"The Assassins" (St. Martin's), by Gayle Lynds
Gayle Lynds proves she's a master of the modern cold-war spy thriller with her latest novel, "The Assassins."
The duplicity begins as six master assassins rob a Baghdad museum to recover money owed to them by Saddam Hussein. Judd Ryder has given up the spy game, but that changes when he arrives at his home one evening to see a man who looks like him leave his residence and get hit by a car. Who was the intended target? Ryder or the stranger?
Ryder's retirement is over.
The six assassins each hold a piece of a priceless limestone tablet, and they begin to turn on each other. Ryder and CIA trainee Eva Blake become targets because they were the last ones to see the elusive killer known as the Carnivore, and he has several pieces the others are seeking. It's believed they know the Carnivore's hiding place.
Personal feelings have to be pushed aside, and enemies will be forced to work together if they are going to find answers and survive.
Lynds keeps readers guessing, and the end result feels like several novels bound together in one terrific package. The fast pace and twists are in abundance, but the sheer complexity of the narrative forces readers to think while enjoying the ride.
Treachery, double-crosses and a treasure straight from history add up to a thrilling novel.