Insecure Writer’s Support Group – I’m back. For the last several months I’ve been reassessing, rebuilding, and paring down to what is important to me as a woman and as a writer. For a long while I had planned to drop the writing gig. A part of me was glad to be free of the pressures and commitments. It was good to just BE. Really good.
Now that I feel the earth back under my feet again, there is a niggly sort of feeling creeping into my thoughts and decision processes. I recognized the source. It was Bart. If you don’t remember him from my “Forbidden” years, hang on. The little green varmint will resume his colorful antics.
For today, my offering to the IWSG is a book review. The Former Assassin is an excellent read. The author Nikki Stern has the best talent for description that, instead of losing the reader in endless flowery text, she pulls you seductively into the depth of the plot and characters.
The Former Assassin
by Nikki Stern
on Tour August 1-31, 2018
Susan Foster wants to retire. Her boss wants her dead.
After decades as Victor Kemp’s off-the books killer, Suzanne finally quits. Not until five years later does Kemp discover how thoroughly she’s deceived him. Determined to punish her, he tracks her to Wales to watch her die. Instead, he walks into a trap.
Believing themselves safe at last, Suzanne and her family relocate to London, where she hopes to find the peace that has eluded her for so long. Her son is engaged to a nobleman’s daughter; her husband has a good job with British Intelligence. Yet she still struggles with restless dreams and the premonition that her nemesis has survived.
He has: Kemp, though severely injured, is rebuilding his empire and plotting revenge. He’s prepared to risk everything to end the former assassin. He may not be the only one.
Suzanne has no choice: to protect those she loves, she will be forced to kill again. Assassins, it seems, can never retire.
“An explosive page-turner which owes its momentum to it two well-drawn opponents and a conflict that goes beyond good-vs.-evil.” ~IndieReader, Four Star review
“Later turns in the smashing final act come at a searing pace.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“Keeps readers guessing the outcome right up to its conclusion.” ~D. Donovan Midwest Book Review
Book Review, by F. Stone
The first line of this book grabbed me. “Today is not a good day to die.”
The Former Assassin is suspenseful, well written, and has interesting characters. I particularly liked the author’s talent for description. Nikki Stern achieves the perfect balance of immersing the reader into the scene and the mind of the characters without losing the sense of suspense.
In my opinion, The Former Assassin is more character based than action. However, because the reader becomes intimately connected to the former assassin’s struggle with her terrible past, the reader is motivated to see if Suzanne can survive her profession of being a cold-blooded killer. Does she have the strength and courage to face how morally corrupt she has become? When she learns the people she dearly loves have been murdered, all seems lost. Suzanne’s heart, once on the verge of walking away from her life of crime, sizzles with hatred for her corrupt boss, Victor Kemp.
Kemp’s policy is to eliminate not just his enemies, but all traces of their connection. No one is allowed to leave his employment. When Suzanne declares retirement and goes into hiding, he desperately needs to destroy her. She knows every detail of his criminal activity. The hunt reaches fever pitch when his son is murdered.
Readers who enjoy interesting characters will love The Former Assassin. This book is a perfect blend of characters dealing with intense internal moral issues, working to perfect their skill as an unstoppable sharpshooter, and struggling to survive a no-win situation.
I give The Former Assassin 4.5 stars. Half a star is ‘knocked off’ as, in spite of her terrible family life, I couldn’t understand what drove Suzanne to be a heartless killer for many years . Other readers may find her motives realistic.
Message received from Nikki Stern: Thanks so much for the review! Please let your readers know I’m offering specials to book clubbers as well.
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Published by: Ruthenia Press
Publication Date: January 8, 2018
Number of Pages: 304
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Today is not a good day to die.
No day is, not really. We humans are hard-wired to survive. By most standards, though, this morning is exceptional. The weather is balmy, even for May. The fierce winds that often pound the Welsh coastline have remained offshore. Purple heather blankets the emerald cliffs that encircle Bristol Bay. Small breakers gently lap the shoreline and wash the sand clean of debris. The water sparkles in the sunlight. Shades of azure and aquamarine yield to cyan and lapis further out. In the distance, the sea meets a cerulean sky just where the earth curves. No slate clouds gather at the horizon. All is calm.
Nothing suggested that today I would find myself on a bench in one of the most breathtaking spots in the world with a gun to my head, held by a predator who speaks just two words: “Don’t move.”
Excerpt from The Former Assassin by Nikki Stern. Copyright © 2018 by Nikki Stern. Reproduced with permission from Nikki Stern. All rights reserved.
Nikki is the author of two works of non-fiction: HOPE IN SMALL DOSES, a 2015 Eric Hoffer finalist for books that provoke, inspire and redirect thought, and BECAUSE I SAY SO: MORAL AUTHORITY’S DANGEROUS APPEAL, as well as dozens of short stories. She is co-author on the Cafe Noir interactive murder mystery series, published by Samuel French. Nikki’s suspense novel, THE FORMER ASSASSIN has garnered strong reviews, including a four-star rating from Indie Reader. She’s working on a mystery/sci-fi series starring an unorthodox crime fighter named Samantha Tate. When she’s not writing about strong complex women, Nikki is working with several non-profits, taking Pilates classes, and attending to the needs of her dog, Molly.
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nikki Stern. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 1, 2018 and runs through September 1, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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