A principled assassin takes on the brass of a quasi-NRA outfit in newcomer Friedman's first fiction—a pulpish update of Rogue Male. Days after Vietnamese restauranteur Tran Van Duong's surviving daughter is killed by a sniper in a schoolyard massacre, he sees George Herbert Brenden, spokesman for the National Association of Gun Owners (NAGO), arguing on TV against gun control—and determines to have Brenden killed. Through his old Vietnam buddy Peter Weston, Tran hires Eliot Brod, a househusband/contract killer who takes only jobs he believes in. Eliot ambushes Brenden in a Boston garage, shoots him (with a handgun, per Tran's request), and gets away without leaving a trace of evidence for homicide Lt. Manny Bigelow—although then the fun begins, as NAGO president Patrick Taylor (who likes to relax by emptying rounds into the faces of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King) goes after Eliot himself. Even as Taylor's delegation—NAGO security chief Jamison Connors, oafish Tadeusz Szczepanski, muscleman Big Mike Mooney, and Eagle Scout Kenneth Hawks—is closing in on Tran and Weston, Tran tunes in his TV to Brenden's successor, Darrel Honeywell, and decides to hire Eliot to kill him too. And Eliot is no sitting duck: It doesn't take long for him to realize that NAGO is trying to do the same thing to him that he's doing to them, and to take appropriate countermeasures. Less violence and totemistic weaponry than you'd expect in a first novel of this sort, though the anti-gun bias becomes almost as cartoonish as the NAGO's opposing viewpoint. Good clean fun for gun- control freaks with a taste for blood.
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