The thriller genre’s most compelling anti-hero, Victor The Assassin, returns to star in his sixth book. This time, the killer-for-hire is working with the British Secret Intelligence Service, better known as the SIS.
Tasked with eliminating Milan Rados, a former Serbian military commander-turned-warlord, Victor heads off to fill his latest contract. Things are complicated, though, by the fact that someone has put a bounty on Victor’s head, drawing the attention of another highly skilled, dangerously lethal assassin.
Author Tom Wood has changed up his formula just enough to make this book feel different from the rest in the series. While early parts of the plot seem to drift off-course just a bit, Wood recovers by pulling readers back in with perfectly laid out action sequences and acute attention to detail–something he shares with Victor.
Victor is one paranoid dude, a trait hardwired into his DNA that, frankly, is one of the only reasons he’s still alive. His head is always on a swivel and his eyes are always scanning, searching for any sign of a threat. His thought process, broken down flawlessly by Wood, is fascinating to read and one of my favorite things about this series.
While already dealing with a leak inside the SIS and another assassin hellbent on taking him out, Victor also learns that he’s not the only person looking to kill Rados. His competition is a woman named Ana, whose primary reason for bloodlust stems from a drive to avenge her family, who was brutally murdered under the orders of Rados.
While Ana seems like the perfect person to team up with, Victor is not the trusting type, and for good reason–he’s basically made a living questioning everyone and everything. That may prove to once again be the smart play here, as more questions than answers surround Ana and her past and present motives.
Simultaneously playing the roles of both hunter and prey, Victor must fend off attempts on his life so he can bury the man he was sent to put in the ground–a man who has already dodged death more than once and is on equal footing with Victor when it comes to the art of killing.
A Time To Die features Victor in the most dangerous situation we’ve seen him in yet: a battle of assassins where one slip-up could mean the difference between killing or being killed.
I like some of the subtle additions that Wood has incorporated into the well-working formula he uses. Like, for instance, the potential love interest that Victor may be dialing in on. That would certainly complicate his life and add a new element to his character arc moving forward.
Wood has also given Victor a tad more soul, which is put on display when a man who has accepted his fate of impending death is granted a unique opportunity by Victor. It’s a side of him we rarely see, and it makes him more relatable without taking away his edge. This event takes place early on in the book and, in context, is a welcome addition to The Assassin’s makeup.
While we still don’t really know Victor as a person, that’s also part of his mystic. Wood is slowly revealing additional layers to the character, which is a nice addition to the overall development of his series protagonist. I really like where things are headed, though I’d like to see them get there just a tad faster.
If you’re a fan of spy thrillers and haven’t met Victor The Assassin yet, it’s time to say hello. With everything working in sync here, there’s never been a better time to jump into this underrated series and discover Wood’s unique, fun style of work.
Author: Tom Wood
Pages: 480 (Paperback)
Release Date: August 2, 2016 (Order now!)