The Fifth Assassin, by Brad Meltzer, is an intriguing political thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last chapter.
Meltzer is a fan of history. His shows on A&E, Decoded and Lost History, are great examples of his passion and love for the people and events made this nation what it is today. He seamlessly weaves historical information in his modern day thrillers.
In The Inner Circle, Meltzer introduced a young government archivist, Beecher White, into The Culper Ring, a spy organization founded by George Washington and still working in the shadows today. In The Fifth Assassin, Beecher uncovers connections to modern day assassinations that mirror presidential assassinations of the past. Beecher tries to uncover the identity of the killer before they go after their final target, the current President of the United States.
Meltzer has created a likeable and flawed protagonist in Beecher who, like the author, loves history and knows how important the institutions of this nation are to the success and security of the country. Following Beecher as he tries to find out the true nature of the conspiracy and the time and place of the final target is a fun ride that keeps you guessing throughout.
- The story changes between third person and first person. When Beecher is involved, the story is told in first person. When the plot unfolds through the eyes of others, it is told in third person.
- The story switches between the past and present quite often. Meltzer takes an aggressive approach to time. In one section of the book, it starts in 1881, moves to modern day, then to three minutes before, then two weeks before, then to modern day and then back to 13 years before. At first, this can be jarring, but you quickly understand it is Meltzer’s way of revealing critical information about the characters and plot.
The Fifth Assassin is a fun and quick read and, as Meltzer mentions in the back of the book, nearly all of his historical references are accurate. He only took a few creative liberties when fitting the history into the plot.
If you like history and thrillers, then The Inner Circle and The Fifth Assassin are fun, enjoyable reads.