cover image Spark


John Twelve Hawks. Doubleday, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-53867-1

In his first outing since concluding the Four Realms trilogy, bestseller Twelve Hawks returns to the same dystopian milieu in this engaging but predictable thriller, set in a future landscape of paranoid government control, blanket surveillance, and extreme economic disparities. Jacob Underwood, an assassin, works for an enormous New York City multinational that often needs to eliminate a threat. Underwood’s strength as a hired killer is the emotionless, robotic nature that allows him to operate with logical, ruthless precision. Doctors have long told him, however, that the condition that makes him so effective could gradually wear off. And that’s exactly what happens when he is tasked with killing the fascinatingly offbeat Emily Buchanan, a minor employee who has absconded with financial secrets from her company and is threatening to expose them on a WikiLeaks-type website. Twelve Hawks’s prose, cold and clinical at times, yet punctuated with moments of great sensitivity, matches the tone and mood of his setting perfectly. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Oct.)