In last year’s novel, A Time to Die, Victor met up with a female assassin named Raven, whom he then poisoned after she tried to kill him. Planning and trying to kill each other is really just an occupational hazard when you’re a hitman-for-hire. For this reason, Victor never lets his guard down, and he never, under any circumstances, displays any of his weaknesses.
In truth, Victor really doesn’t have many weaknesses, but he does seem to be wrestling with his conscience a bit in this book–a stark contrast from the cold-blooded, emotionless killer fans have come to know.
Of course, just when you think author Tom Wood is perhaps inching his character closer to the light side, Victor immediately performs an about-face, reminding readers that he’s still strong with the dark side.
In the opening pages, it’s revealed that Raven survived, noting that Victor told her she would live, but only if she was “strong enough.” Beating the odds, barely, Raven slowly recovers in the hospital. A skilled assassin in her own right, her main priority is to get well enough to get going and get back off the grid as quickly as possible.
Victor, meanwhile, bounces around a bit while he’s between jobs. Unbeknownst to him, Antonio Alvarez–a powerful U.S. intelligence agency official–has been trying for years to track down Victor without much success. After taking a promotion, though, he finds himself in a position to finally take a run at the killer who has so skillfully evaded authorities all around the globe during his lethal career.
With time, motivation, and plenty of resources available to him, Alvarez is a major threat to Victor, who realizes that his best chance of surviving the inevitable attack is to team up with someone who isn’t afraid to be in the water with the sharks when they smell blood.
With few options available to him, Victor turns to the very person he nearly killed, fellow assassin Raven, creating a dicey situation for both.
Two killers who already tried to kill each other teaming up…what could go wrong?
For starters, Raven isn’t exactly on Santa’s nice list. She has her own enemies, lots of them, who are searching high and low for her. So while teaming up gives them each someone to cover their six, it also means they have more threats to watch for.
As the story unfolds, Wood treats readers to plenty of action, driving his smart, fast-moving plot at breakneck speeds. There’s also a few faces whom longtime fans of Wood’s novels will recognize from his earlier books, each brought back to tie up some previous loose ends.
The real magic, though, is that readers, at some point, will realize that Wood has written and developed things in a way that makes you root for the bad guys. Unlike Jason Bourne, who is also pursued by the government but has several redeeming qualities, Victor really is darker than dark. He’s an antihero’s antihero, and yet, for some reason, you cannot help put cheer him on every step of the way.
Wood takes his franchise to the next level with The Final Hour, his strongest novel to date, and a must-read for fans of Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X and Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series.
Author: Tom Wood
Series: Victor The Assassin #7
Pages: 448 (Paperback)
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 7/10