Allen Zadoff takes readers for one helluva ride in the second book of The Unknown Assassin Series. Our favorite assassin formerly Ben now known as Daniel but really named Zach is having serious doubts about himself and his purpose in the secret agency he works for. To make matters worse, The Program is questioning his loyalty after his most recent mission. As a test, he is sent on an impossible mission to infiltrate an anti-establishment camp hellbent on thwarting the U.S. government and kill its leader, Eugene Moore.
Seems impossible for most people. For a boy assassin, it seems doable until Daniel gets inside and everything he has been led to believe starts to unravel. Who is The Program and what is Daniel to them? What really happened to the assassin who The Program sent in before Daniel? Was he discovered by Moore and killed or did The Program terminate him when he failed to complete the mission? When all communication with The Program is lost, Daniel must face his greatest opposition and make decisions based on what he knows while understanding that every mistake could be his last.
Zadoff’s latest is as page-turning as the first, but I liked it even more than I Am the Weapon. Some of the issues he addresses, like a nation’s dissatisfaction with a failing government and how people either feel helpless or rebellious in the face of it, are very real and ongoing. Zadoff also goes places with Daniel that are hard for a reader to follow and support. Something Daniel does in the camp (I will not mention it as this is too much of a spoiler) just killed me. I hated that Daniel did this. I kept hoping that he hadn’t. That it would be a misleading twist that somehow had a happy outcome (stupid, I know but I held out hope anyway). I don’t know if there is any redeeming himself after such a move, but I know I will keep reading and hoping because I love the story and hope to once again love the character as much as I did in the beginning.
One thing I love about Zadoff’s writing is his ability to drop hints without revealing too much. Like the one he drops at the end of Weapon (again, not going to drop a spoiler here). Zadoff builds on that even more in the second book, giving us a few morsels to keep us hungry for the truth to come out. Another skill I like about Zadoff is that he maintains a fast pace without ever taking away from the plot to do so. He has such a knack for keeping the story interesting without sacrificing the fundamentals of great writing: strong characters, plot development, and – with a book in this genre – suspense. Which readers get plenty of with how this book ends. Total cliffhanger! But that’s okay because it just makes me that much more eager to read the next book…
…which does not have a publication date yet….
….or a title….
…..or even a mention on Zadoff’s website.
How long exactly do we have to wait for Unknown Assassin #3 ?!?!
Not even a tentative publication date on goodreads.com??? That’s just cruel, Zadoff. Really cruel. Then again, this is the man who dreamed up The Program. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. I feel like Zach between missions. I have to agree with him. I hate waiting too. Gives a person (be he reader or assassin) too much time to think. And guess at what will happen and then second guess and then scream in frustration. Oh well, I know the wait will be worth it!