If you set a thief to catch a thief, should you hire a contract killer to thwart a contract killing?
Holed up on Mackinac Island as he mourns the wife who was murdered in his last outing (A Different Lie, 2015) and the son he sent away to be brought up by someone with a less objectionable lifestyle, hit man Columbus, now calling himself Copeland, isn’t looking for any new jobs: his freelance work and his assignments for Uncle Sam have already sucked the life out of him. But his old fence, Archie Grant, comes to him with a proposition he can’t turn down. Someone’s arranged a hit on facial-recognition software designer Matthew Boone, and his two motherless boys may well be included in the package. A mutual friend has asked Archie for advice, and Archie doesn’t think much of Max Finnerich, the security expert Boone’s hired to protect his family. Could Columbus fly out West to Portland to protect Boone more proactively than Finnerich and his minions are doing? Despite thinking, “I’m the sword, not the armor,” the veteran assassin agrees to try his luck, and boy, is he lucky. In short order, he breaches Finnerich’s cursory defenses, introduces himself to a surprised Boone, and talks himself into his confidence, kills two armed men who turn up at the target’s house, and lets Peyton Martin, the ex-cop who’s the least clueless of Boone’s security detail, tell him the story of her life. But all these measures, he realizes, are nothing but temporizing unless he can identify and neutralize the assassin who’s coming after Boone—and the client who hired him in the first place.
“You’re not going to like me when this is over,” Haas’ hit man warns his readers. Maybe not, but you won’t be able to avert your eyes from a single scene in this stripped-down, dead-eyed, professional-grade actioner.