Book 1 in The Unknown Assassin series by Allen Zadoff; originally published under the title Boy Nobody
You know what I love about this book? The chapters. They are so short. Seriously, these are possibly the shortest chapters ever written. You can read an entire chapter between the natural blinks of your eyes. You never have to worry about starting a new chapter and having to stop in the middle of it because you will reach the chapter’s end in the time it takes to sneeze.
Okay, a little more seriously now. Ben, as we know him for most of the story, is a trained assassin. By the time we meet him, he is 16 and has been training and killing for The Program since the death of his parents four years ago. Ben feels nothing, wants nothing. He has no emotions, no aspirations, and no attachments to anyone.
Until he meets Sam, the daughter of his new target and a huge problem for Ben because now he’s feeling things he shouldn’t, emotions he thought were no longer part of his repertoire. His conscience is waking up and interfering with his mission. Ben lives in a kill or be killed world. The problem is, who is going to kill him? The strange presence that’s been following him? An enemy from his past? The Program itself? Or something else entirely? Ben is running out of time to complete his mission, choose his path, and decide if he should do what he is told or what he thinks is right.
Zadoff keeps the action and twists coming as the story plays out. I wondered up until the end if Ben would go through with his assignment. I enjoyed not being sure about the character’s intentions. While I thought the ending was bit abrupt, I am looking forward to learning more about Ben when book two is published next month. A twist at the end of this book ensures that Ben will have an extremely important mission in book two, and this time it’s personal.