The Kill Artist
By Daniel Silva

The Kill Artist is the first in a (so-far) 20-volume series of spy novels that star Israeli Mossad agent/assassin Gabriel Allon who is also a master art restorer, MG restorer, and wooden sailboat restorer.

Allon’s unlikely combination of vocations is but one of the implausible things in this novel that rides on a reasonably plausible spy story narrative. Among them is co-protagonist Jacqueline Delacroix, a beautiful if aging supermodel who is also a trained Israeli master spy and loves Allon . . . I forgot to say that Gabriel is irresistible to women as are almost all the other male characters in the book . . . speaking of implausible circumstances.

The most realistic characters are Ari Shamron, Allon’s handler brought back from a forced retirement to manage the situation after the other realistic character, Palestinian terrorist Tariq al-Hourani, assassinates the Israeli ambassador to France on a rainy night in Paris.

Tariq and his support man, Yusef, are also irresistible to beautiful women, including Jacqueline, as well as a not-so-beautiful woman who appears briefly. More implausibility.

So, the quest is to find the often-disguised Tariq and gun him down. The ensuing the chase is interesting as it moves all over the world, hauling into the game interesting minor players and places along the way.

In the end . . . well, I won’t tell you the whole thing, but suffice it to say that Allon isn’t quite as clever as he’s described in the earlier parts of the book, and Jacqueline makes a somewhat believable rescue of the mess he makes of things . . . ah, true love!

There is an odd, very gratuitous epilogue that could well have been left out, but I suppose contracted page counts are important in book contracts. All said, , the book is an amusing way to spend 7 or so hours.

By the way, the original proposal in the book club was to read Silva’s latest (<i>The Order</i>) but some members balked at spending $20 on a Kindle edition written by an author we’d never tried before writing a book in a genre that is often disappointing. I opted for Silva’s first book for $3. It was worth $3, not sure the new one would’ve been worth $20.

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