A hit man finds no easy career exit in this Florida thriller.
Sunny Sarasota starkly contrasts with South’s (Suicide Tango, 2019, etc.) dark story, in which titular character Tommy Darlington works as a well-paid assassin hired by “unforgiving men with silent billions.” A former Army ranger and low-profile artist, Tommy initially has no problem with the deadly commissions he refers to as “taking out the trash.” His girlfriend, Rachel, a successful novelist, supports the couple, as publicly Tommy ekes out a living as a nighttime cabbie. Rachel knows nothing about her boyfriend’s deadly business or his ill-gotten gains that amount to millions, all of which he has hidden and earmarked to fund their retirement in Costa Rica. Witnessing a higher-up known as the Old Man feed Tommy’s bespoke-suited handler, Alfred, to a dozen alligators, the hit man has a change of heart about his line of work. The shift in his attitude is bad for business, and his employers take notice. Then Rachel disappears. Readers may feel an adrenalin rush as Tommy desperately tries to find her. There’s a disconnect between his incomprehension for his employers’ “casual disregard for human life” and his own sniper activities, although some kills bother him. Snuffing out an elegant older woman who heads a foundation that a dirty organization wants in its portfolio, Tommy cries along with the doomed victim. Fans of the award-winning television series Barry will find similarities between the show’s main character and Tommy, as both are damaged, military-trained hit men with a desire to change but seemingly no way to do so. Told primarily in the first person, the novel will elicit readers’ sympathies for Tommy’s impaired psyche as he works for men dealing in the “top three commodities in the world: firearms, drugs, and humans.” The author’s descriptions—be they sexy, humorous, or terrifying—are notable: for example, “she fragranced her way to the bedroom,” “his huge sausage fingers,” and “hollow eye sockets were illuminated by a deadlight that made me rocket-vomit and cough in rolling spasms.”
A gripping crime tale that becomes as complicated as its main character.