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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Larsen, Ward: The Perfect Assassin

  Amazon  

4 stars

Sailing solo across the Atlantic westward from France Dr. Christine Palmer, just finished with her third year of residency, pulls aboard a man clinging to a cooler amid the flotsam of a shipwreck. Christine's stumbling across the man in the middle of the ocean is a bit of needle-in-a-haystack good luck that she comes to wish had never happened. Her unexpected passenger--whose name, we eventually learn, is David Slaton--soon commandeers the boat and orders her to sail to England. It is, for Christine, the unpleasant start of a harrowing adventure that will see the two of them running simultaneously from Scotland Yard and from rogue elements within the Israeli secret service.

Ward Larsen tells his story from multiple points of view, his principal characters given just enough back story to make them sympathetic. Perhaps the most compelling of the lot is the Yard's Inspector Nathan Chatham, first introduced in chapter eight, a charming technophobe who is clever and quirky enough to anchor his own series. It is a pleasure, too, to watch our hero outsmart his adversaries using the training of a lifetime of service in Mossad. We certainly come to like Larsen's characters enough to want them to prevail, but it's also true that we are never really made to worry about them. Christine and David are placed in peril repeatedly in the book, but we never doubt that they will both come out safe in the end.  Part of the reason for this may be that the bad guys never emerge as fully realized characters. There is no flesh-and-blood villain to root against.

Larsen's debut novel may not pack the sort of suspense that will keep you turning the pages too late at night, but it's a solid spy novel and a good quick read. I'll look forward to seeing more from this author.

Review summary: Sailing across the Atlantic westward from France, Christine Palmer pulls aboard a man clinging to a cooler amid the flotsam of a shipwreck. She soon comes to regret it: once recovered, he commandeers the boat and orders her to sail to England. It is the start of an adventure that will see the two of them running from both Scotland Yard and rogue elements within the Israeli secret service. Larsen tells his story from multiple points of view, giving his principals just enough back story to make them sympathetic. The most compelling is Inspector Chatham, a charming technophobe who is quirky enough to anchor his own series. It is a pleasure, too, to watch our hero survive by using the training of a lifetime of service in Mossad. Larsen's debut novel won't keep you up too late, but it's a solid spy novel and a good read.

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