Assassin’s Strike

Mysterious Book Report No. 413

by John Dwaine McKenna

If you recognize the names Gabriel Allon, Bob Swagger, or Jason Bourne, you’re gonna love David Slayton.  He’s the protagonist and off-the-books secret agent good guy in Ward Larsen’s award-winning series featuring the lone wolf operator and notorious assassin.

Assassin’s Strike, (Forge, $27.99, 336 pages, ISBN 978-0-76539156-8) by Ward Larsen, is the seventh and latest in the electrifying, kinetic and attention-grabbing thriller series.  It opens with a secret meeting between the presidents of Russia and Iran in Damascus, Syria.  The only persons in the room are the two presidents and two interpreters, because they are there to discuss the transfer of certain secret technologies that are outlawed in the rest of the world . . . the use of which is a war crime, as well as a crime against humanity.  Shortly after the meeting ends, the Iranian interpreter is thrown to her death in front of a terrified Ludmilla Kravchuk—President Petrov’s interpreter—who assumes that she’s next, and runs for her life. She takes refuge with an old acquaintance in the city and tries to contact and solicit help from the Americans.  She holes up and waits, hoping and worrying, praying for rescue before Syrian police or the Russians find her.

In America, word of the interpreter’s defection reaches the highest levels of the intel community . . . where top CIA officials are desperate to learn what took place at the clandestine meeting, and why.  They task an unofficial operator and legendary assassin named David Slayton to attempt the rescue of a middle-aged woman who’s untrained for combat operations and basically an intellectual, from deep inside a war-torn country while the full police resources of two nations try to stop them.

As things are happening in Syria, a cattle herder and his son suffer horrifying deaths in Darfur, Africa, when they stumble upon a collection of chemical weapons, hidden in a remote, lawless area of the drought-stricken and war-ravaged nation.

Although seemingly random and unrelated events taking place on two different continents, the killings in Africa are linked to Slayton’s mission in the Middle East.  They’re all being orchestrated by a shadowy figure who dreams of being the fifth Rashidun of Islam.  A man who intends to unite the religion by igniting a war throughout the region with a massive false flag attack . . . an attack that will change the world and elevate a notorious clan to power.  The only thing standing in his way is a single individual named David Slayton in this high-octane thrill-fest that will leave you standing on your chair and cheering for the quiet hero and the red, white and blue!

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