Some of you may be wondering why it took so long for me to write a review of Alastair Reynolds’s ‘On The Steel Breeze’. The book has been out for almost two weeks now and I only posted the review yesterday. Well, besides being a very long story that takes days to read I also snuck in some Frederick Forsyth in between. In particular, I have been reading his latest thriller ‘The Kill List’ which I think is worthy of a proper review despite not being Science-Fiction.
Ever since ‘The Day of the Jackal’ Forsyth’s thriller have both been absolutely brilliant reads as well as very controversial. The author has incredible skills in creating realism through showing the actions and planning of the characters in his storylines. As those storylines involve assassinations, smuggling , counter-intelligence and organizing coup d’état you can imagine that some governments at least raised an eyebrow or two over the decades.
The Kill List is about eliminating terrorists, the kill list itself refers to a list kept by the US government of everyone deemed dangerous and worthy of being summarily eliminated through drone strikes, special ops or betrayal. The main character of The Kill List is The Tracker, who has been ordered to liquidate a terrorist called The Preacher. On the internet The Preacher has been giving radicalized sermons while advising his followers that the only way to beat the intelligence agencies is through Lone Wolf attacks. And so The Tracker is in a race against time as attacks occur in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In an eerie echo of The Day of the Jackal protagonist The Tracker suggest that first he needs to get a name, and with that name he needs to get a face.
The Kill List is a good book, but not a great book. It quickly becomes clear that the author uses a more snappy writing style whereby he doesn’t go into the same amount of detail about intelligence gathering and espionage as he did before. I think that is a shame because of the lack of effort on the part of the protagonist also means that the payoff at the end is less rewarding. The story makes some leaps here and there to try and keep think fresh but sometimes you can still guess where the author is going with his story. The Kill List doesn’t really play into a larger universe Frederick Forsyth has previously created but I do hope that we will read more about The Tracker in the future.
Rumor has it a movie adaption of The Kill List maybe in the works with Rupert Sanders directing.
Score; 7.8 / 10.