Sunday 5 October 2014

The Gentle Assassin by Ryan David Jahn

It wasn't every day you had the chance to track down the man who'd killed your mother.
In 1964, Andrew Combs' mother is killed in front of him. His father Harry vanishes soon afterwards. Twenty-six years later Andrew wants revenge. There's only one way he can let go of his past and become the man he wants to be: track down and kill his mother's murderer. His father.
But while Andrew thinks he knows what happened all those years ago, the truth is far darker. For Harry Combs turns out to be a man of many secrets.
As shadowy figures from Harry's past threaten his life, and Andrew inches closer to killing him, the two men find themselves playing a very dangerous game of life and death. And only one of them can survive.

The Gentle Assassin by Ryan David Jahn was published in paperback on 11 September 2014 by Pan Macmillan.

The Gentle Assassin is my first taste of this author's work, and I doubt very much that it will be my last. There is something quite brusque, even pithy about this author's writing, he writes concisely, creating scenes that are breath-taking in their realism and presence.

Harry Combs is the gentle assassin of the title. He has been on the run for many years and when he is finally tracked down by his son Andrew, he has to face up to what he used to be. Harry used to be a cold, calculating killer. He was hated by his father, his son wants him dead, and his wife drinks herself into oblivion on a daily basis.

When Andrew confronts him, a whole bag of worms is opened up, and past events and faces come back to haunt Harry. Father and son must team up together to protect themselves, whilst learning about each other as they do.

More than a crime novel; The Gentle Assassin is an in-depth look at the relationship between this father and son who only meet when the son is a grown man. It is violent and it pulls no punches, but it is also powerful and compassionate.

Ryan David Jahn writes with a brutality that can be quite unsettling at times, but the authenticity of his words, and his expert dissection of the human psyche is excellently done.

An author that I will certainly look out for in the future, I enjoyed The Gentle Assassin very much.

My thanks to Sam Eades from Pan Macmillan who sent my copy for review.

Ryan David Jahn lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife Jessica and two beautiful little girls, Francine and Matilda. His novels include Acts of Violence, which won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger, Low Life, The Dispatcher and The Last Tomorrow. His work has been translated into twelve languages.

Visit his website at for more information about him and his writing, or follow him on Twitter @RyanDavidJahn

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