The Kill Artist
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Modern Middle East
April 24, 2002
As the Middle East peace negotiations putter along, Daniel Silvas fictional book, The Kill Artist, could not be timelier. The story is a country-hopping cat-and-mouse game between two master assassins, one Palestinian, one Israeli. The story begins with the assassination of an Israeli ambassador in Paris, pulled off by Tariq, a master Palestinian assassin. Rumors of Tariqs plans to disrupt the ongoing peace talks reach Ari Shamron, head of the Mossad, Israels intelligence agency. To find and kill Tariq, Shamron calls on ex-agent Gabriel Allon.
The story mixes real people and places with fictional characters, providing an authentic feel for the storyline. The main theme is that a retired Israeli deep cover agent is brought out of retirement to face an old terrorist enemy. We learn that Allon was once one of the Mossads most skilled assassins, tracking down and dispatching terrorist enemies of Israel. But the cost was horrendous. After his wife and child became two of Tariqs targets, he thrust himself into seclusion. Now that he is called back, he along with a female partner masquerading as a model, attempt to destroy the network of terror created by Tariq. More and more people are drawn into the action as time goes on including the American CIA and international businessmen. The terrorist Tariq always seems to be one step ahead of his opponents as they are bested time and time again. The scene changes from country to country as the two groups battle in an international arena, and we finally discover the true purpose of Tariqs mission as the story arrives at its conclusion.
Prior to becoming an author, Silva was a CNN executive producer and journalist who covered the Middle East. The background those experiences gave him only intensify the story, making for a convincing read. Silvas time as a journalist and CNN executive producer, covering everything from Washington politics to Middle East conflicts, is evidenced in The Kill Artist. Details gleaned from his research into the inner workings of the PLO and the cutthroat world of international art brings settings and characters alive, as each comes up against the complications of romance in the rich, and the murky underworld of the spy
Although I liked the flow of action in this novel, a large number of superfluous characters are introduced in the first part of the book that never get fully fleshed out. Some of the characters