In Hurley’s debut thriller, a CIA assassin finds himself in the cross hairs of both the FBI and a sociopathic killer for hire.
To most people, Maj. John Rexford is a retired Marine living in New York on disability. Even John’s girlfriend, Maggie, has no idea he’s really a CIA spook recruited in Afghanistan and assigned to kill enemies on U.S. soil. A Muslim’s recent murder, however, has put John on the FBI’s radar: Feds think the killer used a bike, and John missed a bike-riding event for disabled veterans for which he’d signed up. At the same time, CIA contact Pete Chocker warns John of a highly skilled assassin called Yoda (a nickname courtesy of Chocker) who’s working for the terrorists. John survives a near-lethal encounter with Yoda, but now he has a slightly unhinged killer searching for him and possibly coming after Maggie as well. Hurley’s enthralling novel begins with a terrorist plot—which involves chlorine gas and disrupting New York’s water supply—and gradually turns into a clash between two professional killers. Suspense is kept tight, although Hurley doesn’t save all the action for the end: An early faceoff between John and Yoda isn’t only exhilarating, it’s an ample display of Yoda’s prowess, which primes later scenes in which Yoda has identified John and found out where he lives. Both the hero and villain are peculiar but intriguing characters: Yoda unashamedly dons black spandex and ballet slippers when he’s working, while John, who’s a blacksmith as a cover, uses his skills to forge knives (for use in his other job) and destroy the evidence. There’s no doubt who the bad guy is, but John isn’t necessarily a wholesome character—a lengthy scene revolves around him at work, reminding readers of what he’s paid to do.
A resounding character study just as much as it is an action novel, and both are equally triumphant.