America has enemies — ruthless people that the police, the FBI, even the military can’t stop. That’s when the U.S. government calls on Will Robie, a stone-cold hitman who never questions orders and always nails his target.
But Will Robie may have just made the first — and last — mistake of his career.
It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn’t seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable. He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.
Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a fourteen-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn’t an ordinary runaway — her parents were murdered, and her own life is in danger. Against all of his professional habits, Robie rescues her and finds he can’t walk away. He needs to help her.
Even worse, the more Robie learns about the girl, the more he’s convinced she is at the center of a vast cover-up, one that may explain her parents’ deaths and stretch to unimaginable levels of power.
Now, Robie may have to step out of the shadows in order to save this girl’s life . . . and perhaps his own.
In my latest search for literary escapism, I decided that I really wanted to jump into a good old-fashioned espionage and spy thriller.
Having recently moved to Washington D.C., I sought out a book that used the Nation’s Capital as a backdrop for the story.
In my search, I stumbled across David Baldacci’s current New York Times BestSeller, “The Hit,” which seemed to fit the bill perfectly…until I realized that it was actually the 2nd book for Baldacci’s newest character, Will Robie, so I figured that I would start with Robie’s debut story, “The Innocent.”
As the author synopsis explains, Will Robie is a highly trained and top assassin for the United States government. He works for a “three letter” agency that would, of course, disavow any knowledge of Robie’s existence should he ever get caught or captured… thankfully for Will, he has never missed and has never failed a mission.
The book starts off strongly, as the author quickly establishes Robie’s impressive abilities by allowing the reader to follow him on his two most recent assassination missions overseas. Will Robie is also approaching his 40th birthday, therefore you get the sense that he has been doing this for a long time and has spent years honing and perfecting his skills.
Robie is the perfect assassin: He doesn’t question orders and he always gets the job done. Chances are – if Will is sent to kill you – you deserve to die.
Upon the successful completion of these missions and return to his home in Washington D.C., Will patiently awaits his next assignment.
To his surprise, Will’s next target is not a violent drug lord or well-funded terrorist leader located halfway across the globe… but rather, is an American citizen and Federal employee located close to home in Washington D.C… Will’s own backyard.
While on the mission, Robie suddenly refuses to carry out his orders and – after a second unseen shooter finishes the job – Will is immediately on the run, becoming a target himself.
Meanwhile across town, a smart young girl named Julie witnesses the murder of her parents and is being hunted by their killer. During their escape, Julie and Will’s paths cross as the (seemingly unrelated) events eventually lead them to team up in order to solve the mystery, connection and conspiracy behind both events.
What follows is a page-turning series of twists and turns that will leave Will and Julie wondering who they can trust, how far up the conspiracy goes and trying to stay one step ahead of those who are targeting them.
I really enjoyed, “The Innocent” and plan to read Baldacci’s most recent Will Robie follow up, “The Hit.” The story and characters had me turning the pages and staying up a little later than I should have, just so that I could finish the next chapter.
The relationship between Julie and Will is not particularly deep or endearing, but it did remind me a little of my time playing, “The Last of Us,” in that the characters and relationship shared some similarities.
My primary complaints were that the ending was a bit predictable (and cliche…but still satisfying), and that the book would drag on unnecessarily through certain chapters with very little resolution or new information that would bring Will and Julie closer to the truth.
For example, “Will didn’t know how these things or people were connected, but he was going to find out.” was a common theme that seemed to end far too many chapters (in my opinion) without any real payoff.
Eventually the pieces do start coming together, but I venture to guess that the author could have easily cut out a few chapters without it having any real or negative effect on the overall story.
Nitpicks aside, I was quickly engrossed in the story and am looking forward to reading the next Will Robie story. It definitely satiated my desire for a good spy thriller, and I would recommend it.
By: Dana Sciandra