Reviews for Fifth Assassin

Booklist Reviews 2013 January #1
National archivist Beecher White (The Inner Circle, 2011) returns in another heart-pounding thriller set in Washington, D.C. As if he were spinning plates, Meltzer balances almost too many characters' stories simultaneously: the evil president who is about to be assassinated; the elusive first love, Clementine, and her insane father, Nico; and Marshall, suspected killer and Beecher's wounded childhood friend. Also in the mix are four seemingly random murders modeled on presidential assassinations and a secret spy ring initiated by George Washington. Beecher narrates sections of the story as he races from crime scenes to hospitals and even to Camp David, setting a frantic pace that will leave readers breathless and tense. Interlaced with Beecher's narration are short snippets in an omniscient voice that matter-of-factly yet chillingly describes the killer, who calls himself the Knight and wears a white plastic mask. As the story nears its climax (Will there be a fifth presidential assassination?), we are still guessing about the Knight's identity and his bizarre motives. This roller-coaster car should come with a seatbelt! Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
Beecher White returns as hero in Meltzer's (The Inner Circle, 2011, etc.) second installment of his conspiracy thriller surrounding the Culper Ring and a corrupt president. Beecher is an archivist at the National Archives. He's also the newest member of that obscure brotherhood, the Culper Ring. It's linked through history to George Washington--"the [Secret] Service's mission is to protect the President. In the Culper Ring, we protect the Presidency." One secret endangering the current presidency, which Beecher and the Ring uncovered, is that the man holding the highest office, Orson Wallace, once took part in a brutal murder. Readers meet characters old and new, including Beecher's fellow archivist Aristotle "Tot" Westman and an undercover computer nerd nicknamed Mac. Then there's Clementine, Beecher's childhood acquaintance and daughter of Nico Hadrian, institutionalized, unsuccessful presidential assassin. Through a military human-guinea-pig experiment, Nico is linked to Beecher and to one of Beecher's childhood friends, Marshall Lusk, a boy with a troubled background. Lusk now works with a secret Government Accountability Office group using stealth tactics to uncover possible security breaches. As the story begins, Lusk is appearing too often at the wrong place at the right time. This includes the site where a murderer replicates the techniques and circumstances of the assassination of Lincoln. The killer's script next shifts to the murders of Garfield, then McKinley, with each assassination targeting a pastor instead of the president. Decoding the mystery through symbols on playing cards, Beecher and Tot confront another clandestine group, The Knights of the Golden Circle, linked to Etienne de Vignoles, a 14th-century knight charged with protecting the Name of God by killing kings--presidents?--who stand in the way. Adding the mysterious and troubled Lusk to the cast ratchets up the drama and human interest, and Meltzer's fans will enjoy the usual sprinkling of history factoids, fast-paced writing and the double-whiplash bombshell conclusion. Although equipped with adequate back story to allow The Fifth Assassin to be enjoyed alone, smart readers will first dip into the series opener, The Inner Circle. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #3

A grandiose conspiracy linking four previous presidential assassinations threatens current U.S. president Orson Wallace in bestseller Meltzer's convoluted second entry in his Culper Ring trilogy (after 2011's The Inner Circle). Archivist Beecher White, a member of the small, secretive group known as the Culper Ring, created by George Washington and charged with protecting the presidency rather than the president, goes into action after someone known as the Knight begins re-enacting previous presidential assassinations with church figures as victims. Several people from Beecher's past play key roles, including disfigured Marshall Lusk, who may or may not be the assassin, and Clementine Hadrian, who shot and killed Dr. Stewart Palmiotti, the president's close friend and adviser. Beecher tries desperately to discover the Knight's identity and thwart him before he reaches his final target. The cumbersome plot, with its frequent flashbacks to Beecher's childhood, overwhelms Meltzer's impressive grasp of historical details. 10-city author tour. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom. (Jan.)

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