man and Surge came to be who they are. He also went into some interesting details about how the Grey Man uses and defeats various security measures for computers, listening devices, etc. I liked the sub-plot of Surge going from being a lean mean fighting machine to an overweight drunk and then getting his mojo back for one last mission.
Now let me move on to what wasn't so good...
First of all, the grammar and spelling are atrocious. My guess is that an editor never once even glanced over this thing, and if he did he should consider another line of work.
But that alone won't ruin a good story. What kept this book from realizing it's potential was that the characters themselves just aren't very fleshed out. The entire idea of the book is The Assassin avenging his wife's murder. Yet very few sentences are devoted to explaining his wife before her murder, or their relationship at all. How are we supposed to care about his wife if we never get to know her? And how are we supposed to believe that The Assassin cares about his wife if the author won't let us peek into their relationship or at least the emotions that The Assassin feels for her? Simply getting revenge on those responsible is not enough, we need to really feel why this issue matters and we never do. It just seems like it's kind of thrown in as an arbitrary reason for these 3 old timers to start kicking butts again. This was a missed opportunity that could have given the book an emotional punch that it lacks.
The same issue exists for The Assassin's son, Jon. We never get to know much about Jon except that he's attending college and agrees to help his dad out with the revenge mission. In fact, when it came time for Jon to make a decision about whether or not he would agree to be a part of this mission or to simply stay out of it, Jon essentially just says he'll help out because, "Screw it, why not?" Again, here's another missed chance for the author to bring in some emotion. Nothing was really said about Jon grieving his mother or wanting revenge for himself, the author just addresses the entire issue with a "What better things have I got to do?" Not good enough.
There are also some inconsistencies and other things that just aren't spelled out very well, which I will go over in more detail in the section that contains spoilers. At the very bottom of the review I'll write a summary of the book with no spoilers...
SPOILER ALERT... the below section contains spoilers...
There are some inconsistencies in the book that rob it of it's believability. Example #1... The Assassin sends his son Jon to a bar to meet with Surge for the first time so that Jon can explain to him that his dad needs Surge for another mission. Surge, who is an out of shape and overweight drunk in his 50's, gets into a bar fight with a much bigger, much younger guy and Surge knocks the guy out no problem. Now you would think Jon would be impressed by this, but later on in the chapter he questions his dad for even trying to recruit Surge saying "He looks like he could barely pop the top off his beer." Did Jon not clearly see what even an out of shape Surge is capable of? Yet here he is questioning Surge.... it's almost like the author wrote the bar fight in later and forgot that Jon had questioned Surge's abilities later in the chapter.
Later, after Surge has gotten rid of the beer belly and man boobs and his whipped himself back into fantastic shape, and is shown to be able to defeat just about anyone in a fist fight with his superhuman reflexes, strength and martial arts experience, there's a scene where Surge blindly charges a bad guy and the guy knocks him out with the butt of a pistol in one swing. Just like that, no problem, all of Surge's experience and hand-to-hand prowess is thrown out the window in one swing.
Surge also sparks a love interest with a woman, although he keeps her at arm's length for her own safety and doesn't really let her know what kind of a fighting genius he really is. The farthest this romance ever goes is them having a cup of coffee and sparring together in a dojo, that is until Surge defends her honor against a bully boxing champion in the dojo, knocking the guy out. Well now the secret's out and Surge tells her that some very bad men (the drug lord and his henchmen) are after him and that she won't be safe around him. Out of nowhere, they both agree that they'll get married once the mission is over. What? They went from having a cup of coffee and exchanging flirtatious glances while sparring to vowing to spend their lives together? This was a massive jump in their romance that made no sense.
SUMMARY: This was a potentially good novel with a few flashes of greatness, but the lack of emotion and the behavioral inconsistencies made it hard for me to immerse myself into the story the author created. It felt lazy and rushed. A good editor and thorough re-write of the inconsistencies, as well as fleshing out The Assassin's and Jon's back stories and injecting some emotion and conviction into their actions could see this rating bumped to a solid 4 stars, but I can't give it more than 2 as it stands.
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disappointed would not purchase from this author
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