Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Accident Man-Tom Cain

The Accident Man
Tom Cain
Viking, Feb 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780670018499

In 1997 free lance assassin Samuel Carver receives money and instructions to perform a hit on a dangerous terrorist that must look like an accident. On the night of 31 August he sets up his operation to occur in a Paris tunnel. A speeding black Mercedes enters the tunnel only to have the driver seemingly lose control and crash into a supporting pillar. A passenger dies in the wreckage.

Tom feels good not because of mission accomplished but a nasty killer is dead. However, his euphoria ends immediately when a Russian assassin tries to kill him. He escapes barely even as he knows those who hired him wanted him dead, but cannot fathom why until he learns the identity of the deadly terrorist he killed. Samuel murdered Princess Diana. Stunned by the set up and feeling remorse, he also knows they will keep coming after him to silence him because an accident not a homicide must be the official finding in the death of the Princess. Carver realizes how difficult it will prove to find out who wanted Diana dead and him out of the way as he works for several espionage agencies, but though they will cover their aholes, he vows to find and kill the mastermind.

This is a fascinating concept that works due to the lead protagonist who in spite of his occupation as a hit man feels remorse once he realizes who he killed; he only goes after killers. The story line is at its best when Samuel struggles with his efforts to investigate the top espionage agencies who hire him. A romantic subplot between the hit man and a Russian operative seems out of place, as the hero has enough to contend with. Still thriller readers will appreciate the exhilarating THE ACCIDENT MAN.

Harriet Klausner