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The Hit List When Robert Maxwell is assassinated by an unknown agency conflicting interests in the arms trade threaten all out warEx SAS Corporal Pete Slater is trying to make a new life for himself as a teacher but when he is accidentally caught up in an attempt by terrorists to kidnap one of his pupils he finds himself sucked back into the world of undercover operationsA mission to kill an arms dealer in Paris leads to a high speed chase across Europe and into Eastern Europe There Slater discovers the connection between Robert Maxwell the arms industry and the origins in Nazism of the government agency who employs him Another good readWhy cant I just enjoy reading a book without having to write a review onSo annoying please amend Hit List is a stand alone thriller by Chris Ryan and follows the fortunes of Neil Slater a former SAS soldier struggling in his transition to civilian life He is dumped as sports master at an exclusive boy’s school outside London after foiling a kidnap attempt on a Saudi student single handed using extreme force and joins a London agency providing bodyguards to the rich Slater soon discovers that money does not euate with morals or manners and in a drunken state he falls back on an offer of a job from Eve introduced by former SAS Andreas Van Rijn now working for a shadowy cadre within MI6Moving from servant to the wealthy to servant of the Establishment Slater learns the cadre is a hit suad on behalf of HMG and joins a mission to Paris to assassinate an arms dealer and recover a disc of documents Naturally there are reversals but the target is taken out and the mission ends in a firefight at close uarters in a Paris warehouse with a mob of SerbsPublished in 2000 this is one of Ryan’s earlier works but not his best Again his knowledge of weaponry and tactics shines out; the scenes in France are excellent if violent and the standout for me was Leon former paratrooper with the French Foreign Legion who served a few years behind bars and has close links to the Parisian underworld Slater finally figures out the reason behind the mission is to prevent photos of figures involved in atrocities in the Balkans during WWII coming into the public domain Not for the faint hearted Another ‘stand alone’ Ryan adventure this sees the former SAS man in the familiar terrority of murky British intelligence and secret groups trained in the art of killing His hero Nick Slater is yet again a different face on the main old character basically Ryan himself a character who has just left the SAS and who struggles to survive with normal everyday civilian life Having read his later books first I immediately noticed that the plot here isn’t as complex as the later ones – there isn’t as much going on But in all other aspects Ryan is at the top of his game especially in the seuences of action and violence which he delivers with typical hard realism and aplomb In fact early on the book contains my favourite scene in any of Ryan’s work; it involves Slater’s PE teacher tackling a couple of Israeli kidnappers at his school The juxtaposition of a typical British location with extreme violence and cunning tactics makes for an enthralling seuence Other meaty elements include disposal by wood chipper a body in a trunk and an excellently staged shoot out The book is extraordinarily violent in places – so than two others I’ve read The Watchman and Greed but it never leaves a foul taste in your mouth instead this is exciting and entertaining in eual measure Ryan throws in timely references to the conspiracy surrounding Robert Maxwell’s death and the trial of some Serbian war criminals making this an up to date pulse pounding thriller that never disappoints I’ve yet to meet a Chris Ryan novel I haven’t enjoyed and The Hit List is no exception The twists and turns are unexpected Once about three uarters of the way through I figured the story must be about to end—so what on earth could be in the next 100 pages uite a lot as the story took off in a seemingly totally different—but perfectly logical—directionA possible downside if you’re looking for a morality tale you won’t find it here Or precisely you’ll find an accurately painted picture of a shadowy government organization that has or assumes it has a “licence to kill” “enemies of the state”—with no hint of due process No it’s not set in the US but the UK Turns out this enemy of the state was also a personal enemy Raising serious moral uestions—which Ryan doesn’t answer except by portraying intentionally or not the necessary amorality of people who would be willing to continue working for such an amoral agency

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