An entertaining thriller introduces us to an interesting new anti-hero
Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he’s not so bad a guy.
Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life — and beloved fiancée — and set out on a path of redemption…or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.
Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts: he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he’ll make sure whoever’s coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living — but a great way to make himself a target.
It took me altogether too long to get around tor reading this series. I thought it sounded great when it was first announced; and, now that I’ve read it, I’m glad to report that it didn’t disappoint. This is an interesting, fast-paced first instalment of a cool new series.
Holm quickly locates the reader in this new world of hitmen and counter-hitman (as far as we can tell, Hendricks is the only one pursuing his particular profession). A couple of jobs unfold, and we get to know Hendricks and his motivations, and as the story progresses we learn of his past and acquire ever-more detail of who he is, his methods, and so forth. He’s an interesting character, sympathetic and relatable in certain aspects — especially his lingering PTSD and conflict over how he earns a living and the effect it has on those close to him. He’s an interesting character, and Holm does a great job of making the reader root for him, and feel invested in his survival.
The missions are well-written, the violence never overly-graphic or gratuitous. The fights are sometimes presented from multiple perspectives, which I also thought were very well done. The story moves quickly, as Hendricks travels across the United States — first on a couple of jobs, and then trying to stay ahead of the man who is after him. There is collateral damage, which I thought Hendricks dealt with a little coldly, but I suppose that’s not entirely surprising.
The ending is big, brash and pretty ingenious (in a down-and-dirty way). The final confrontation isn’t drawn out, and there wasn’t a tidy, happy ending. Overall, I was entertained and very impressed: it’s a tightly-plotted, engaging start to a new series. I’ll certainly be back for the sequel, and any other novels Holm writes in the series.
Definitely recommended to all fans of thrillers and lone-wolf-hero series (Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp, etc.).
The Killing Kind is published by Mulholland Books in North America and the UK. The sequel, Red Right Hand, is also published by Mulholland in North America and the UK, and is out now (review coming soon).