BOOK: The Hit, by David Baldacci, Grand Central Publishing, 400 pages
BEST-SELLER STATUS: Too early to tell; it was published April 23, and the latest sales figures reflected by the New York Times best-seller list are through April 20. But considering that Baldacci’s last book, The Innocent, is still riding pretty high on the list, we figure this one will move some copies, too.
PLOT SUMMARY: This is Baldacci’s second novel starring government assassin Will Robie. Despite getting up there (he’s 40), he’s the best there is, of course — not for Baldacci the character complexities of a more modestly skilled assassin having to work around his limitations. This time, he’s after one of his colleagues, Jessica Reel, also a government assassin — second-best, by the way — apparently gone rogue. That’s right, apparently. There’s a plot unfolding, a vast, well-funded plot with a substantial possibility to cause global chaos. Just the kind of thing that requires the first and second best assassins to foil.
BODY COUNT: High, including a couple of memorable head shots and a monster redneck gun-down.
CHARACTER APPEAL: Moderate. Robie’s first appearance, in The Innocent, wasn’t auspicious, so he has a lot to overcome this time. He does OK.
HIDING THE BAD GUY: This can be a real issue with Baldacci — it’s often too simple to spot the super-villain or the “surprise” betrayer. In this case, Baldacci even makes a not-especially sly attempt to misdirect your suspicions, but it doesn’t work. The super-villain isn’t hard to finger.
BUT AT LEAST IT MOVES, RIGHT? Right.
HARDCOVER, PAPERBACK OR SKIP IT?: Option 4: e-book. You get it at a lower price, and it’s not one you’ll want to save for later rereading.