Who is Conrad Hirst?
Simon & Schuster, Nov 2007, $14.00, 227 pp.
Who is Conrad Hirst? He is a hitman who has killed scores of people for German crime boss Julius Eberhardt. Now at thirty-two after killing old Klemperer he realizes he doesn’t want to kill anymore. He knows only four people who knows who he is and what he has done; his handler Frank Dillon, Eberhardt, arms dealer Freddie Fischer and forger Fabio Gaddi. He plans to kill them all and walk away into the sunset.
As Frank is dying, he tells his killer Conrad that all these years together he lied to him. He isn’t sure what that means until he goes to see Eberhardt and sees he isn’t the man who recruited him almost a decade ago. He realizes Frank was serving two masters but he doesn’t know who the second master was. Freddie and Fabio have disappeared and are perhaps dead, two womenl have taken an unusual interest in him and spooks are spying on him. Conrad believe if he can’t walk away by convincing whoever is really in charge he is no threat, he will go down in a blaze of glory.
Conrad was a damaged young man when he was recruited; he has healed and he finally knows it. Readers will feel sorry for him even though he never asked questions about who he was killing and why or that he believed he worked for a crime boss. The question of who Conrad’s handlers really are will keep readers turning the pages of this mesmerizing crime thriller. The antagonist comes across like a little boy waking up from a terrible nightmare.