Conflict of Interest Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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It's a fast-paced read with plenty of twists and surprises. Lauryn Christopher has a natural voice, giving heart to a character that would be otherwise unsympathetic. And, like many other bestseller-quality entertainment, Christopher gives us an insider's look at a world few of us would venture into ourselves. Not many of us would want to live there--but Christopher certainly does make it a great place to visit.
"Conflict of Interest" has a couple things that made the story unique. First is the protagonist, Meg Harrison. The stereotypical hit-person is a lone-wolf man. He'll be amoral (almost a requirement for the job), or a psychopath as well as cold and unemotional. He'll often live off-the-grid or, if not, have a cover completely separate from his life as a assassin, with frequent "business trips" as an explanation for his disappearances to perform his contract killings.
Meg's situation couldn't be more different from the stereotype. Not only are there the obvious differences we'd expect because of gender, but her approach itself is much different. She operates as a business, with legitimate (although not totally unrelated) legal activities filling the time between her more clandestine jobs. This has many advantages with easy laundering of the money from her illegal activities one of the biggest.
Although largely unemotional about what she does, we find Meg doesn't fit the norm, as she discovers the identity of her latest victim-to-be. As a reader we're setup to want Meg's assignment to be successful, with the story conflict turning out to be just how she should define success this time around. With "Conflict of Interest,: Christopher turns the hit-man formula on its head, and in doing so gives us a surprising and entertaining read.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Part of it, of course, is because Christopher gives us just enough childhood backstory to understand why Megan Harris (as she calls her assassin alter-ego) was able to make this particular career choice. A bigamist father. Abandonment issues. A hint of an abusive past boyfriend.
There's more to it than that though. Megan Harris/Margaret Harrison is no cookie-cutter character. She doesn't charge after big, bad guys in high heels or, thank goodness, expect Manly Good-Guy to save her bacon. While she is quite aware of the many professional assets she brings to the job of hunting (and killing) people, she's cognizant of her weaknesses. For one thing, she isn't good at tailing people and says so. She is good, however, at tracking finances, weaving seamlessly through cyber-space to learn potential victims' habits, blending into the environment, and at keeping her careers and her private life separate. She has studied, trained, and keeps fit in order to do the best job for her clientelle.
In short, she takes pride in her work.
But sometimes her lives don't stay separate. When Megan is hired by a client to kill his professional rival, it seems like an easy job. . . until Megan learns the client has committed a big no-no. He lied. To his assassin, which is apparently a breach of client-assassin protocol. (If she were a psychotherapist she might be less surprised. We get lied to all the time. No biggee.)
Even worse: the target? Megan's half-sister.
To go any further would be to risk spoilers. Bottom line: "Conflict Of Interest" is well-written, intricately plotted, and full of surprises. I'll be looking for Megan's next adventure!
Donna White Glaser