From the publisher:

Framed and on the run for his life, a former Secret Service agent discovers how far some men will go to grasp the highest office in the land in this electrifying tale from the author of The Night Agent—a propulsive political thriller reminiscent of the best early Baldacci and Grisham novels.

As a Secret Service agent, Nick Averose spent a decade protecting the most powerful men and women in America and developed a unique gift: the ability to think like an assassin. Now, he uses that skill in a little-known but crucial job. As a “red teamer,” he poses as a threat, testing the security around our highest officials to find vulnerabilities—before our enemies can. He is a mock killer, capable of slipping past even the best defenses.

His latest assignment is to assess the security surrounding the former CIA director at his DC area home. But soon after he breaches the man’s study, the home’s inner sanctum, Nick finds himself entangled in a vicious crime that will shake Washington to its foundations—as all the evidence points to Nick.

Nick knows he’s the perfect scapegoat. But who is framing him, and why? To clear his name, he must find the truth—a search that leads to a dark conspiracy whose roots stretch back decades. The prize is the most powerful position in the world: the Oval Office.

To save himself and the people he loves, Nick must stop the men who rule Washington before they bury him along with their secrets.

Nick Averose was in his previous occupation a Secret Service agent dedicating his talents to safeguarding the lives of the rich and powerful in the United States. He developed, through his experience, the ability to think like the assassins he was guarding against. Today Nick is his own boss and sells his services to those same people he guarded. The difference now is that he is hired to find holes in the systems set up as protection by these people and suggest ways to change those to a more secure setup.

The story opens as Nick is attempting to bypass the systems set up by the former director of the CIA to protect himself. He is successful, and then when about to brief the man on what he has found and how to fix it discovers that individual unconscious. Nick leaves and tries to resurrect all the material he was issued to assure he was not blamed for the attempt but discovers that it has all disappeared. Nick then realizes that he has been set up to take the blame for the actual murder of the ex CIA director.

Questions of why he has been set up and by whom are answered during a fascinating read which continues Matthew Quirk’s excellent reputation as the author of carefully thought out and well-plotted novels. The subsidiary characters in the novel include Nick’s wife, his office assistant and the woman that came to his office to hire him to try and penetrate the defense of Malcom Widener, the target of his action.

Quirk utilizes his opinion of the real transition of power in US politics by painting a picture of closed-door sessions, the use of massive amounts of money to solidify deals and the ideas presented to the electorate actually casting votes in elections. The reason given for the actual killing of Widener is tied into the author’s opinion of real politics and adds to the draw of the book.

4/2020 Paul Lane

HOUR OF THE ASSASSIN by Matthew Quirk. William Morrow (March 31, 2020). ISBN: 978-0062875495. 352p.



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