The Hidden Assassins by Robert Wilson

The Hidden Assassins by Robert Wilson

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover, 453 pages, 2006

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: I like a good thriller, and the fact that it was set somewhere that I don’t often read about (Spain) was also a motivator.

Synopsis: Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón is investigating an unusual murder, in which the body has been stripped of all means of identification in a very professional manner, when the town of Seville, Spain, is sent into a panic from a massive explosion. It looks like a terrorist attack, but Falcón is about to discover that nothing is as it seems in a world where mind games matter as much as, if not more than, the horrible physical realities they inflict upon innocent lives.

Why you should read this book: While terrorism might seem like an obvious topic to fiction readers after the events of recent years, to a writer it must look like a nightmare of logistics: how to fit in all the nuances of these ideas and actions while still telling a readable story? Wilson chose not to shy away from the topic and refused to dumb it down, presenting the reader with an incredibly detailed plot that wouldn’t seem believable presented in any other form. If you want an incredibly smart thriller rather than a throw-away beach read, The Hidden Assassins is a good bet. It will keep you thinking the whole way through, shock you with well-thought-out theories, and absolutely keep you on your toes until the final heart-pounding scenes. Wilson is definitely in a class all his own in the thriller/suspense genre, because most authors wouldn’t dare attempt to put together something this complicated, never mind be able to pull it off in the way that Wilson does.

Why you should avoid this book: Between the subject matter (terrorism, religion, politics, general philosophy, other forms of violence, affairs, etc.), The Hidden Assassins is mentally draining. I’ve never had to pay so much attention while reading a suspense novel, because every single paragraph seems to be packed with new information and ideas. It also really helps if you’re up on international news, because there are minimal explanations of real-life situations and politics.

Opening paragraph:

‘So, how’s your new job going?’ asked Najib.

Fabulous quotes:

‘That’s right,’ said Calderón, irritated by her. ‘You can’t stay out all night because that is making a complete joke out of the institution.’
‘What’s the cut-off point between a “serious” marriage and a “joke” one?’ asked Marisa. ‘Three o’clock…three thirty? No. That’s OK. I think by four o’clock it’s ridiculous. By four thirty it is a complete joke. By six, six thirty…it’s a farce.’
‘By six it’s a tragedy,’ said Calderón, searching the floor madly.

It was true. He was desperate. Desperate for revenge. He’d only ever heard tales of the monstrousness of this horrific emotion. He had not been prepared for the way it found every crevice of the body. His organs screamed for it. His bones howled with it. His joints ground with it. His blood seethed with it. It was so intolerable that he had to get it out of himself.

Also recommended: The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer; Fever by Sean Rowe; The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly.

Also by this author: The Vanished Hands; The Blind Man of Seville; The Company of Strangers; A Small Death in Lisbon; Blood is Dirt; The Big Killing; Instruments of Darkness.

Would I read more by this author? Maybe. While it was a great book, I usually turn to the genre for a lighter, quicker read.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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