Ward Larsen has a series of novels out involving an Israeli assassin. The main character, David Slanton, is a Kidon, the most lethal Israeli assassin ever created. The two books written with this character, both having “assassin” in the title have Slanton pitted against a number of adversaries, including those in his spy organization.
The first book, The Perfect Assassin, has Slanton saved by Dr. Christine Palmer. While sailing across the Atlantic, she makes an incredible discovery of a man narrowly clinging to his life in the frigid waters. Eventually she discovers that the survivor is a highly trained, highly precise, and highly dangerous assassin. The Kidon is both the hunter and the hunted, with he and Christine in grave danger, especially after it is discovered that the ship Slanton was on carried two South African nuclear weapons that Israel was going to obtain. The rest of the book has Slanton tromping through England, evading the authorities, and mapping out a plan to save Christine, himself, and the nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands.
The other book, Assassin’s Game, begins with Slanton retired and living a quiet life in the United States. After his wife escapes an attempted kidnapping Slanton must return to his previous life. He now must eliminate a scientist who has taken Iran to the threshold of its dream, a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. The book has Slanton attempting to find his wife and trying to succeed where previous Mossad agents have failed, paying the ultimate sacrifice.
The characters are very well developed, likeable, and complex. Both Christine and David are independent and very capable. The difference is that she is naïve about world politics and he knows all too well how the world reacts to events. A quote in the book hammers home the point that first and foremost leaders are politicians by nature and many times are not driven by right or wrong or doing what is necessary, “Governments make decisions based on polls.” The author shows how Slanton understands this while Christine has to learn it through her dangerous experiences.
Larsen’s books have a lot of potential, but he needs to overcome unrealistic themes. Some of Slanton’s adversaries are those within his own organization. In the first book it is somewhat believable since they are rogue agents, but the second book has high-ranking officials ordering killings of their own people. This seems to go against the basic principles of Israelis, that never should any person be left behind to die.
The author explained, “I tried to imply that the Israelis are a desperate people. They have an ‘us against the world’ mentality since enemies on all sides surround them. The first time they lose is the last time. They do what they need to survive and I just took that to an extreme. I wanted to show what leaders must go through in making decisions.”
Larsen gave a heads up about his next Slanton book. As with many authors his plot was conceived before the actual event. In this case it involves a wide body airliner stolen and able to disappear without anyone finding it. As a former Air Force pilot he relies on his past experiences to make this plot exciting and believable. Slanton is now working as a sole contractor and joins with the CIA to find the enemies who have taken the plane for their own profits. Christine is also back and is put in a position where she must make choices that increase her understanding to what Slanton must go through in his decision making process.
Both assassination books have great characters and with more believable premises he could rival Daniel Silva. However, these books are an interesting read and readers will find themselves rooting for the main characters.