I had been waiting for this book since reading the previous Tom Wood “The Final Hour” in July 2017 on holiday. This summer had high hopes, England were through to the semi-finals of the World Cup, Roger Federer (my favorite tennis player) was through to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and Tom Wood’s new book was out soon.
Then it all went so, so wrong, England crashed out of the World Cup by losing to Croatia, Roger Federer lost to Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon. It was all left to Tom Wood to bring out a book that would be a decent read, maybe even better than the previous book “The Final Hour”.
Victor the Assassin
Tom Wood’s books are all about the assassin Victor. An ice cool hit man who like Jack Reacher has a skill set mainly centered around paranoia as there is always someone ready to kill him. The only way for him to stay alive is to be overly careful, always on the look out for enemies, never going a direct route to his destination just in case. Victor is more vicious than Jack Reacher, he wouldn’t think twice about killing you even if you had tried to help him. In this new book, Victor is a raw killing machine, more so that previous books. He covers his tracks, killing people, if it means that these people may try to eliminate him at a later date if he had kept them alive.
This book is the best crime thriller of 2018. Yes Hellbent was top of this list for 2018, this has now changed. Tom Wood has brought in a thriller that keeps you engaged all the way through, right until the end.
Victor is now his own man, arranging contracts through his broker himself rather than working for the CIA to fulfill their obligations. The book starts with Victor looking to purchase a gun, the people who are selling the gun are trying to set Victor up. This leads into a fight, killings and the typical Victor self-preservation instincts. The scene is set so well, a bit like a western, Clint Eastwood style with an outlaw taking on multiple cowboys.
The main reason why this book is so much better than other crime thrillers is the plot. Victor is tasked with taking down a Cartel drug leader who is at logger heads with their sister (also a Cartel Drug lord) across the city. The problem is the contract is set up by one sister against the other, hoping that when the other sister is killed by Victor, the city will be back to normal and peaceful. This is a family war that Victor is now involved with, outside of his familiar European territory and in a city that seems to have no real laws. Everyone is potentially an enemy to Victor, who can’t blend in as easy, which only heightens his surveillance skills even more.
Is there any action?
The action in this book is intense, from the opening page set up to the final end scene we are treated to gun battles, martial arts, wrestling and genuine skilled assassins trying to kill. One of the double-cross moments in the book is that Victor is meant to be the only person on this kill contract but the person who orders the hit has also without Victors knowledge hired another assassin. This Assassin is exactly like Victor, highly trained, enjoys the kill and ready to get to the Cartel Drug lord before Victor does. As you can probably guess, the new assassin decides to go after Victor as well, so that they can get all the money from the job.
The pace of the book and the intriguing character of Victor means that for me this is the best book of the year so far. Jack Reacher fans will be able to enjoy this book before the latest Lee Child book “Past tense” comes out. I would argue that Victor is a better character than Jack Reacher as we don’t know Victor’s past yet. In this book, some moments come back from the past every now and again to make you wonder how he got to where he is but we don’t yet know what made him an assassin in the first place.
The action is hard and gritty, people are shot in the knee, thrown through windows, shot in the back of the head, strangled, drowned, you name it. Guns are described intricately, scenes are laid out so that you imagine you are there in the hot city of Guatemala. I think Tom Wood has brought out all his skills in this book to make every Jack Reacher fan want to start the Victor series.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.